Life On and Off an Acreage

In-sights into moving from an Acreage back to Town, plus a few things I find of interest.

Two things that horses are scared about:

1. Things that move
2. Things that don't move

December 18, 2009

My Testimony

I have been getting the “feeling” that I should be doing this for the last couple of months, so here goes....

I was brought up in a church going family, but found that the church was cold, unfriendly, and full of “Do nots...” It quickly lost any appeal for me. At the time I was to be going to Sunday school, I would hide a fishing rod at a friend’s house and play hooky from Sunday school. My mother caught on, but did not say anything.

School was a “breeze” for me, both public, and university. I did not really have to work for my degree. I spent 4 years downhill skiing almost every weekend and had a rather good time. My parents instilled a good work ethic in me by shipping me off to be a fishing guide at a fly in camp at age 14. The hours were from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm for a grand total of $12 per day. It taught me responsibility. When I got to university, I hired on at the local paper mill as a junior chemist in the summers. My mother was appalled that I started at $350 per month, more than what my dad had made after 25 years as a department head. I saved and was able to put myself through university except for $100 in my last year. I didn’t quite make it!
I think that I always believed in God, but could not find a way to relate to Him. When my father died , I was 19 and I got really angry at God, as my dad’s death was a slow and lingering one. When my mom passed on, it was the same thing. Alzheimer’s is not a pleasant way to go.

My wife, Elaine, was the pillar in our family when my mom passed on and when the boys were growing up. I was caught in the rat race of making a living. We lived well, avoided major debt, but still I was absent for a lot of my families growing up. She was the one that took the boys to Sunday school (the same church) and gave them the basic background of Christianity. Sadly, both boys walked away from the church in their teenage years. For this, I have to accept full responsibility as I was not the spiritual guide that I should have been.

During my career in the Pulp and Paper Industry, I found that I had a knack for doing things with the process that other people could not do. For example, when I was able to modify a sulphite process and gain 15 points of brightness, I was proud. A whole research department had worked on that problem for 10 years. I solved it in 9 months. There were other projects like that. However, not once did I thank the Lord for giving me the ability to do those things.

I finally hit rock bottom in 2003. My youngest son went through a very ugly separation when his wife left. My wife tried to take her own life. Fortunately, I found her in time. She went through three strokes and ended up unable to do much for herself for three years. I was semi retired at this point and was able to give her support. Many a time I questioned God as to why He allowed this to happen. Once again I was angry.

God started to work miracles at this point. My son’s boss introduced him to a fellow that was real good at listening. This person turned out to be the Pastor of The Family Worship Centre in Whitecourt. My son did not know he was a Pastor at this time. To shorten the story, Mike started attending the church and gave his life to the Lord. My wife started going to the church, mainly in support of my son. As I was at a low, I started to attend also. It was not comfortable! At this time, my wife announced that she had had enough of me and was leaving after 33 years of marriage. I was devastated!

At the end of my rope, I went and had a talk with the Pastor of the Family Worship Centre and asked if he would help us work the situation out. He did, and both Elaine and myself were baptised in water together on June 12, 2005!

