Thank you, dear heavenly Father
Over a period of three years, I read every word and underlined the passages that spoke to my child heart, such as the twenty-third Psalm, Christ Jesus’ words “Fear not, little flock” (Luke 12:32), and this statement from First John: “God is love” (4:8). I loved the Bible, especially the Gospels about Jesus’ life and works.
When I married, I joined the Protestant church that my husband belonged to. We loved our church and were active members. Our friends at church supported us in every way when my husband was suddenly diagnosed with a terminal illness. We had two young children, and it was a time of intense challenge.
I prayed almost constantly. I believed in healing through prayer, but I just didn’t know how to get hold of it. I prayed for wisdom, for courage and strength, for comfort and direction. My husband died at home surrounded by our love for him.
Afterward, I felt I had been baptized by fire. My dependence on God was deeper and stronger, more immediate, but I was also suffering and grieving. One day, at our local library, I prayed about what I should be reading, and I came home with a biography of Mary Baker Eddy (Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Trial, the second volume of Robert Peel’s three-part biography). I was intrigued—I had never heard of Christian Science—so I bought the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
As I read Science and Health, I felt such hope and a hunger for Truth. Some ideas were so clear, and I would think, “Of course! That has to be right.” Other ideas felt out of my reach at the time
—but I wanted to reach them.
I contacted a local Christian Science practitioner, and she became my mentor. She was patient with my questions and generous with her time. Gradually it became clear to me that, as much as I loved my family church, I really wanted to learn more about the Science of Christ and practice it. I began to attend a local branch Church of Christ, Scientist, regularly.
Even before I joined this branch church, our family had begun to experience healings, although I was a little slow to catch on that that’s what was happening. I think I expected a healing to be something dramatic and somehow otherworldly.
Then, at one point when our family was vacationing on an island, I had a painful earache and went to the island clinic. The doctor told me I had a perforated eardrum, which would have to be repaired surgically after we returned to the mainland. He wanted me to return to the clinic the next day. That night I read some pages in Science and Health for comfort and fell peacefully asleep. When the doctor examined my ear again the next day, he said, “I don’t see the tear. I must have been mistaken.”
I agreed that he must have made a mistake, until I remembered that the month before, I had visited a surgeon because I’d had cysts in my breasts. I’d had a standing appointment with him every six months. At that last appointment, he told me that all of the cysts were gone and I didn’t need to see him again.
Could these have been healings? Without any fanfare? Just Truth gently replacing error deep in my thought?
I began to understand that Science and Health presents a clear explanation of God’s goodness and allness, and teaches us how to apply these truths to human problems. With the help of the practitioner, we had wonderful healings of ringworm, an injured eye, a decayed tooth, and a concussion. And every healing brought new insight and spiritual growth.
I was ready to join the church I’d been attending. Every branch Church of Christ, Scientist, establishes its own requirements for membership, and the one my family and I attended required exclusive reliance on Christian Science healing for a year before applying for membership. That year was one of the most wonderful and interesting of my life, but it required work, too. I found that this was not a just-go-to-church-on-Sunday kind of church. In order to meet each challenge that came along, I had to be “prayed up”—spiritually alert, living the metaphysical concepts I was learning, and listening to God’s direction—every day. I told the practitioner, “It’s not easy being a Christian Scientist.” She answered, “It’s easier than not being one!”
Our family cherishes one healing that occurred during that year above all. I was engaged to marry my second husband when he was diagnosed with the same disease as my first husband. There was no clear course of treatment, and he decided not to return to his doctor. He had observed our family’s progress in relying on God, divine Love, for healing, and he was receptive to prayer. I felt so much better prepared to pray effectively with deep humility and to trust God’s pure goodness and love for us.
During that year before we married, in which I was preparing for church membership, my husband-to-be experienced various symptoms. But each time I prayed, I heard the same message, calm and clear: “He is well.” Then I would say to myself, “If God says he is well, he is well.” And by the end of the year, this was clearly evident, as there was a complete cessation of the symptoms. We’ve been married forty years.
This is how I found Christian Science—or how it found me. Thank you, dear heavenly Father.