I was raised in the Baby Boomer Generation. By the 60's, times were changing and definite lines were being drawn between races, generations and value systems. I am the eldest of five children; four girls and one boy. We were raised Catholic in a home with loving parents, who taught us to fear God and follow Him. We were sent to Catholic school. I sometimes felt that my parents were overwhelmed by life's circumstances, their limited finances and their rather large family. Most of my memories are happy ones, but no one has a perfect life. I was married during my first year of college (on my 19th birthday) to my high school sweetheart.
Discovering I was pregnant, I quit school to take care of our child. Being my first time away from home, things didn't start out well. Life seemed to be coming at me a little too fast. We had a beautiful baby boy and although I tried, I could not make my spouse happy. We had married too young and didn't really know what we wanted or what was expected of us. In my pain of being ignored by my husband, I devoted myself to our son. In hindsight, I now realize that I married simply because it was expected of me. I didn't really know what love was or the seriousness of making a lifelong commitment.
After 13 years of marriage, he left me for someone else and I was left to deal with a religion that did not support me emotionally or spiritually. I was made to feel like a marked woman. Hurt, I turned away from God! God still protected me and loved me, but I was ignoring Him. While I turned away from God, my son, Christopher was running after God in a big way. He asked to join a local Baptist youth group and started attending services regularly. I was happy for him, but did not want God in my life. I was fine.... for now!
In 1986, I met the love of my life. David was the most generous, wonderful, kind, intelligent and patient men I had ever met in my life. He was a true Godly man. His greatest asset was his sense of integrity. He supported me in everything I did or attempted to do. I struggled with his love of God and his reading the Bible, but as long as he was happy, I was happy. In December, we were married. He occasionally asked me if I wanted to attend church with him, but I wasn't interested. Every week, the church would mail us a bulletin from the previous Sunday service and every week, I would throw it away. Following a miscarriage, we were able to finally have our daughter, Sarah two years later. She was the joy of our lives and we were a very happy family. Still something seemed to be missing.....
Four years later, in 1990, I was at possibly one of the lowest points of my life emotionally. I had everything I'd always wanted, but I was miserable. At Easter, my son told me he was going to be baptized and asked me to come. I didn't want to go to a church, but my love for my son was bigger than my resentment of God. I sat alone in the back of a darkened church, hiding from God, as my son was baptized. In my pain, I felt God touch me... literally. It felt like someone was tapping me on the shoulder, not once but twice. When I looked around, no one was there. My mixed emotions of seeing Chris so happy and my own feelings of emptiness and loss, even though I was in a successful marriage and had a lovely daughter lead me to a personal encounter with God that day. I had been lead to a relationship with Our Lord, Jesus Christ by the example of my eighteen year old son, Christopher through his baptism. (the name Christopher means Bearer of Christ. He was named appropriately.)
Through Chris' example of Christ’s love and the patience of my new husband, David, I was baptized in July of 1990 at First Baptist Church of Gardena by Pastor C. Nichols. I have never looked back and my love for the Lord deepens with every new day that He allows me to serve Him, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my trials, bad days and dry seasons. Immediately, I was thrown into service, as my husband felt God's calling to be the Youth Pastor at our church. I felt so unprepared for the role. Just as I was getting use to the being a Pastor's wife, my husband announced that he felt God was moving us from California to Indiana... and so the journey began. It was 19 years of ministry in several churches, meeting new people and finding kindred spirits in Christ. I began home-schooling my daughter and was so blessed by the experience.
On March 21st, 2005, God threw me a curveball. My precious husband, David Vincent went home to be with the Lord following a massive heart attack. David was only 48 years old. What seemed like a tragic senseless, unjust and sudden death turned into an opportunity for God to show Himself strong and real to both my daughter, Sarah and I. God is so gracious!
Because of David's obedience to the Lord during his time here on earth, both myself and our daughter were brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. My son, Chris and new daughter-in-law, Joi were helped in their Christian walk by his quiet example and overwhelming generosity. Many youth that David taught during his 3 years as a Youth Minister at First Southern Baptist Church in Gardena, California were influenced for the Lord. Many co-workers and customers at Hughes Aircraft, ITT, Raytheon, Boeing, NASA and other places were touched by David's integrity, honesty and commitment to the Lord and their lives were changed. Many people saw David's life as a quiet example of God's love and were touched through his 7 years of ministry at Keefer Creek Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana as both a worship leader and Deacon. David touched lives through his commitment to quietly serve God as a teacher of new Christians and the first deacon at The Sanctuary of Huntington Beach, California. This was to be his final church home. David was not a flashy person. He was not a powerful preacher! David was a quiet, faithful, loyal servant of God who touched people in his everyday life through his intellect, his knowledge of God's Word and his obedient example. I know God is using David still here on this earth.