Since that time we have missed only 1 or 2 days of church, been involved in 4 years of weekly Bible studies and are enjoying the Word of God! I wish that I had taken this walk earlier in my life! It’s all about the choices we choose to make. At the beginning of my walk, I was very sceptical about a few things that the church was claiming. God soon straightened me out! As a result of the strokes, Elaine’s leg was left shortened by 3 ½ inches and had a permanent bend in the knee. Physiotherapy had no effect. The prognosis by the medical profession was that she would be that way for life and could look forward to a wheelchair. There was a visiting Pastor by the name of Max Solbrecken that came to preach in Whitecourt. Elaine went up for the healing alter call and was prayed over. Nothing happened. Pastor Max came back six weeks later and prayed over Elaine. Again nothing happened! Until we got home and Elaine said,” Look at my leg”. I was awestruck. Her leg was straight and she was standing and walking normally. I watched two very large specialists in the Rehabilitation center try to straighten her leg with no success. God did it in an instant! Today, you would not know that anything had happened to her, except for the change in her mind, attitude and willingness to serve. At this point I was not so sceptical any more.
The following summer, Pastor Max was holding a tent revival outside of Edmonton, and as we had got to know him quite well, we decided to go. Elaine was invited to share her testimony on healing. She also wanted me to receive prayer for loss of hearing. I went up, but looked around and saw two people that I will never forget. They were elderly and in real need of healing. My thoughts went something like this.” How can I ask for my ears to be healed when these people were in so much greater need?” I started to pray for their healing and did not go to receive the laying on of hands. At this time, my back was pretty much useless and I was thinking that I could not go on working much longer as the pain was severe. On the way home, I felt a burning in my back which I did not think anything of. At home, when I got out of the car, I had no pain. God works in His own way, at His own time! At this point I was thinking “Wow” what just happened? I was also feeling very guilty because I kept thinking of the two people that really needed healing. I went to the Pastor as the feeling of guilt was very strong. His answer was that God has his own reasons, don’t question, just be grateful”. I was, and still am.
About six weeks after the healing a very good friend asked if I still would be grateful, thankful, if the pain came back tomorrow? My answer to him was, “I would be grateful and thankful for the six weeks of being pain free”. I still ask myself, “Why me”? Pastor said that maybe someday I will get the answer, in God’s time.

Do I still get pain in my back? Yes, when I overdo working on the acreage, or when a horse decides she is going to land on me. The difference is that those types of pain go away. The other did not!

The other thing that happened to me was an incident on my tractor that I should not have survived. I was preparing new ground for pasture by dragging a diamond harrow behind the tractor, working on a side hill. I had made several passes with no problem. The last pass, I was doing the normal speed, (dead slow), when a rear wheel slipped, then grabbed causing the tractor to roll. My unit had no roll bar. I remember looking at the high side and thinking that I couldn’t get clear and then saying “God, help me” and kicking off as hard as I could. I landed rolling about 15 feet from the roll over point and watching the tractor roll, almost in slow motion 1 ½ times. Several times I parked the tractor near there and mentally tried to get clear of the hoses and levers and land that far. My opinion is that it was not possible for me to do what had happened without help. The steering wheel ended up bent, the air intake and exhaust stack bent and me without a scrape, bruise or any injury.

I am not a sceptic anymore! God works in this day and age! For what reason He has helped me, I am not sure of, but I am very grateful.

Along the “Walk”, I have got to know people outside of my comfort zone. ‘Way outside! A winter’s stint supervising in the local homeless shelter has given me a strong feeling “there but for the Grace of God, go I”. Good people, hard times and habits, but all very grateful to have a warm place to sleep and a simple meal. Here it gets to -40C in the winter. Not a fun time to be tenting in the bush!

I have been doing simple things in the church to help out.
My parents were both dead set against tithing, so I kind of inherited that attitude. A fellow who I respect gave a talk on tithing at a men’s breakfast, with the result that Elaine and I decided to “give it a try”. At that point, our finances started to turn around. It seemed that the more we gave, the more blessings on us were given. We did not miss the 10% and up. In fact, working part time in a recession we found we were able to pay off a mortgage, a goal that both of us said was not possible!
God has blessed our family so much! The ripple effect of our son’s misfortune has brought most of the family back to God, where it should have been for a long, long time. It has also produced positive effects in our extended family, and as far as I can tell, the ripples are still going out! We pray regularly for those of our family that are not yet in God’s fold.

For a while, I was deeply offended by the attitude and behaviour of some of the church members towards our family situation to the point of saying to Elaine that a certain Sunday was going to be my last in the church. However, when I stepped into the Sanctuary, I felt such a great peace that I knew that I was not going to leave “my home”. At that point I took the attitude that their unwillingness to say good morning etc. was their choice, not mine, their loss, not mine and that I was in church to worship God.

I have long been a lover of the outdoors, and an admirer of God’s beautiful creation. Even at -40C when the water trough is near empty and the hose is frozen, I give thanks on a daily basis. It is a good life, even if it is a short life and I look forward to meeting the Creator someday and saying “Thank You , face to face“.

