The Lord is Not Slow in Keeping His Promises... Featured

Written by  Nancy Dawson -- Chicago, IL Monday, 23 February 2015 10:20

feenysWhen I first met Peggy Feeney in 1990, she was discouraged that there was yet another leadership change in her center city campus ministry at the University of Illinois Chicago. Living only a few blocks away from us, Peggy would often swing by to hang out--at which time I would encourage her to go spend some time with God first! She became a great help, even cleaning my bathrooms so that I would not have to inhale the cleaning chemicals since I was pregnant at the time. She would also bring me leftover muffins from her job at a bagel shop. Besides definitely appeasing my morning sickness, these mega-calorie goodies probably greatly contributed to my 44% weight gain on my 5 foot, 98 pound frame.

Shortly (and I do mean shortly!) after the birth of our daughter, Ed and I were transferred to the west suburbs. Peggy then moved on to the singles ministry in a different suburban community, but in 2001 she wandered away from God and the church. By then, Ed and I were living in another state and had lost touch with her. A few months after we had moved back to Chicago in 2007, Peggy had discovered on the church website that we were leading in the western suburbs once again. It took her another year to decide to surprise us and show up unannounced at a church service, but that Sunday happened to be the one Sunday that we had to "call an audible" and have house church services due to a venue miscommunication. It took her another year and a half to find my email address and to get the gumption to actually email me and meet in person.

In early 2010 Peggy started coming out to services and studying the Bible again, but her view of God was distorted. She believed he genuinely loved other people, but not her. She believed his promises and truths were for other people, but not her. She had let Satan's lies warp her mind over the last decade or so, letting circumstances and feelings dictate her joy instead of trusting in God's eternal truths. She had to have a mind change. It took months of studying the Bible, listening to sermons online, reading many books including Tom Jones' classic book Mind Change, and listening to God's truths before she decided to surrender and let go of the negative tapes in her mind. On her own, Peggy came to the conviction that her initial conversion experience in 1988 was merely an intellectual decision -- that it was the right thing to do and what she was supposed to do. She wanted to be baptized with heart and mind together this time, and she was baptized on March 1, 2012 (which also happened to be my spiritual birthday in 1985)!

Peggy moved out to the west suburbs to be closer to the ministry here and to her mom Anne, whom she helped regularly with groceries and such. Peggy's mom had come to a few services with Peggy during her campus ministry days decades ago, and she came out to a few services in the west suburbs now that Peggy was out here. After one such visit, Anne expressed her surprise that I was the minister's wife. She thought I looked too young (I knew I liked her!), and she couldn’t see how I had the "authority" to lead so many people. Peggy challenged her to see my "authority" by studying the Bible with me. Anne's response was "Yes, I will study the Bible, but I will never convert."  But Peggy, Anne's youngest of eight, had hope for the future.

Even though Anne was familiar with the Bible, she was amazed at some of the truths which she had never known; Anne was an eager student and humbly accepted God’s word. Her love for God spurred her on to make Jesus the Lord of her life and to overcome 82 years of tradition. When I asked her if she wanted to be baptized, she said, "Why wouldn't I want to be?!?" On March 31, 2013, which also happened to be Easter Sunday, our 82-year-old friend Anne Feeney navigated a flight of stairs (for the first time in six years!) and was baptized into Christ!

In Anne's own words: I knew I had to change to be closer to God. I absolutely had to do it. I had made the decision, but I had to work to actually take the step to do get out from under the traditions of the past. The actual purpose [of baptism] was that I had to be cleansed from all the things I did. I wanted a clean slate to get to the kingdom of God. I felt I had been striving to know God and follow him; I thought I was on the right road, but I was walking alongside it and getting turned around -- not on the straight road that I should be on and wanted to be on. After my baptism, I walked around for a few days saying, "I'm clean!" It's like a big burden has been taken off that I don't have to carry anymore, and that I don't need to worry about the past anymore and can just go forward. Believe, repent, make Jesus Lord and ruler of our life, be baptized, and our sins are forgiven and we receive the Holy Spirit. He gave us a way out. It didn't really cost us a lot, but it cost Jesus.

That's one sharp-minded lady. She persevered to know God's truths for her life, despite her physical challenges which include dialysis three times a week and a finger needing to be amputated. She is still persevering, and we have had many great talks about how great it will be to be with our Father and our heavenly family forever. Even at our daughter's wedding, Anne was blown away by the sincerity and joy of all involved. She said that she had never seen anything like it. We are so happy that she is a part of our family.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance -- 2 Peter 3:9

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