As we begin a new year, many of us are making New Year’s resolutions. We are thinking about who we want to be and how we want to live our lives in 2024. I recently asked for stories of God’s goodness on the SCBI Ministry Wives’ facebook page and the following story is a reflection from Laura Smith. Laura is married to Scott, pastor of South Side Baptist Church in South Bend, IN. This is a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness to His children and how the testimony of one church member can drive another to a deeper faith. As you read Laura’s story, reflect on how your testimony might draw others to deeper faith in 2024.
Laura says, “I’m a pastor’s wife in South Bend, Indiana. Few church members have touched my heart like Marty McLaren. She was a senior adult and member of our church when I heard her story.
As a young mom of four kids, she’d left her three-year-old daughter in the car under the watchful eye of her twelve-year-old son to run up to a friend’s door and chat for a minute. Somehow as the three-year-old was “pretend driving”, the car went into gear and rolled quickly into a pond and submerged. The 12-year-old was rescued but the three-year-old, Julie, drowned. Marty and her husband Dave didn’t have a bitter bone in their bodies and praised Jesus through this soul-crushing trial. They had a strong marriage and a stronger faith. I admired them.
Fast forward to when they were members at our church. That 12-year-old son, Donovan, was now a grown man with three or four kids of his own. He had a wife named Kristin and they were raising their kids to love Jesus, just as his parents raised him. One day, as they were driving home, Donovan fell asleep at the wheel. He was killed instantly and his wife and kids were all gravely injured, requiring months of surgeries and rehab. Throughout it all, Dave and Marty’s faith remained steadfast. I still get choked up remembering one of my life’s most impactful ministry experiences. My husband and I drove a couple of hours into Michigan to be at Donovan’s funeral. We didn’t know him but as a support to his parents who were members of our church. I’ll never forget sitting in the back of that church as we began a worship song at the funeral. Marty had a beautiful singing voice, and I could hear her, singing above the crowd, loudly praising her Lord and Savior. I looked for her and could see her hands uplifted as she sang, even through her soul-crushing grief, she sang on. You just can’t fake faith at the second funeral you’ve had for a child. She and Dave remained steadfast believers with a strong love for God and for each other. She’s a widow now, but I can guarantee you she sang on through losing the love of her life because that’s Christ in her. Her example still touches me today and reminds me that God is always worthy of our worship!”
As we connect for kingdom advancement in 2024, let’s continue to share our stories of God’s goodness as a way to draw others to worship our great God!