All My Life You Have Been Faithful

When I hear CeCe Winans sing “The Goodness of God” on Christian radio, it makes me think of how God has blessed me throughout my life. “All my life you have been faithful, All my life you have been so, so good….” These words express my experience with God.

I was born into a warm, loving family where I was taught at an early age about God. I went to church and Sunday School, and I can remember my mother praying with me before I went to bed each night and my father teaching us to pray a blessing when we sat down to dinner. My family was part of a large, close-knit extended  family with lots of get-togethers with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. This was normal family life to me, but as I grew up I came to realize that my childhood was a blessing from God. Not everyone was surrounded by so much love.

However, as I entered young adulthood, moving into the city to work and go to school, I gradually began to walk away from the values I had been taught. Church was a check-the-box experience, and my theology was not Scripturally accurate. I began to question my faith and decided to “take a break from religion.” This was in the late 1960’s, when there was a lot of rebellion across the country. A newspaper headline read “God is Dead,” and Situation Ethics became the ruling philosophy of the day. I was happily leading a worldly lifestyle until I began to feel a crushing emptiness and disappointment in myself for having departed from the solid values I had grown up with. I was near suicidal. But God had placed me in an office where I worked closely with a man who was a strong Christian. I reached out to him about the sad state of my life, and he led me to saving faith in Christ.

After I was solidly involved in a good Bible-believing church, God brought my future husband into my life. Phil had what I have always described as big mountain faith and was a wonderful head of our household, a loving husband to me, and a loving father to our three daughters. When he died suddenly and tragically after 36 years of marriage, God continued to bless me as my extended  family, friends and the Christian community surrounded me and my daughters with support for our emotional and physical needs – meals, babysitting my young grandchildren during all of the funeral activities, stopping by the house to encourage us. The week after my husband died, I decided to read the Book of Lamentations because it sounded like a book about sadness. I believe God led me to this book, and I couldn’t really remember when I had last read it.  As I read Lamentations 3:22-23, I was so moved that I had to stop reading: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”  “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was my husband’s all-time favorite hymn. I felt as if God was reaching down to comfort me.

When I made the decision to move from what had been home for over 30 years, God directed me to my new home near two of my daughters and their families. He also directed me to Grace Redeemer Church, where I can continue to grow spiritually and to serve Him.

As I look back on my life – during the good times, the hard times, the life transitions – I can see the evidence of how faithful God has been to me. 

Julie Clements serves on the Women’s Ministry Team at GRC.