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Linda Beck: Heaven is my goal

“You don’t go to heaven because of your relationship with the church; you go to heaven because of your relationship with Christ.”

My stepsister, Ethel, convinced my mother to allow her to take me and my siblings to Yadkin Baptist Church. My mother had married her father when I was only seven years old. Going to church became the highlight of my life and remained so until I got married at age 17.

We moved to Indiana and lived way out in the country during our time there. During the 27 years that we were married, we went to several different churches off and on. I had accepted Christ when I was a teenager but after our marriage, I began having health problems, and church became a “hit and miss” part of our lives.

I was in and out of different hospitals and nearly died in 1976 from a staph infection. We had two little girls and I prayed and begged God to heal me and allow me to raise those girls. (I’ve told some of this story before and the girls are now 48 and 43 years old; so you can see how God answered that prayer even though I was not involved in church during that time.)

When my husband died in 1993, my brother, Michael Koontz, started taking me to Enon Baptist Church where he was serving as the minister of music. I moved my membership from my childhood church and started reading the Bible. I became involved in church activities for the following nine years.

Then in 2002 I had a major multiple sclerosis exacerbation and was not physically able to go to church for a very long time. Then when I started driving again, I visited several churches but I was unable to decide on a permanent church home.

I had read the Bible through several times and many books written by Christian authors. Recently, when I was reviewing some of my notes for possible stories, I came across some interesting quotes though I do not know who the authors were.

The opening quotation in this article sums it up as I believe it: “the church is the body of Christ, the household of faith, the family of God…to fellowship, witness, and worship.”

I found one other quote that speaks to my heart every time I read it. During my hospital visit in August 2016, I knew I had to face another attempt to recover and this note sums that up: “The task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you.” God is showing his power to heal as I write this article.

Linda Beck lives in Woodleaf.

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