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Barbara Truman

Public speaking is not easy for me but since a few of you asked to hear my story, I’m happy to share it with you tonight.

I believed in God for as long as I can remember. My parents took me to church starting as a very young child. I remember Sundays were always special, starting with dressing up, going to Mass, followed with a big family dinner, usually with my grandmother.

I came to know Jesus by example and never doubted. My father was a kind, gentle man who never got angry and never cursed. My mother always gives to others, helps others and prays. They both spent a lot of time in church cleaning and cooking, painting, cookie walks, crafting, helped in building the greeting hall and classrooms – the list goes on. My house is filled with religious symbols. The picture of Jesus that hung in my bedroom as a child hangs in my bedroom still.

I didn’t realize it then but looking back I know Jesus was looking after me. At 8 years old, I was in a car accident with my dad. It was before seatbelts and I went through the windshield. Jesus’ protection is the only answer to why I’m not blind today. I spent a lot of time in hospitals, having facial reconstruction surgeries. I loved my nurses so much that I too became a nurse. My brother is 10 years older than me and had what they called a “nervous breakdown” at age 18 – the same year as my car accident. He was sent to a hospital in New York city. So my mom had all 3 of us in the hospital at the same time. Can you imagine getting through that? It was her strong faith.

Times when I needed God the most in my life, I turned away. Why me? I’ve been married and divorced twice. I was angry, mad, hurt, cheated on. This was God’s will to make me a strong, independent person. Through these marriages I have 2 wonderful children and 2 grandkids.

My all-time low was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50. Why me, Lord? This time I prayed – prayed hard. My faith was not even helping, or so I thought. I had to put my trust in God. Now I can help others with sharing, encouragement – you can do this – you can get through this with God’s help. Another difficult time I needed my strong faith was after I lost my job of 20 years. Again, why me, Lord? I was unable to get out of bed, seeking help with a psychiatrist and antidepressants. I prayed. It was God’s will. He gave me a better job. I was so foolish. I asked for God’s help and He did answer my prayers. My mom always prays. I, too, believe in its power. Thank you, Jesus. I have to remind myself that it’s God’s will, not mine.

After raising 2 children Catholic until confirmation, I stopped going to church. I turned into a Christmas and Easter worshipper. I got lazy, comfortable, life was good so I put God aside – on hold. Yes, I believed, but I didn’t practice what I believed. I was blessed but didn’t thank God for my blessings. Unfortunately, my daughter is following my lazy way and my son says he is a non-believer. He told me since I forced him to go to Mass, he no longer will. I didn’t pressure either of them, but I need to pray more about this.

Most of you already know this next part of my story. By extreme chance on the same day as your Rock the Block, Nuncia and I were looking for garage sales. Jesus took the steering wheel and pulled us into your block party. We met Flo, who told us everything was free to take. I met Margaret who prayed with me for Rachelle, a 31-year-old neighbor dying from throat cancer. I stayed most of the day, enjoying the food and music, and donating blood. With the bulletin information in hand, we came to worship with you the next day. I knew I belonged here. I felt at home, welcomed with open arms no matter what was in my past. You are a powerful group, small in numbers but big in the spirit of who a Christian is.

Since being a member of this church, I’ve learned so much through Fr. Cass’ sermons and teachings, and am eager to learn more. I have also found my passion, my mission, in Operation Christmas Child. OCC has brought so many wonderful people into my life through volunteering.

I want to share this with you. I flew to New York Jan 7th after being told that my father was in a hospice. Around 8 p.m. Jan 9th we got a visit from Fr. O’Connor. My father showed almost no signs of being coherent for almost 2 days. His mouth hung open as he struggled to breathe. The only comfort left was to swab his dry mouth. Then Fr. O’Connor prayed next to my dad’s ear. At that moment, my dad moved his mouth and he prayed with Fr. O’Connor. My mom and I both saw it. He passed away 2 hrs later.

Yes, I believe. Yes, I have strong faith. Yes, I need to pray more. And Yes, I need to thank God more.

 

Back to Testimonies  Audrey Daly  Barbara Truman  Carrol Moss-Solomon  Tim Mayberry

 

 


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