by The Editors
Her intimate but steadfast voice has touched generations of Guideposts readers. Dive into the inspirational words of treasured author Marion Bond West.
Are you generally happy? “NO!” I printed boldly on my rheumatologist’s patient questionnaire. Maybe too boldly. I added a note to explain. “I’ve lost my joy.” Of course my doctor questioned me about it. “What’s going on, Marion?” he said. I told him the truth: “I don’t feel cherished anymore.” My husband, Gene, and I didn’t talk much. Didn’t leave the house much. Didn’t do much of anything. We used to be vibrant and active... My doctor didn’t seem troubled by all the things I’d told him. “That can be easily fixed,” he said.
I was back in my apartment in Atlanta when Mama called. When I heard her say, "Oh, Marion," I knew instantly. I could see the dress hanging on the back of her bedroom door in its clear zipped bag. How could I have forgotten it? I was to board the Silver Comet in Atlanta on Friday and ride overnight to Virginia. My heart tumbled to my feet. I had to work all week. So did Mama. How would I get my Cinderella dress for the ball? "I'll stop the train, Marion," Mama said. She sounded confident. But how?
My son Jeremy stood aside, not meeting my eyes–or maybe it was me who didn’t want to meet his–and let my husband Gene and me walk into his mental health counselor’s office ahead of him. We’d gotten him out of jail two nights before. Blenda, an addictions specialist, had given him an emergency appointment that May morning and urged us to sit in on the session... She had counseled Jeremy for six years and she’d seen him in every kind of emotional state imaginable. Uncontrollable rages fueled by drugs. Manic know-it-all phases when he stopped taking his medication for bipolar disorder. Withdrawn and scared moods. Or those increasingly rare instances when he was charming and funny, polite and cooperative. When he was the son I still had hope for, however fading.
I couldn’t put my finger on why, exactly, but I had been feeling far away from God lately, like he wasn’t really hearing me. A case of the spiritual blues, I guess. The sweltering heat didn’t help—August here in Georgia can get pretty unbearable. It was 100 degrees today, and really sticky. I turned up the air conditioner in my car full blast, ready to head home from my errands. That’s when I saw the dog.
I’d never really liked my face. My mouth was way too small, my nose not dainty enough. In my teens I complained to my mother about every facial flaw I thought I had, especially not having a cute little turned-up nose. She’d say, “Your face is lovely the way God made it.” I’d even asked God to forgive me for being so vain. Yet now, in my seventies, I liked my face even less. Every time I looked in the mirror, I found something else I wanted to cover up. Another age spot. Another line. Another unwanted souvenir of the passage of time...
When life experiences became overwhelming and her faith was severely tested, Marion found herself praying for her life—praying a desperate prayer for confidence in God's promise of faithfulness. In her spiritual memoir, Praying for My Life, the author shares her story and the prayer that changed her life.
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