Recently I found a story I wrote as an assignment for a correspondence course in “Writing for Children and Teenagers” that I was taking in 1992.  This particular story was supposed to be a “fictionalized” version of a factual account from my own life.  The only thing I did was change the names of each person involved: Two aunts, my grandmother, my younger sister, my mother and me. The rest was what actually happened. The story took place in the spring of 1953 when I was taken from where I lived in New Mexico to live with my father’s sister and her husband in Denver.  It tells about the last night I saw my mother alive and was entitled, “Goodbye, Mama, Goodbye”. 

My Mother died nine months after I was moved and I didn’t get to go to her memorial, although they sent me pictures of her in her casket. I was eleven years old.  

The following is not fiction, but is a brief account of my early years living in Denver. 

When I lived in New Mexico, with my mother’s side of the family, we always went to church, so I was “brought up” around the stories and songs of Jesus, who loved me. When I was moved to Denver, my aunt.who was my father’s sister, had a real dislike for church and my uncle was Jewish.  

Thanks to some neighbors, I was taken to South Presbyterian Church which was not far from our house.  I was allowed to go, but it was hard to come home to snide comments about the church and what I was like.  It got worse when I was thirteen and was allowed to go to a summer camp where I walked forward after an altar call and, as I have since described it, “Jesus welcomed this not-so-docile lamb into his fold”.

Something my aunt had shown me was a letter my mother had sent before I was taken away, asking my aunt and uncle to adopt me if they wanted to, and telling her that “I would work well for her if she went about it the right way”.

My aunt would use that letter to remind me that I was not worth being kept, (they didn’t adopt me), that I was a throw away and my only value was how well I worked around the house and yard.  What’s more, she told me that, because I was so horrible, it was my fault that my mother got sick and died. Anytime I didn’t live up to her definition of “Christian” behavior, she would say, “And you call yourself a “Christian!”.

My aunt had been raised in a Christian household, but because she didn’t have a good relationship with her father, she had rebelled against anything to do with church.  Because she wanted not to antagonize some of her Christian neighbors and a few friends, she continued to let me go to church if I wanted to. My “rebellion“ took the form of continuing to go regardless. I moved out on my own when I was 21.

Fast forward, to my current age of 81.  Over the years I slowly began to see God’s loving hand working through the events of my early years. He has worked through my husband, children, wise counselors, pastors and friends to bring healing to my memories and life. Most especially, God kept me in the church, which became my safe place where I could serve in various volunteer ways and be regularly exposed to good teaching. Through it, particularly as I had no family in the church during my childhood years, the people there became my family. The people at South Fellowship are my family still. 

Some of the scriptures that have encouraged me in the Lord are below.  I have emphasized some of the things that particularly touch my heart about God the Father, Jesus and the Holy spirit.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:4-5. 

(I qualify as both.)

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:1-10

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19. 

(Treasuring and pondering the scriptures is very important to me.)

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be  brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17: 20-26

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25

by Carolyn Schmitt

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.