When my dad died, I was nineteen, enrolled at the University of South Florida, and lived life with shy, unsteady footing. That day whatever foundation I had ripped from underneath me.
It was only after years passed that I understood the complete upheaval that happened in my mother’s life, too. Where I felt a numb coldness, mother’s life shattered. A home that once held laughter and love, children and a husband emptied. In one year, her husband died and her four children left for college or marriage or entered the armed forces. In the months to come, she would battle extreme loneliness.
Working as an registered nurse in an area hospital kept her days busy, but at night, she drank to dull the pain. A friendship with another woman compounded the problem. They spent many nights out drinking.
Mother had given her life to Jesus at eight years of age, but when she married my father against her parent’s wishes, she stopped going to church. So her nights of drinking tore against her basic beliefs. After driving home drunk and stumbling into the house one night, she cried out to God. “If you don’t save me, I’ll die like this.”
The next morning, a Sunday, she climbed from bed, dressed, and decided she had to get out. She needed to go someplace, any place. As she passed a church, a voice said, “Go in.” When she told me this story years later, she described the voice as so real that she glanced into the back seat of the car. Of course, no one was there. When she glanced back at the road, the voice again said, “Go in.”
Heart pounding, she made a quick u-turn, circled back, and pulled into the church parking lot she’d just passed. She walked into a church service already in progress wearing the pants and shirt she’d thrown on that morning. At that time, every woman in the church had on a dress or skirt. No woman wore pants.
She scooted into a back pew and sat with her head down. But before long, her head rose and she stared at the preacher. He was preaching her life story. Her emptiness, her loneliness, her torment. At the end of the sermon, the preacher gave an old fashioned altar call—if you want to know the God who can give you life and peace, come down here and accept him as your savior. Mother stumbled from the pew and down the aisle.
The preacher prayed for her, and as she wept and rededicated her life to God, she had no idea what God would do in her life.
She had just turned 50, her life had upended, and she had no money except what she earned as a nurse. There were no savings—only the home she lived in. But from that day to the end of her life, God provided in many miraculous ways for her. He took her from Florida to Georgia, to South Carolina, to Israel, to India, and Indonesia. She preached in nursing homes and in jungle huts, she was arrested, rode in dugout canoes and visited head hunters. And she left an enduring legacy for her children, her grandchildren and many others.
Linda Knadle Rodante is the daughter of Elaine Knadle and Wes Knadle Sr.
Linda’s books Amber Alert, As Long As You Both Shall Live, Splashdown, Looking for Justice, and Honor Respect Devotion are Christian romantic suspense books on sale at Amazon. Linda’s series wraps sweet romance with real life issues that many women face today and add an edge of mystery and suspense. http://amzn.to/2lfJQ5r