Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Remembering Marilyn

Just last night, I learned one of the most beautiful souls ever to dwell on earth has departed for heaven after a long battle with cancer. Her name was Marilyn Williamson, and I came to know her as a participant in something called Lay Witness Missions (LWM).

Over the past decades, the LWM movement has been used to bring renewal and is responsible for so many coming to know the Lord. I personally know several. In fact, a man who witnessed to my husband prior to his turning back to God did so because he himself had surrendered his life to Jesus on a LWM.
The way LWM’s work is at the request of a church, a coordinator, which in this case happens to be Marilyn’s husband Dick, assembles a team of folks who go into a church for a weekend of sharing their personal testimonies. I’ve participated in dozens of these missions across the years.

A lay witness team at Thomson UMC prepares for ministry. I"m in the back standing with my daughter in my hands while Marilyn sits in front of me in the grey jacket.

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At Thomson UMC again, one of the largest teams I've ever participated with. I'm there on the second row with my daughter, again,  and Marilyn is in front of me wearing the blue sweater. .

Marilyn usually led the women’s group on Saturday afternoon during these weekends and exemplified I Peter 3:4 for she was in all the years I knew her a woman in possession of “…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…”

On those Saturday afternoons, she would often read a piece by M.R. deHaan II, founder of Radio Bible class and editor of Our Daily Bread. Through the years, it became one of my favorite readings and a while back, I asked her if I might have a copy, because I could not find it online or in print. When I received it in the mail, I pasted it in the back of one of my daily devotional books. I read it often, and when I do, I think of Marilyn because I believe it speaks to her heart for God.

I share a portion of it with you here:

“At 4 years of age I made one of the most important decisions I will ever make. Before I was old enough to know any other alternative, I accepted Christ as my Savior.

Do I resent the fact that I was encouraged to make such a choice before understanding my options? No. The last 33 years have confirmed the rightness of that decision. Not only has the Lord shown Himself faithful in meeting my deepest needs, but I’ve not found a reasonable alternative.

If God didn’t make me, I don’t know who did. If Jesus can’t bring me to God, I don’t know who can. If He doesn’t carry me safely through death, I don’t know how I’ll ever get out of this world alive. If Christ was not who He claimed to be I have no explanation for how He did what He did.

If He does not keep His word then I don’t know who I can trust when it comes to the subject of God. If He did not pay for my sins then I am as good as dead. If I cannot be accepted into heaven on His good name and merits, I certainly will not get there on my own. If He didn’t rise physically from the dead, I don’t know why His disciples were willing to die for their claim that He did. If He didn’t rescue me from the controlling power of my own selfishness, I don’t know who can.

 In every case, I have found reason to trust Christ for the answer to life’s ultimate questions. And as I have trusted him, He has changed me.

If you have not yet come to know him, I invite you to join me in finding all that you will ever need or could ask for in Jesus, the Lord, the Son of God.

Will you pray as simply as I first did in your own words?

Lord Jesus, I have sinned. I believe you died for me to pay for those sins. I accept you as my personal Savior. I believe your Word, which says ‘All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 5:37).

Marilyn devoted her life to helping others know Christ more fully by teaching and example. I have no doubts that Jesus carried Marilyn out of this world alive to God and that she was accepted into heaven on His good name and merits.

You might want to print this post, put it in the back of your Bible or devotional book, and perhaps share it with your friends. Who knows how the Lord would use this favorite reading of Marilyn’s to help someone find their way to Him.

And if He does, I also have no doubt that nothing would have made Marilyn happier.

Her encouragement, her smile, and that lovely sweet spirit will be immeasurably missed. But, how good to know for all who have “…found reason to trust Christ for life’s ultimate questions, ” we shall see her again, not just for a weekend of testimony sharing, but for an eternity of rejoicing in all that God has done.
With much love, Marilyn, until we meet again.

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