Words of Encouragement & Hope
Submitted by Nancy Pitt-Wilcox


I was raised in a Christian home with a Free Methodist mother and a Methodist father. I was introduced to the Upper Room at
a very young age and this has been my daily devotion for years.

One of the readings inspired me to try and write a note of encouragement during these difficult times. The scripture highlighted that day, James 1:2, really caught my eye. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds."

I have faced trials of many kinds in my lifetime, in addition to the good times. Today's trying times are challenging to all of us. I am thinking, how could this be considered "pure joy?" However, in James 1:12, it states: God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised,
to those who love him.

At the age of 21, I fell in love with a Mormon boy and God blessed us with two awesome sons, eight years apart. Our boys were raised in the Methodist church. At the young age of 29, my husband suffered a heart attack, followed by another at age 42 and the final one at 53, which took him home. We were married a total of 31 years. His heart issues certainly caused me trials of many kinds. Our youngest son had just graduated from high school when my husband passed.

Thus, I became a widow at age 52, trying to help my youngest son mature into the man his dad would have wanted him to become. It came with some trials, to say the least.

My church was my safe haven which became my second home for
12 years, Loneliness set in even with doing God's work on a daily basis. God saw this, and then sent me a wonderful man to spend the rest of my life with. We married, built a home together in Texas and bought a second home in Surprise, AZ. It was like a fairy tale romance after being a widow for 12 years. I had visions of spending wonderful retirement years together; however God had a different plan.

Into our second year of a 10 year marriage, my husband developed the dreadful disease of Alzheimer's, which progressed very rapidly. Believe me, I gave it my all to take care of him and two houses. The time did come whereby I was in sinking sand, and we were forced into selling the home we built in Texas. I could no longer take care of him and manage two homes. In addition, I needed to be by family to offer support and help. We chose Surprise, as my oldest son resided there. We moved and three short months later, my husband passed.

Those trying times brought me to Shepherd of the Hills Church, seeking comfort after losing my husband, moving away from my Methodist church home of 35 years, leaving my friends and Texas roots behind. I had always been in a Sunday school class and looked forward to meeting people that way, only to find no Sunday school at SHUMC.

However, I did meet Audi Miller, followed by Virginia and Jim Radley, with whom I sat every Sunday. One Sunday the Radleys were not there, so I decided to move to the center aisle for a different view, where I met Toni Tucker. This was an answer to a prayer as I was also seeking to build friendships with single women such as I. Toni was the one who God placed in my path to make this happen. The rest is history.

Toni introduced me to several of her friends and we are the "single girls" who occupy row 7 in the middle pew section of the church. Rev. Lee Hirt definitely notices if any of us are missing on a given Sunday. God directed me to the perfect church to satisfy all my spiritual needs and fellowship. Thank you SHUMC, Audi Miller, the Radleys and Toni Tucker for making this Texas girl feel welcome and loved.

Thought for every day:

You are chosen. You are blessed. You are loved.