BUT FOR ME... My world had suddenly come crashing down. That first night was the worst night of my life, but thanks to the prayers of my church family at The Sanctuary and our friends and family, God gave us a wonderful peace “that surpassed all understanding” about the situation. Things would be okay and we could survive, because God was now our strength. I wished that God would have allowed David to stay here with our daughter and our son, as well as our daughter-in-law and three beautiful grandsons, but God had another plan....... One which I will not question or challenge, because I know with certainty that God knows what's best for us and will look after us in David's absence. In 2006, I decided that I would need to get a full time job in order to support my daughter and myself. I had been out of the work force for over 16 years while I home-schooled my daughter and invested in her future. The only work experience I had was being a church secretary and treasurer. On Monday morning, I was going to go apply for an entry level job at a new Target Store near my house, but that Sunday, my Pastor announced from the pulpit that our church was looking for a full time church administrator. God answered my prayer in a way that would allow me to serve Him and still earn a living. There were many tests and trials in doing this job. Many times the workload was near to impossible and I was asked to perform tasks that were above my learning curve, but EVERY TIME, God allowed me to work it out and do the job above what I thought I could achieve.
God wasn't through with me yet though... In June of 2011, I discovered a lump in my breast and within a week, the diagnosis was Stage 3 breast cancer. I was devastated. The thought of leaving behind my daughter who had already lost her father was more than I could deal with. I prayed, but I was so numb that my prayers felt useless. That next Thursday, I was singing with the worship team at the Thursday night service and the Pastor called me down and told people about my diagnosis. He asked people to join him in praying for me. I was surrounded by several dozens of people who prayed with a fervor I had never heard before, but I just could not bring myself to pray and ask God to heal me. Suddenly, as if I were the only person in the room, I began to sob and plead for God to heal me. It was as if my spirit suddenly became peaceful, worry-free and confident that I knew I was being healed.
Later, while praying, God made it clear to me that I would be healed “if I walked out the process.” I didn’t understand what He meant until I got an email forwarded from a friend that week that explained the difference between a miracle and a healing. It went on to explain that when Jesus performed a “miracle” it was instantaneous. Bam! You were well. When Jesus “healed” people, there was usually a condition that needed to be met such as “go and tell others” or “wash in the creek” or “cover your eyes with mud paste”. My conditions were to “walk out the process”. That meant doing the chemotherapy every week for 6 months, doing the radiation every day for 6 weeks, having the mastectomy and taking the medications for 5 years. I agreed that if this was what God wanted, I would do it, but I didn’t understand why.
Now on the other side, I do understand. God wanted me to stand tall in front of the people at church every week worshiping God with a renewed strength I didn’t understand. He wanted me to show up at work and do my job even when I felt sick before I got there. He wanted me to be an encouragement to the nurses and doctors I spoke to every day and tell them that God had healed me. He wanted me to speak to the fellow patients about what God was doing in my life. After the first week of chemo, I could no longer feel the tumor. This surprised the Doctor, so he ordered a sonogram. The sonogram showed nothing. No tumor at all, but he explained this by saying that sometimes the chemo breaks up the tumor into a mushy mass that is not easy to see. I continued with the chemo knowing that God had taken care of everything for me. In February of 2012, I went into surgery. It was fairly easy. I felt very little pain and within two days I was taking no pain meds including aspirin. The biopsy showed that there was no cancer in the breast, the lymph nodes or any of the surrounding area. The doctors were excited. As part of my chart records for a clinical trial, I told them that they should mention that I was healed by God. They just smiled.
I thought I was completely cancer free, but in 2015, I was diagnosed with cancer on the side of my tongue. I felt let down... like God had broken his promise, but that feeling left me very quickly. With each test, it was easier to bounce back into God's arms. Following my surgery, I was pronounced CANCER FREE. He is still a God of miracles. God is good and He will do what He says He will do. His love for me has never changed, even when I have let Him down. His love makes me try harder; not because I want to keep being cancer free, but because I have never known anyone who loves me as much as He does and I want to please Him. Today, I am happily retired, living in Anaheim, California and spending my free time re-writing my website about Disneyland and bluegrass bands, doing genealogy and continuing to love and serve God at my new church, Church of Grace in Yorba Linda, California.
We are a "Joshua Generation" and God is asking us to take a stand and speak out against evil. If we do not obey, we will be crushed by the world. If we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything!
Where do you stand?
Do you believe in heaven and hell?
If you were to die today, where would you go?
Would you like to be certain that your final eternal destination will be heaven?
God loves you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus to die in your place
that you might have eternal life with Him in heaven. [John 3:16]
We are all sinners and cannot possibly measure up to God's standards.
We deserve death. [Romans 6:23]
Nothing you can do on your own will save you from your deserved punishment. [Ephesians 2:9]
God has provided a way for us to join Him in eternity through His Son, Jesus Christ. [John 14:6]
We must repent of our sins by turning from sin and to God. We must place our faith in God by trusting Him to save us from our sinful nature. [Romans 10:9-10]
As evidence of giving Jesus control of our lives we will want to identify with Him. The New Testament way to identify with Jesus is to confess Jesus publicly and follow Him in baptism and to find like-minded people to share your faith through fellowship with them. [Romans 10:13]
If you are in a place in your life right now, where you feel that something is missing,that you will never be happy again or that you cannot go on, I would love to talk to you and share what God has done in my life.
EMAIL ME... firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, who died for my sins that I might live with Him eternally.
I believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that He will return in glory.
I believe that the Bible is the inspired and unchanging Word of God.
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