GENERATIONS OF FAITH, by Marcie Ambrose
GENERATIONS OF FAITH
By Marcie Ambrose
My mom passed away on May 26, 2011, in the home I grew up in. She was 91-years-wise and had lived in our home since she was 19. She got married, raised her kids, prepared countless family dinners, had bridge parties, and suffered two strokes in our home. She taught us about Jesus in our home by word and deed.
Everyone came to the house the day she died. Three generations gathered—children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The great grandkids were sad Granny was no longer with them, but enjoyed the time with their cousins. We all gathered around her bed as her priest prayed over her. We knew her spirit lived on and she had been reunited with my dad and we knew we would be reunited with them someday—that families are eternal. Though our spirits leave our body, they continue to live on.
My father was a lay reader and my mom served in various church auxiliaries. They also served on interfaith councils. We attended church every week as a family and I can remember, even as a young child how I loved Jesus. I used to have little statuettes or small pictures of Jesus near my bed. He brought me peace. I loved going to Sunday School and listening to Bible stories. It brought me joy to take the bread and water at the altar. It made me feel closer to Christ and I enjoyed being with people who shared my desire for His love and peace.
I married in 1971 and moved from California to Norfolk, Virginia. We went to church on occasion, but not on a regular basis. Eventually, we stopped going—not for any particular reason except that not going had become a habit. Eventually, I began to miss the peace of being part of a spiritual community. That peace I grew up with at home. When I would go back home for a visit, I felt spiritually renewed each time. My mom and dad would always kneel beside their bed to say their prayers together. I loved seeing them kneel together and that memory now lingers joyfully in my heart.
Later, my little family moved to Upstate New York, and moved into a duplex in a small town. The people were friendly and you didn’t have to lock your house or your car. There was a creek behind us and a horse ranch across the road from us. My desire to be closer to Christ swelled within me after my time at home. There was a small church nearby and I began to attend. It wasn’t the same denomination as my childhood church, but I was a part of a Christ-focused community again and I was ready to be spiritually fed. As I continued on God’s path for me, I learned more about Jesus Christ and how much He loved me. Me, Marcie Ambrose. I felt like my relationship with Him was becoming more personal. Though I knew I loved Him, I never thought about how much He loved me. I never thought about how He knows me and knows the desires of my heart. My heart began to swell within me. The words to my favorite childhood song, taught in my home, became more powerful.
Jesus loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so, Little ones to Him belong, We are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.
I learned more about the atonement of Jesus Christ. I learned about how He loved each of us individually and was willing to “take upon the sins of the world” to sacrifice His life for us so we would be able to return and dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4, KJV)
I had never thought about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for me! What a humbling feeling. How do you pay back the ultimate sacrifice? If He was willing to die for me, am I not willing to dedicate my life in this world to Him? Am I not willing to follow His example to the best of my ability? Am I not willing to love and serve my fellow beings? Am I not willing to be my sister’s keeper? Though it seems overwhelming sometimes, I am willing to dedicate my life to Christ.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37, KJV)
My life is not perfect. My life has not been without trials and tribulations. But I know I am not alone in my journey.
As my family gathered around my mother that day, we held hands as Christians—Catholics, Episcopalians, and I, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though we had different faiths, we were united together in her faith and in our home—a place she prepared for Jesus to dwell. I live in that home now.
We still have diverse faiths and beliefs. We still pray, play, feast, serve and worship our Savior Jesus Christ in this home. I feel His presence here. I try to be still and know that He is here. I try to follow His promptings. I have seen miracles and God’s tender mercies in my life and in the life of so many others. As my mom and dad taught me by example, I share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by word and deed. I humbly share this with you because we are in this together. We are here to have joy. Amen.