For a while everything else, though, seemed wonderful. Our lives were filled with benefits and private planes, wonderful trips, lots of love. It was truly a lifestyle that I’d only read about in romance novels. But after several years on the racecar circuit, I was sort of ready to settle down. When I asked him about maybe giving up racing, at the very top of his career, he said, “Sure, someday, but not now.” When I asked him about having children, I got the same answer. When I asked him about going to church, he said, “On my golf day?” And when I asked him to at least come home at six o’clock in the evenings so we could sit down and have dinner together, he reminded me how lucky I was to have him. Well! I thought I had done the big favor in this marriage. I had quit show business. I had moved to Oklahoma City. I’m sure that people that looked at our lives must have just thought we had everything. But neither one of us were very happy. And I sure recognized the signs of a marriage in trouble because I had been there before.
But there was a family in Oklahoma City that befriended me, the Hartzog family. While Roy was off playing golf or when he was on a racing trip, the Hartzog’s along with their 7 children came by and picked me up and took me to church with them. So it was Gretchen that I turned to now and I just cried on her shoulder for hours. And she listened to me and she finally asked me that question that that young man had asked so many years before. She said, “Margolyn, have you ever thought about making Jesus Christ a part of your life?” She went on to explain that to truly be a child of God, I had to take that first step. I had to ask Jesus Christ to come in and be a part of my life.
And you know what? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing because although my life probably didn’t reflect it at that time, I thought I was a Christian. I’d grown up in the church. We were in those church doors every time the doors were open. I sang in a choir. I was part of a youth group. But until that day, I had never heard that to truly be a child of God, to truly know that my destiny would be eternity with Him, I had to take that first step and ask Jesus Christ to come in and be a part of my life. And then she asked me right there, “Margolyn, do you want to pray a prayer with me today and ask Jesus to come in?” Well, my life wasn’t working out very well with me in charge. So, I did. I prayed a prayer with her that day. A prayer that went something like this: “Dear Lord, I need you. I thank you for dying for me. I open that door of my life and ask you to come in as my Savior, as my Lord. Thank you for forgiving me and thank you for your incredible gift of eternal life with You. And now please make me into the kind of woman that you would have me be.”
And I know it’s different for everyone but for me it was sort of like this light came on in my life. Proverbs 1: 22 says, “Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you and I will make my words known to you.” I know knew why I was always searching for things to make me happy. I had depended on money and accolades and husbands to fill a void in my
life. A void that only Jesus Christ could fill, but I didn’t know that before. And you know what, I know so many people who are just like me. They don’t say exactly the same things, but they say things like, “Oh, when we get all our kids out of college” or “when we get to buy that house” or “when we get to go on that vacation”. And they’re doing the same thing. They’re holding happiness out here, thinking those things, those times, those vacations, that’s going to bring them happiness. And you know what, they’re missing it. They’re totally missing it because true happiness and true peace comes from having that void filled with Jesus Christ and having Him be there for the good times and the bad times.
I’ve really learned this last year especially that true happiness and true peace is not the absence of trials, it’s the presence of God. I feel really lucky because I’ve been given some of those things that people really think are going to be true happiness. And they are happiness for a short time but none of them are lasting happiness. I know now that I need the Lord to be in the center of my life because He has a plan and purpose for my life, just as He has for each and every person in this room. And simply by asking Him into your life, you have this incredible promise of eternal life with Him.
Well, I’ve heard of the term ‘unequally yoked’ and as I got closer to the Lord through fellowship with other Christians, bible study, prayer, and my church family, Roy moved further and further away from me. Until finally, because of infidelity, I felt like I had to leave this marriage. I didn’t want to stay in Oklahoma. I sure didn’t want to go back to California. So I moved to Colorado where, with the help of friends, I started to put my life back together.
I felt like such a failure. I felt like I’d been given what most people only dream about in their lives and it hadn’t been enough for me. I used to go to bed with a real ache in my heart and I think the only comfort seemed to come from prayer. I used to pray every night that Roy might find the peace and the love that I’d found knowing Jesus Christ. And I prayed that God might deliver Roy from his worldly ways and I used to pray that he’d be surrounded by Christians. But I never once prayed that he’d be given back to me because the pain was just too deep. And perhaps, unless you’ve gone through infidelity, you may not be aware of the incredible pain that that can evoke.
