Looking back to my childhood and teen years, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t questioning, searching for that missing “something.” I was born two months prematurely, weighing in at 3 pounds, 1 ounce. Eleven days later, my mother, Dorothy Archer Schwenn, died. For the next four years I was raised by my grandparents, both of them heavy drinkers. I remember good times with my grandparents, but there were also the times that they would put me to bed and the two of them would go out to the bar. I vividly remember waking up, alone in the dark, peering out between the wooden slats of my playpen and crying for hours. For many years after that I was terrified of the dark.
My dad married a woman with three children and my half sister was born when I was eight. A few weeks before her first birthday, Lori died, and the next day, my stepmother gave birth to my little brother. Understandably, my stepmother became a hurt and bitter person and in my teen years I was often the target of her anger.
Questions…addressed to a God I knew little about. Would I ever meet my birth mother? Would I see my little sister again? Was heaven real? Often I would climb into my bedroom closet and talk to God. In my teen years I began reading the Bible and occasionally attended church with friends. Until that point, church was reserved for baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals and was quite a mystery to me. And God was distant, involved in international disputes and natural disasters on the other side of the world.
The questions continued until I was twenty-two. A neighbor lady shared that “something” I had longed for…God's love. Yet I was reluctant at first to receive the free gift she talked about since trust was foreign to me.
Though I will be in training to trust Him more until my dying breath, my focus is now resting in Him, learning to be still and know he is God, and rejoicing in Him. I make dates with God to spend time and rejoice! My children, grandchildren, marriage, finances, dreams, and future are all too precious to not entrust to Him.
I pray that you too can step out in faith and trust Him more today than you did yesterday and… tomorrow…hold on…for He is forever faithful and trustworthy.
In His abundant grace,
I was born in Waukegan IL but grew up in Wisconsin. Having never witnessed a marriage that was worth emulating, I decided early on that marriage was not for me. That decision lasted until I was eighteen! I met Brian Wienke on the first day of high school in second hour Science class. I was immediately attracted, but coming from an eighth grade graduating class of fifteen and entering high school with two hundred and fifty other freshman, half of them male, I wasn’t about to focus all of my attention on only one of them! Brian and I became friends, but it wasn’t until our senior year when he gave me a ride home after a basketball game that things really clicked between us. We were inseparable from that night on. We were engaged on graduation night and married within that same year…thirty-four years ago. Our first son Michael was born two years later and two years after that our second son Nathan; two more years and our daughter Faith was born. Three children in four years! I was exhausted! I often said I would have sold a live organ for a solid night’s sleep. We purchased a little white house, minus the picket fence. I had so much. I should have been happy. I wasn’t. God used this time of discontentment to show me that having almost everything is little to nothing without Him. As He turned my heart toward Him and brought a neighbor into my life to lead me to Him and disciple me, He began to show me what real love was all about and even enabled me to forgive my stepmother and move beyond my past. Life has never been the same.
Fast forward thirty-plus years: the babies are grown and gone out on their own journeys with the Lord. Michael is a firefighter-paramedic married to our daughter-in-love Becky with a son, Jacob, and daughter, Mackenzie. Nathan is a robotics engineer. married to Michelle for three years now. Our third grandbaby, Noah, was born in October of 2009. Faith, our baby girl, is a registered nurse wokring in Kenosha, WI. All live in the surrounding area. Brian has been in the medical profession for eighteen years and is currently employed at Great Lakes Naval Base as a civilian nurse. We will celebrate thirty-six years of marriage this year and are experiencing empty nest syndrome. I love nothing more than when all of our kids are at church with us and then home around the table for a Sunday home-cooked dinner or when we are planning a family vacation together, often to Florida. Brian and I have recently fulfilled our dream of building a little log cabin on land in northern Wisconsin. We have taken up ATVing and we try to attend a few NASCAR races and Packer games each season. Each month I serve in an outreach ministry at a teen girl’s prison. I purchased a little Malte-Pooh (Maltese/poodle) named Pooh Bear that I enjoy spoiling. We hike and walk together. I love being outdoors, enjoying the four seasons in Wisconsin, especially fall with all its splendid colors. I am crazy about reading good Christian fiction. I am currently working on developing a speaking ministry. I have a passion for the hearts of women and love to share my story and what God offers us through his undeserved, restoring grace. I'd love to talk to your women's group. Contact me at email@example.com.