Offering of Gratitude - Janie Drake

In worship on Sunday, November 4th, we welcomed four of our members to offer their stories of gratitude to our church family, and share how this church has impacted their faith and their life. These moving testimonies will be shared separately over the coming days, and we hope they will inspire you to reflect on the ways our church has impacted your own faith and life.

Janie Drake

To skip the scriptural introduction on Exodus 16 and jump to Sara’s offering, you can jump to 2:00 minutes.

Gratitude

God has been good to me since the very beginning of my life.  I was born into a loving, caring family, financially stable and in a safe and pleasant place.  The Presbyterian Church was a regular part of our life. I just took the future for granted.

Even during the great depression, I was more blessed than most.  We didn’t have to move from our home. My father didn’t lose his business.  Of course, we had to do with a lot less, but so did everyone else. I even got to go to college; some of my brightest friends did not.

Then came World War II.  The whole world changed and was turned upside down.  Our thoughts for the future were definitely put on hold.

When I first met my future husband, Norman, he had just been drafted into the Army and was making $21.00 a month.  I had to wait until he had gone through Officers’ Candidate School so he would be making a whopping $244.00 monthly.  We were married by my old minister in the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Newark, Ohio.

Fortunately, Norman was stationed in many different places but in this country for the first two years of our marriage.  We were blessed with our 1st baby, a beautiful girl, Barbara, while stationed in Seattle.  When the overseas orders finally came, he wanted me to go to Waco, Texas to be with his mother while he was gone.

When Norman returned safely, another incredible blessing, Texas is where we stayed.  We had no home of our own, no money, no job, no past employment to draw on and a little family to care for.

My wonderful mother-in-law had opened her home to us.  Still it took a long time, almost two years, filled with trials and errors to resolve our situation.  By then we had been blessed with a healthy baby boy, Laurence.

Even with all the blessings I had experienced, I found myself getting depressed.  How could this be? I struggled to understand. I finally realize my faith was starving!

In our unsettled Army life we had not kept in contact with the church.  I desperately needed renewing and support. Help was no farther away than the Waco Presbyterian Church in which Norman had grown up.

In a few more years, still in Waco, with God’s support life was improving.  We were blessed again when baby Robert joined the family.

In 1951, for business reasons, we moved to Austin, Texas and built our own new home there by Shoal Creek.  We joined a small new church, Westminster Presbyterian. The first minister had been a friend of Norman’s at Presbyterian camp years before.  It was the right place for us, our three children and our growing faith. We remember our time there with heart felt gratitude for learning to be part of God’s family and helping others.

When we came to Granville, we were very thankful to join this congregation and continue our Christian Service.

How could I not have deep gratitude to God for my life?  I have a loving close family and unusual health. I live in a safe and caring community with friends.  I have six grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. I have this church to give me support.

My cup is running over with gratitude to God to whom I could never give thanks enough.