I was also very angry. But a new friend in this new church came up to me one day and she said, “Margolyn, I hear your anger and I just wonder, have you thought about giving it over to God? Because I’m worried that maybe the anger you’re holding on to, and it’s so evident right now, might be in the way of something God has in mind for you down the road.” I want you to know that I felt very justified in holding on to that anger. It was very hard for me to want to pray to God, asking to take that away. But I also had this new desire in my heart and that was to please God. That was stronger than wanting to hold on to that anger. So I did. I prayed a prayer with that lady that day asking that God would change my heart towards my husband. It’s true, I think, that time does help to heal our hurts. New friends and a busy new life help to diminish much of that pain.
Over about a year later, there was a knock at my door, suitcase in hand, and it was Roy. He wanted to start over. Well, the divorce had gone through but I let him move right back in for a while. Things were pretty good for a short time. I thought we had a really good chance of working things out. We were starting fresh. We were in a new town. I was beginning to trust him again. But the world’s fastlane still had a hold of Roy and I came home to a note one day that said he’d left. And I was shattered because a month later I realized that I was pregnant. I had wanted children all of my life and now I found myself 31 years old, single with 2 marriages behind me, and pregnant. And I was devastated. All I could think about was, “What have I done? What was I going to do? Who could I even tell?” I think for the first couple of months that I simply felt sorry for myself.
Then, I think God put on my heart that I was carrying a baby because I started looking at every baby’s face and wondering if my little baby was a girl or boy, if my baby was healthy. I remember going for a check-up and walking into that waiting room with all those happy, expecting moms. I just wanted to turn around and leave. But I didn’t. Instead I filled out forms that labeled me a single mom. My emotions were really on edge when I went into that doctor’s office. And when he examined me and announced that there was a healthy baby growing inside of me, the tears just flowed. I finally got back down on those knees and asked for forgiveness and asked that God would stay really close to me while I had this baby.
I sold my home and I moved to Maui, Hawaii, where Roy and I shared a condo in the divorce, to have the baby. God is so good. That very first Sunday, a new friend Wanda Phillips invited me to Hope Chapel. I remember walking in their front doors, with the Cochels standing there handing out the programs. Everybody was so warm and so welcoming and I was hurting so bad and so lonely. And I thought about that last week as I walked in the doors of this church and saw so many people I didn’t know and saw so many people come up to me. They knew I was new and they welcomed me and they were caring and they were thoughtful. And I commend you as a church for that because you never now who’s coming in that door and who’s hurting and who really needs someone to love them. And my kids felt that too last week. They went to the youth group and they came back and said, “Mom, everybody talked to us!” That’s wonderful! You just never know. It might be a kid that needs that touch and I commend you.
Well, in the program of that bulletin that morning in Hope Chapel, there was an announcement of a childbirth class starting that week. So, I mustered up the courage and I showed up at this home where all of these happy expecting parents were gathered to share in a childbirth class. As they went around the room and they shared with each other their names and why they were taking the childbirth class, I heard names like Kathy and Craig Englert, Jason and Tony Spence, Pat and Kevin Seer, Natalie and Tim Fitzgerald. When it finally got to me, I just broke down and told these perfect strangers my entire life story. And today I am so thankful for that group of Christian husbands and wives who literally put their arms around me and helped me through a very difficult time. They were true friends. They reached out to me. They included me in bible studies. They took me to birthday parties and they prayed with me.
After a few months, there was another knock at my door. It was Roy, suitcase in hand, and he was wanting to start over again. This time, he had worked through some worldly problems and he truly was ready to start over. And boy, he started attending church with me. He started attending those childbirth classes and, boy, were those Christian husbands ready for him. This is my favorite part of my husband’s testimony because he shares that he began to see that these men had a high in their lives without drugs and expensive toys. He began to have a great respect for their lifestyle and for the way they treated their wives.