31 comments:

The Old Geezer said...

What a GREAT POWERFUL testimony to the healing power of our Lord. Thank you for sharing you personal testimony.
Ron

Noutax said...

Amazing, thank you for sharing. Praise God!

Melodie said...

Wonderful testimony! I am glad you shared it.

Laura Shook said...

Hi Ian,
Thank you for your comment on my blog, an especially for your prayers! I am encouraged by your testimony! God is good!
Laura Shook

Woody said...

Great Pictures, hoping you have a Great 2010!! Just Blog Hopping and enjoyed your comments and views, (Amen)

Kathleen from Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Hi, loved your words and story of your testimony. I have been to many churches since I was 16. Some folks were just as close as family, and some folks were as cold as ice,.....even on Sunday. This used to bother me and made me sometimes want to quit on church.....however, I decided that I was not going for other people, I was going there to worship the Lord. I put on his armour and after all of these years, I now have a wonderful small church home. Ian, you asked on my blog Pleasant Prairie Farm about a root problem.....I will do some research and let you know what I find. Love your post! blessings,Kathleen

Pleasant Prairie said...

Hi, it's me once again. I looked up "why root plants bolt" and from what I can understand is that something traumatic must have happened to the plant. Either too dry, too wet, bad temperature..ect. When a root plant goes through this, they immediately want to go to seed. I hope this helps. blessings,Kathleen

Ruralrose said...

First time visit here. This post is wonderful thank you for sharing it and letting your light shine. Peace for all

Galatians 2:20 said...

Thanks for sharing your testimony. It is always wonderful to read how God works in people's lives.

I am trying to figure out how the Shack makes it next to the Bible in your profile of favorite books. The two are opposites of each other. The Bible teaches salvation by Grace through Jesus Christ and the Shack teaches universalism (that everyone goes to heaven.) What are your thoughts?

IanH said...

Galatians 2:20. That is a pretty fair question that you asked! When "The Shack" first came out, I heard lots of comments about it both pro and con. The contoversy lasted quite a while. I came across a copy and decided to read it to try to understand what the controvery was about. It hit me pretty hard that this is not what the Bible is teaching. However, it did give me a couple of insites, such as; God can be whoever He wishes; He can work in ways that we as mortals cannot comprehend.

What I got out of was that the interpretation/story or whatever is not for me. It is an interesting read if you like fiction, and maybe, just maybe someone sees the hype associated with it picks up a copy , reads it and decides to investigate Christianity in greater detail. If so, it is a good book. I am beginning to realize that people today are not as gullible as my generation used to be, and thirst for knowledge and further understanding.

I definitely believe in salvation through our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Having said that, I also realize that many denominations of "Christianity" do not necessarily believe that. I won't single out any particular denomination here.

I took it as a book that may make non-believers start to think of God, Jesus, salvation and Christianity.

Hope this answers your question. By the way, Iread a lot of different authors on the topic and try to sort out what aligns with Scripture and what does not. There are some very well known personalities whose writings I disregard as being against the Written Word.

Galatians 2:20 said...

Ian,

Thanks for responding to my question. Here is a link that does a good job of exposing the heresies in the Shack; http://www.challies.com/media/The_Shack.pdf

I sadly agree with you about other denominations that do not believe in salvation through Christ alone but if one does not believe in Salvation by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, for the Glory of God alone, well then they are not a Christian.

Love all the photos on your blog. I will have to show my wife your site. She longs to live on land with horses.

God bless and may His mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you and your family.

Rick

IanH said...

Here is an e-mail response (with permission) from"According to the Scriptures. See sidebar.
He is making a lot of sense out of things that i have been wrestling with. Worth reading! Thanks, Stan!

