Here at Asbury UMC you will find people like you coming together from various social and economic backgrounds who desire to worship God and develop new friendships and lasting relationships. One of the more interesting things about our church family is learning about the stories of grace that fill the lives of our worshippers. We all have a story to tell about how we came to faith and what has happened in our lives.
Sometimes we come to faith in God as a child having experienced wonderful events never to be forgotten. Other times we come to faith in God following a crisis where things seem dark and hopeless. Regardless of the circumstances of how you came to faith in God we invite our members, our visitors, and fellow worshippers to share your story of grace! Grace is a wonderful thing to experience in life and we would love to hear your story of grace and what it has meant to you and your loved ones.
Pat H – a new member of our church shares her story ….
“I grew up in a very small town 50 miles north of New York City. Both my parents worked, my Mom a nurse at the local 11 bed hospital, which included the new born nursery. My Dad was in the Air National Guard. Mom worked nights so my Dad would take us to church every Sunday. We were a family of faith and deep family ties visiting all our grandparents every Saturday, they were 2 hours away but we had a family meal with them every week.
Five days before my 11th birthday I was at a friend’s house with 2 other girlfriends playing with Barbie dolls and doing each other’s hair. We were having a great time. My friends and I left to go home on our bikes; we were going down a large hill when I apparently hit a pothole and flew over the handlebars of my bike landing on the pavement and fracturing my skull. One of the girls stayed with me and the other went to get my parents. A man stopped his car and saw that this was pretty serious situation, went to the door of the house I was in front of to get help. No one was home so he broke in and called an ambulance. The ambulance was part of the small volunteer fire department that my Dad was a member of. When the ambulance arrived the people recognized me and had the police call my parents. As this was happening they arrived.
I was taken to the local hospital where my mother was the night supervisor and the only doctor in the hospital was an obstetrician. X-rays were ordered and Dr Schwartz informed my parents that I had a fractured skull. He had made all the arrangements to have me transferred to a larger more equipped hospital and had contacted a neurologist and neurosurgeon that would be there when we arrived. (Ironically Dr Schwartz delivered my first child years later as the doctor on call) It was a long 2 weeks for my parents as they waited for me to come out of a coma. My sister needed elective surgery so my parents decided as long as they were with me for the long haul they might as well have her surgery done. She was admitted and had surgery the same day and it was arranged that she would be in the same room as me. That evening I came out of my coma.
Personally I think it was God’s will that she have her surgery at that time and He was the one that made that special connection happen. I went back to school 3 months after the accident and was very upset that I missed so much school that I would fail 5th grade. My teacher told me not to worry and to always remember “I can if I think I can and I think I can!” I believed and I prayed and I passed with straight A’s. God listened and helped me believe what my teacher said. Life went on quite happily for me.
35 years later, married with 2 grown children and a grandchild we were moving to NH from Syracuse, NY. I was commuting on weekends trying to find a place to live and get our house sold. I was a bit overwhelmed and thought I was having “senior moments”. Once we had moved and were settled and I had begun a new job I was still have these moments but they seemed to be getting different. After a very shocking experience I was diagnosed with epilepsy from a traumatic brain injury as a child. The doctor told me emphatically I was not to drive! WOW, are you kidding, how will I ever survive! However if you are seizure free for one full year we will consider driving again a possibility.
As you can well imagine that required many life changes. With Jeff’s job requiring he travel and no family close by I went to visit family and friends a lot! There were many years that I had no idea what was going on around me, couldn’t remember what I just said or heard and was even in wheelchair for a time. I thanked God every day that he was giving me another day and every night that I had made it through the day. I thanked God for my family and faithful loving friends who were happy to help us. I prayed and believed that I would get through this. I begged God to give me my abilities back and promised He would see me in church again when I had control of my life. During one hospitalization it was found that my seizures were stopping my heart and they surmised that I literally died 14 times! I decided God had a plan for me, I was still here and I had to figure it out.
After 15 years of small successes and some pretty large failures, a new medication was put on the market and my new neurologist decided we would give it a try. It worked!!! I was one year seizure free on November 2, 2015, took a driving refresher course and hit the road again on December 3, 2015 with my doctors blessing.
I went back to church in early January 2016 and have never felt so blessed. I am doing all the things I had lost the ability to do. I can cook without burning the bottom out of a pot, knit, crochet, sew read, play games with my grandchildren and give back to those who so graciously gave to me.
I think God sometimes sticks His fingers in His ears and says “OK Patty, I know it’s you, take a rest.” I thank all the people that prayed for me for all those years every time I see them and I ask God to care for them as much as He cares for me. I now a have an additional life motto, a random act of kindness every day goes o long, long way.
I BELIEVE in prayer, I am living proof that He listens! That is my faith story!”
“Sometimes it takes a tragedy to find God. My discovery came as a young adult. I was an only child of older parents, spoiled of course and smothered with love. My parents were very church oriented, partly because my grandfather was a Methodist minister. However, church was an assignment to me growing up. Every Sunday morning I dressed up, went to Sunday School and church, because my parents wanted it. I did not see God.
Something happened when I was seventeen-my father died. Although he was sick for a few months, I wasn’t prepared. I had trouble dealing with his death. But I still did not seek our lord. Then at twenty my mother died. I was alone. My aunt and uncle as guardians lived out of town. Moving in with them was impractical, as I was going to a local college. One night I woke up to a presence. I actually felt someone by my bed, although there was no one visible. It occurred to me, it might be our lord. Suddenly, I knew everything would be all right. I wasn’t alone anymore. Guidance and love was there for the asking. This is my story. May it help others believe in God.” – Nancy O.