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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: The Summer of 1972
By Shari Spinler


The Summer of 1972

In the summer of ’72, my oldest brother, Terry, died. Death is not easy at anytime, but especially when it is someone in the prime of his life. I found that God was to work it out for good.

Terry joined the Marines in 1968 when I was eight years old. When he graduated from boot camp, my parents, my two brothers, my sister, and I drove from New York to Paris Island, South Carolina to see the ceremony. We were so proud of him as he marched in front of the viewing stands with his fellow soldiers.

After more training in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he was on his way to Vietnam and we missed his terribly. We prayed believing that God would take care of him. We received letters and wrote back to him. After surviving his tour of duty in Vietnam, he returned to the states where he was stationed in Washington, D.C. and he met Rhonda.

One day in February, he called home and said that he and Rhonda had gotten married. A little disappointed that we weren’t there to see the ceremony, we were still happy for them and started to plan a trip to go down and see them. We had a wonderful visit and were pleased with our new sister and daughter-in-law.

But, later that year, in August, when the summer flowers were in bloom and children were enjoying their vacation from school, swimming and playing ball, we received a phone call that Terry’s service revolver accidentally discharged into his abdomen and he was in the hospital in critical condition. My parents rushed down to D.C., but they didn’t make it before he took his last breath.

We grieved deeply as one would a beloved brother and son. It made no sense to us why God would take him from us. Many years later, Rhonda told me that she was not living for the Lord as she should have been when Terry died; however, his death drew her to God for comfort. She began to pray more. She prayed for us.

As I grew into my twenties, Rhonda noticed that I didn’t have a boyfriend and she asked why? I avoided the issue for months, but finally confessed that I was gay. Over the next eight years, she and my mother faithfully prayed for me.

My life became unmanageable and in 1990, I was at the bottom of the pit with no where else to go. I was using alcohol and marijuana trying to escape the pain of childhood sexual abuse and I feared I was going to flunk out of college. Through the Christian television show “Hour of Power” with Robert Schuler, and a counselor I went to see, God was drawing me to Himself. Then He told me I didn’t have to be gay or use drugs and alcohol.

I began a new life of going to church and reading my Bible. I even moved to Northern Virginia to live with Rhonda and attended a ministry called Exodus International that helps people who struggle with same-sex-attraction.

As I grew in the Lord and received healing of memories and emotions, I realized that God used Terry’s death for good in that his wife prayed for me and is perhaps the reason I have a wonderful testimony now to share with others. My life as a wife and mother is busy, but fulfilling and I wouldn’t want it any other way. One of my favorite Bible verses is Roman 8:28, which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (NKJV).”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 07/16/09
Thanks for your courage in sharing a swirl of pain and the hope that's growing out through it. Rom 8:28 for sure.
Yvonne Osborne 07/17/09
What a beautiful testimony to come out of such tragedy. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways, but His paths are always straight and lead us home. I just praise and thank the Lord for the work He has done in your life and for your gift to express it so honestly and clearly. Thank you for sharing your pain and triumph and may the Lord continue to bless you and yours always.