Ian, the hardest thing I have ever had to do is erase all the false doctrine that I was taught growing up. I was an Army brat and we attended whatever church was close to the house. When I got serious about being a Christian, I was in the Church of Christ. I -searched the scriptures dailey to see if what I was being told was "according to the scriptures." The hardest thing for me to accept was that baptism in water was essiential to the salvation of a man's soul. I just didn't want to believe it. I was "faith only" all the way. Acts 2:38 partly convienced me,(when God says something once...that should be enough but not for me at the time) and then when I read that Saul(later to be named Paul) had a personal encounter with Jesus(you'd think he would have been saved on the spot) and he had prayed for three straight days and was still in his sins and was told to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins, I saw that praying through was not the way and that Saul had to be saved the exact same way the 3,000 were on the day of Pentecost and that if I was going to get saved it would have to be the same way it happened for them, I got baptized for the remission of my sins.

The really hard part that kept me from believeing the truth even tho I could plainly see and understand what I was reading was that I had to admit that mom and dad were wrong and it wasn't that they were decieved....they had the same word of God that I did. That's a very heavy thought and it took me a long time to deal with it.

I tell you all this because I read your testamony and my wife and I are snubbed as you say you and yours is. That's their problem. I came out of all that denominationalism(and it wasn't easy) and God says its wrong in 1Cor chapters 1-3 and I speak out against it. Some in the church don't like that.

I speak out when our minister preaches on "tithing" for a new testament Christian and uses old testament texts to make his point. Tithes and tithing are mentioned only 7 times in the New Testament...3 when Jesus was speaking about the Pharisees and 4 when speaking about Abraham and his tithes.(I'm saying that from memory so you better check me out) My bible tells me to give as I feel God has prospered me and to give with a glad heart. Christians are told that they should "give till it hurts"...I say they should "give till it feels good". I had a hard time giving when I was tithing because it seemed the company I worked for grew in leaps and bounds and the more they grew ...the more I made. I began to look at the size of the checks that were going into the offering plate and told my wife that 10% was an awful lot of money and what I was giving was beginning to be without a glad heart. Her's what we did...We gave 90% and tried to live off the 10%. It didn't take long at all for me to see that what I was giving back to God as a chenchy 10% wasn't really very much at all. He now owns eveything in my wallet(He always did and I just didn't know it at the time) so when I go to give now...I don't ask how much am I going to give back to God...I ask how much of God's money am I going to keep for myself. You know .....I think I better start writting a devotional on giving to post

I gotta get out of herebut I just felt compeled to write and let you know that there are others that aren't completely satified where they worship. But I love every one of those snobs and they better start loving me cause if they don't love fellowshipping with the saints.....their. not going to like heaven very much. Keeping covenant with Him, Stan

manker said...

your gems of wisdom are just what i needed to read today.. and of course your testimony

blessings and shalom
gp

Bob West said...

Ian ... Your testimony is very inspiring. God has a plan and purpose for each of us and for sure he still has much for you to do. The pictures of your place up there are also inspiring ... God has blessed you in a number of ways. I look forward for our friendship to grow and for us to learn from each other

God Bless ... Bob

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

have some lovely photos on your blog

Lloyd said...

Ian, What a wonderful and uplifting personal testimony. Thank you for sharing from the heart. I really enjoyed reading your blog. God bless, Lloyd

Janet said...

Hi I am Janet and Im in Texas! I found you thru someone elses blog and now I cant remember whos blog lol. I need a blog like your to read showing and reading about the Lord and His goodness. Its easy to get complacent! Im adding you btw!

Crystal Mary said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. God has done a powerful work on you and your family....because you learned to believe.
I have been through much in my life and never given up on His greatness. However, lately I have given up on the church.Yet never Him!
My two eldest christian children have been very mixed up as the result of certain teaching which I feel are ungodly. My daughter (married with children) a beautiful soul and blesses the Lord with all she has is continually terrified of coming under a curse as the result of something or other, she continually comes against this and that.... recently she has been told she was sexually abused as a child and can't remember it!! I didn't return to study until after she married so know she was never in a position for this to happen, plus now with my professional knowledge I see no behavioural evidence.
My son lost his relationship with his lady and has been hanging on for over a year believing God will bring her back to him.People in the church have told him to send her notes and phone her, lately she wants to report him to police. I have told him if its to be, God will work it out but get on with your life...He is 41yrs old and now unemployed.
Anyhow, besides that, I take time to fast and pray for my husband who is not fully with the Lord but mainly with the world.
Your testimony here is very encouraging and inspirational...thank you so so very much for sharing. God bless your continued walk.

