Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
Romans 11 :33-36 NLT
Beginnings and endings, starts and finishes, twists and turns and even turn-arounds. That’s life, isn’t it? And that was true for me in those two years at the University of Arizona. Lots of twists and turns:
East Coast to the desert Southwest
Roman Catholic to Evangelical Protestant ( the entire time a true believer; a Christian no matter the church)
Student nun (“novice”) to a single college student, and eventually engaged to be married
Each of these changes have produced multiple stories. But since these “stones” (as my brother Conrad calls them) are describing my spiritual journey, I will stay focused. Back to Tucson and the University of Arizona …
As a new student at the U of Arizona, I first met John Loyd (my future husband) on a “blind date.” John’s roommate Sam and his girlfriend Kathy, both involved with the campus ministry, set up the date, hoping that John would begin to “grow” if he got to meet a “nice Christian girl.”
But John & I didn’t hit it off. He was too quiet, and all I wanted to talk about was Jesus. It wasn’t until later that we all came to realize John wasn’t a true believer. He had merely gone through the motions of praying to “receive Christ” in response to Sam’s evangelistic zeal. But John & I remained casual friends. We spent lots of time together as part of a larger group of friends connected with Campus Crusade.
Eventually, John truly came to the Lord and everything changed. We sensed God drawing us together during our senior year. And so in April 1971 we became engaged to be married. And after graduating from the U. of A. (John in mechanical engineering and myself in elementary education), I returned to NJ to prepare for a wedding.
On November 27, 1971, at First Baptist Church in Metuchen, New Jersey, we became Mr and Mrs John Loyd. John had already started working as a mechanical engineer for Westinghouse in McKeesport, PA (near Pittsburgh, PA). So that is where we made our first home. We settled in to married life and became members of the First Evangelical Free Church there in McKeesport. We made friends (one couple is still our treasured friends even today) and got involved in church ministries.
We were happy, but there was something missing in our spiritual walk. After two years there in Western PA, we sensed God opening the way for us to dig deeper in the Word by attending Moody Bible Institute. So in the fall of 1973, off we went to Chicago to the prestigious Bible school founded by the famed evangelist D.L.Moody.
Oh what glory, sitting under godly men and women who knew the Lord and His Word and were skilled in passing Truth on to us in class after class. John and I both majored in Bible-Theology, so we were saturated in the Scriptures and in theological truth of God and the Christian life.
It was in those theology and Bible classes that I grew in my love for and knowledge of God’s Word, His Will, and His Sovereign Person. One of the first classes I took was “The Spiritual Life” with Dr Warren Wiersbe, who at that time was senior pastor at Moody Church. I’ll never forget the illustrations Dr. Wiersbe used to explain Scriptural truth.
Another favorite theology prof, Dr Marvin Mayer, inspired me with his devotional heart as he led us in his favorite hymns of the faith at the beginning of each class. It was Dr M’s systematic approach to teaching the great truths of the theology of God, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit that grabbed my heart and challenged my mind.
In addition to our incredible professors and classes, we were privileged to have such great men and women of God as John MacArthur, Corie ten Boom, Stephen Olford, Louis Palau, Joni Eareckson, and even Billy Graham (who just happened to be in Chicago at the time) come as special speakers in our chapels.
It was through this special place and these special people that the Lord grounded me deep in His Word and firm in my belief in the Sovereign God Who rules over all, Whose divine decrees are unchangeable, and Who is the faithful Lord of my life.
In later years, I would adopt a “mantra” of sorts … “Resting in the Sovereignty of God.” And I would teach a class on the Names of God in the Old Testament multiple times. Eventually, I developed it to include how our Lord Jesus in the New Testament displayed each of the Names. Knowing and understanding the Person and plan of God stabilized and strengthened my faith in God and His Will in my life.
O Sovereign Lord, thank you for Moody Bible Institute.
Thank you for your children who spoke and taught and loved me, their student, during my unique time there. You used it all to transform my soul and make me even more convinced that You are Lord of All, and You are Lord of me!
Would you refresh and renew that exciting understanding of Your faithful Love and sovereign Grace?
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Great is Thy Faithfulness was a favorite hymn of the school. Whenever I hear it or sing it, I am immediately transported to those meaningful days at Moody Bible Institute:
**For a glimpse at our now 48 years of marriage, take a look at this anniversary blog. You may get a chuckle or two ;)
Before starting your own remembering stones, be sure to read the introduction to this series:
Remembering Stones: Reflecting on a Life Being Lived. This will help you with perspective.
Also to get caught up with the series, see:
Stone #1: The Will of God
Stone #2: The Holy Spirit
Stone #3: The Holy Scriptures
Stone #4: The Gospel of Grace
What about you, dear reader? What are your earliest memories? Was there a significant person, place, truth that impacted you in your early years? What were your “stepping stones/remembering stones”? This doesn’t have to be set in concrete. You may likely change around your order and even delete/add as you go along. Just jot down your “now thoughts.”
And jot down even the hard things that happened in your life. You can then process them with the Lord. Watch how He takes those struggles and trials, as time goes on, and “filters” them into the truths about Himself and about your life that you can build upon.
Just start writing or journaling your thoughts — no need to write it up formally. I had started out with “Topics” and descriptions long before I started writing it up formally.
Happy reminiscing, recording, and writing!
And a shameless plug: The with-ness of our God ( Kirkus Review)