God’s Purpose for Mary

On a November day almost three years ago, Mary C. pulled the trigger of a 12-gauge shotgun. Mary planned to end her life, but God had other plans—and he used a Today devotional to help change Mary’s life.

Mary was in a downward spiral. She was struggling with a painful back ailment. Several people close to her had died. When her uncle, who had been like a father to her, also died, her despair became overwhelming.

One night, when no one else was home, Mary called 911. She told the operator, “I’m fixing to shoot myself.” Then, with the operator still on the line, she picked up a gun, aimed it at her leg, and shot herself. Because she was taking blood-thinner medication, she thought she would quickly bleed to death before help arrived.

But help came to Mary in more than one way. After two years of rehabilitation in hospitals, mental institutions, and nursing homes, she returned home. But her husband and three children didn’t know how to relate to her.

Teetering again on the edge of depression, Mary found in her purse a copy of the November 2005 Today devotional, published by The Back to God Hour.

“I have no idea how it got there or where it came from,” Mary said. But that little booklet changed her life.

“I read that same booklet over and over every day since then. It helped me get on the right track with God and helped keep me strong. Without the encouragement I am getting [through the Today], I would have been back in a nursing home or mental hospital or worse.”

Mary still deals with the after-effects of attempted suicide, but God is using her to help others. “One night I prayed the little prayer at the end of the devotions,” she recalled, “that God would tell me what he wanted from me and give me the strength to do it.”

The next day Mary heard her dog barking at an intruder in her back yard. There Mary saw a young woman who was obviously drunk. Mary and her husband took the woman into their home, talked with her, waited while she sobered up, and held her while she cried.

“She was like a little kid having a nightmare. She kept saying she wanted to kill herself. We kept telling her God loved her. She told us her momma had never once hugged her.”

Mary believes God answered her prayer. “I wondered why God kept me on this earth. Maybe it was to save that one young lady. I would never have been able to help her if it hadn’t been for reading the Today and getting strength from God through it.”

Mary called The Back to God Hour to thank those who make the Today devotional possible. Thanks to your support of this ministry, Mary is now receiving Today devotionals by subscription.

About the Author

Nancy Vander Meer is a staff writer with Back to God Ministries International in Grand Rapids, Mich.
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