Suzanne said...

On your acreage … My formative years were lived on a farm with my beloved grandparents, Gramma and Grampa Holmes, in Warren, Ohio. Time passes quickly and still the memories are fresh, especially their love. The farm work, well … we both know about chores and the animals we love who depend on us as much as we do them. But it’s much later in life, in 1969, after I was married and had suffered a severe head injury while living overseas in Herzogenaurach, West Germany and then returned home to Warren, when I also asked the question: “Why, dear Lord?” It's when I began to study and do research on The Holy Bible, after having experienced life after death and then lived to write about it in Mommy’s Writings.

My love of the bible and on-going research is apart of daily life, which strengthens a resolve to fulfill God’s plan for my life. In 1983, after a head surgery when I didn’t know if I could even type, I heard the words: “You will write this story.” I also had a long road ahead, like yourself, but God knew the way. I became a good listener in this journey which will be fulfilled in the publication at Year’s End 2010. I enjoy writing and continue to do so, but I don’t know if further publications will be pursued by me. The truth is that God does and I’m listening!

… And thinking about both of our respective walks in life, these two passages come to mind: The Acts 1:7 and St. John 9:1-3. There’s also a beautiful Morning Prayer, one of my favorites, which often is said aloud by me to begin each new day: Psalms 143:8.

Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author
www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Mommy, would you like a sandwich?

lioneagle said...

Greetings Ian -

Your testimony was another blessed assurance that GOD does not forget...He is absolutely true to His Words! He is a covenant maker, a promise keeper, a very present help, and a tower of salvation. Bless His holy name.

Thank you, Ian, for sharing your testimony with us.

Jana said...

Hallelujah!

Gorges Smythe said...

Great Testimony! Unlike you, we felt it was best that we leave our last church. As much as it pained us to do so, it would have hurt us worse to stay. We're not even looking for another church at this point, though we visited a couple. It's not the Lord's fault that we're where we are, and I think when my wife has done a little more healing, the Lord will lead us to the right church.

Child of God said...

I love, LOVE, your testimony!! Praise our God! God heals and I have seen it many times.

God Bless,
<><

C-ingspots said...

I enjoyed reading your testimony. It's always reassuring to read of someone else's fellowship with our Lord. Thank you for sharing and for visiting my blog. I always appreciate feedback. Will take the time to read more of your blog later when I'm not supposed to be working. :) Blessings.

allhorsestuff said...

Ian! Praise God on high! Loved reading your great testimony, sorry I never had before now.
The love of Christ shines through you and yours ~
Love, in Him, Kacy

Jo said...

I really enjoyed your testimony!...and that is my hope to also say "thank you" to our Lord and Saviour,"JESUS", FACE-TO-FACE.How exciting!..thank you for sharing.
~Jo
LazyonLoblolly

Phillip said...

Great testimony. God will never disappoint us.
I live in a cottage on a farm and I understand your love of living in the country. Must say I don't think I would survive a -40c winter.

Alica said...

I enjoyed reading your testimony...thanks for sharing so honestly!

Joey said...

God provides what we need, just when we need it the most, and in the most unlikely times.

I thank Jesus for what has happened in your life. I praise God that I was able to read your witness, and it helped me tonight. I was so tired, and the words I just read have made me so happy, I don't feel tired anymore.

Thanks be to God!
Amen...
Joey

Crystal Mary said...

Oh Ian, How wonderfully the Lord has gently prompted you along the way. Praise his name for you and Elaine's healings. No! we are not to question, just accept and be thankful. Blessings from a sister in Christ from Queensland, Oz.

Missy Dussault said...

Though this post was from so long ago, I just wanted to say thank you for such a powerful testimony. May God continue to bless your family