Martha’s Trans­for­ma­tion

Good­ness in ac­tion

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Dina El­lens

I first met Martha as she was sit­ting on a bench in the park where I was tak­ing my baby for a walk. My hus­band and I had been mar­ried for two years, and we had just had our first child. Martha was star­ing va­cantly into space and didn’t ac­knowl­edge me when I sat down to tend to my lively eight-month-old boy who al­ready didn’t want to stay put in his stroller.

When she saw him, Martha’s ex­pres­sion came alive, and she smiled at me and the baby. I struck up a con­ver­sa­tion with her, and found out that she was a re­tired nurse and mid­wife. She was slim and pe­tite, and al­though in her 60s, she still wore her hair in shoul­der-length soft waves. She told me how she had never got­ten mar­ried but al­ways loved ba­bies and had de­liv­ered hun­dreds of them.

As we con­tin­ued talk­ing, she ex­plained that she had taken a leave of ab­sence from her work due to long hours and a de­mand­ing sched­ule. Later, I learned that she had ac­tu­ally had a ner­vous break­down, and that as she strug­gled with her re­cov­ery and re­cur­ring de­pres­sion, her tem­po­rary leave of ab­sence had be­come per­ma­nent.

She ex­plained that she en­joyed com­ing to the park be­cause be­ing out in na­ture made her feel at peace. I shared with Martha how Je­sus had once said, “Who­ever fol­lows Me will never walk in dark­ness, but will have the light of life,” and be­fore leav­ing the park that day,

1 Martha prayed to re­ceive Je­sus as her Sav­ior.

From that point on, Martha was a changed crea­ture. She be­gan study­ing the Bi­ble and was soon spend­ing most of her time help­ing oth­ers, while her bouts with de­pres­sion grew fewer and fur­ther apart.

About a year later, Martha showed up at our door with a plas­tic baby bath­tub packed full of items for a new­born. “This is for you,” she said with a know­ing smile. “Con­grat­u­la­tions on be­ing preg­nant again!”

I was dumb­founded. I hadn’t yet told any­one ex­cept my hus­band that I was preg­nant again. But some­how

Martha knew. And she had taken the time to gather a lovely sur­prise present for me and the new lit­tle one on the way.

When the time came, my hus­band and I were over­joyed at the ad­di­tion of a healthy baby boy to our fam­ily. Af­ter the de­liv­ery, how­ever, some com­pli­ca­tions set in and I de­vel­oped an in­fec­tion and fever. For­tu­nately, it didn’t af­fect my new­born, so he could stay in my bed­room with me, while my hus­band cared for our older son. I wasn’t alone, though: When Martha heard about my con­di­tion, she im­me­di­ately packed a bag and moved into my sick­room with me.

For the next two weeks, she was at my side day and night, car­ing for me con­stantly. Af­ter I’d fin­ish nurs­ing, she’d take the baby from my side, change his di­a­per, and put him to sleep in his bed. Martha pre­pared nour­ish­ing meals that helped build up my strength, and grad­u­ally the fever and in­fec­tion be­gan to sub­side. Through it all, Martha was a pil­lar of com­fort and en­cour­age­ment, talk­ing with me, read­ing to me, and pray­ing for me.

Martha con­tin­ued to be a fre­quent vis­i­tor to our home, un­til one day she came with some se­ri­ous news. She had been di­ag­nosed with can­cer and needed to en­ter the hos­pi­tal right away. In spite of all that the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion could do, Martha passed away calmly and peace­fully not long af­ter.

One of Martha’s fa­vorite Bi­ble verses was: “The path of the right­eous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter un­til full day.” Martha had found

2 her Sav­ior, and from that mo­ment on, the light of His love had shone ever brighter in her life and had in­spired her to be­come more like Him. Dina El­lens taught school in South­east Asia for over 25 years. Al­though re­tired, she re­mains ac­tive in vol­un­teer work as well as pur­su­ing her in­ter­est in writ­ing.

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