Early religious roads helped produce strong faith

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Years ago, we brought an aspen tree home from the mountains and planted it in our yard. Worried about the tree’s ability to withstand the transplant, we chose an area by the patio because it seemed to be a cooler spot.

The following days made us think the tree was going to die. It looked droopy and rather wilted. But as the days passed, the green in the leaves lost their wilted appearance and the aspen no longer appeared in shock. Its roots had taken hold and pulled it through the upheaval. Once again, the aspen took on the glittering presence as it had in the mountains.

That aspen reminds me of my life that takes drastic turns at times. When I am temporarily uprooted, I return to my childhood spiritual roots for strength.

I remember the first time I realized I needed Jesus Christ one Sunday night service at a little country church where my daddy was preaching.

I recall my parents on their knees praying for Susie after the doctor had diagnosed her with rheumatic fever. That is when I first realized the significance of prayer.

I think about Mr. Talbee, who owned the garage and gas station on the corner in my parents’ seminary days. He knew we were on a tight budget, so he offered help with free gasoline every Saturday. Throughout Daddy’s seminary years, we drove to those country churches on gas compliments of Mr. Talbee. That is when I first realized Christians were to help one another.

I remember our milkman in Kansas City, Jack Fleming. He would carry his bottles of milk in a wire carrier. His little twin boys were sickly and both boys were blind. Many mornings mother invited him in for coffee, talked to him about God, and prayed with him. That is when I first realized that Jesus could comfort.

I think back to two friends from Denmark whose parents were in seminary with my parents. I had no knowledge of Denmark but knew it was across the ocean somewhere. That is when I first realized that Jesus was for everyone.

I remember daddy holding down two jobs, going to seminary and still pastor of a church. Mother worked, went to seminary and cared for all of us. Their work and sacrifice showed me Christian commitment meant daily sacrifice.

I remember those time-consuming trips in our car that did get pretty boring. To help entertain us, mother taught us to recite the 23 Psalm and the beginning verses of the 14th chapter of John. That is when I realized that the Bible was and would be a significant part of my life.

I journey in my mind to my roots and view the beginnings of the faith rooted in me as a young child. Since that time, my faith has grown stronger and deeper.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:17. “And I pray that you being rooted an established in love, may have the power with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Looking back can be beneficial. We can visit the places where we first learned about God and remember the steadfastness of a heavenly Father who cares for us. That helps me flourish again.

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: cbrandon@plateautel.net