'I learnt to walk at age 10. I was very pleased!'

Moira’s story | God’s strength in me

“I grew up in Rhodesia, which is Zimbabwe now. We had four different types of mango trees and I climbed all of them and ate the mangos as soon as they were ripe. We were Celtic by background and we always went to the Methodist church. Mum insisted that we go. That’s where I heard about Jesus. I still have a very strong faith in Jesus!

I was a very sick child. I lay in bed with rheumatic fever for five years, until I was ten years old. I had no pillow, just a blanket. It was very hot in Rhodesia. During that time, my mother taught me to read and my father taught me arithmetic. When I was finally allowed out of bed, I learnt to walk near my mother’s sweet pea bed, holding on to the wire fence. She said, ‘Put one foot in front of the other.’ That’s what I did. It took me about a week and I learnt to walk! I was very pleased … and I learnt that I had to be strong and determined in my life.

I’ve been learning that for 87 years now! I got married to the first man I ever met – Cedric. I loved him dearly and he loved me. We had two sons. Our eldest was nearly blown up in the Rhodesian war. His vehicle hit three landmines and he lost his left heel and suffered back pain. Thank God he survived. Our youngest joined the SAS and got his parachute wings. He also survived, but so many young men died in the war.

My doctor gave me three months to live a year ago. He’s given me three months to live three times now!

We moved from Rhodesia to Botswana. By then, Cedric was working on the railways as a fitter and turner. There were troubles in Botswana also. One day we had a bullet in the car. But we survived. We saw God’s hand in everything. We came to Canberra in 1995.

Cedric passed away eight years ago. I remember the phone call saying he’d collapsed and was in a coma at the hospital. I held him and I kissed him goodbye. We were married for 67 years and he was the love of my life.

Now I have brain cancer and lung cancer. I have seven tumours in my head. At the end of last year, I came to this nursing home in Oberon. I knew I couldn’t cope at home anymore. The first week I was here, I had a panic attack. I was finding it very hard. But a male staff member came and talked me out of it. He could see that I had a faith in God. I wonder, how did he know?

It’s not my strength. It’s God’s strength!

But since I’ve been in this nursing home, I’ve been happier. All the staff are very kind to me and I have my favourites. My doctor gave me three months to live a year ago. He’s given me three months to live three times now! The last time I saw him, he said, ‘Moira, you’re a tough old bird.’

I said, ‘You don’t know the half of it!’

But I was very cross with God last night. I was awake from 2am to 6am, with restless legs. I said to God, ‘Why aren’t you helping me? I’m battling, tired and sore.’ I know it was self-pity. But when I woke up in the morning, I prayed and thanked God for another day. I’ve always liked to sing, ‘All things bright and beautiful.’ I don’t sing it just when life is good. I sing it when life is very hard. It reminds me that God made everything and I can make the most of each day.

I don’t have a favourite Bible verse; I like them all! I know that God keeps working in the world, and in our lives, in mysterious ways. I also know that throughout my life, my strength has come from God, not from me. It’s not my strength. It’s God’s strength! I thank him for that!”

Moira’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

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