It all started when I began to pray that God would use me in a very special way. Tim and I lived in Boston, Massachusetts at the time. I was an occupational health nurse in a large company. I also owned my own floral business, the largest supplier of air-dried roses in New England. Tim was the vice president of a video conferencing company. God had been good to us. I should have felt totally fulfilled, but I didn’t.
Several weeks after I began praying to be used, God answered my prayer in an awesome way. One day He impressed me to make dozens and dozens of cookies for no apparent reason, and then He led me to take them to a soup kitchen. When I got there, not only was I needed to help prepare the meal, but the people supplying the food had forgotten to bring any dessert. And there I was with plenty of cookies. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. Suddenly, I felt alive! God had answered my prayer and really used me.
I had been singing and cooking on 3ABN for several years, so I was used to being in front of the camera. But nothing could have prepared me for the shock of being asked to produce a children’s program for 3ABN called Kids’ Time. Producing programs was a whole different ball game! Besides, I had no qualifications for this, other than loving children and Jesus--and wanting to be used. I prayed, “God if You want me to do this, give me ideas, because right now I don’t have a clue about what to do.” Almost immediately, God flooded my mind with enough ideas for forty programs! That night I couldn’t even sleep, my head was so full of possibilities! I claimed Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Immediately, I called 3ABN and accepted the job. I asked about the budget and received the reply, “This is a faith project. There isn’t any budget.” I was told this job was a volunteer position, but was assured that it wouldn’t require more than two weeks a year. When I asked about money to design a new set, I was told there wasn’t any money. After asking three different times, I did get permission to paint the old set, however, and add new carpet. But that was all.
In order to produce Kids’ Time, I began flying back and forth every month between Boston and St. Louis, the closest major airport to 3ABN, paying my own way. That first month my phone bill was over nine hundred dollars! Not only was I volunteering my time, but it was costing me a lot of money! However, that didn’t matter, because I could see God was using me. The miracles were beginning to happen.
One of the greatest miracles occurred when I started painting the background of the seven-panel set for Kids’ Time. I asked for two weeks to do it. I was granted only three days because the set was in the middle of the production studio, and 3ABN could not produce anything while I painted! To give myself a fourth day, I started painting on Sunday, but I soon realized that doing the job myself was impossible within this narrow time frame.
I tried to think of people to help. Who would have my painting style? God kept putting the name of Smitty, my old art teacher, on my mind. But he was eighty years old and lived in San Jose, California! His schedule was usually full because of all the traveling he did, and it would cost a fortune to get talent like his. Impossible! But God kept saying, “Smitty.”
Pictures: The first kids time set with the Kids Time singers.
In desperation, I gave him a call. Believe it or not, he was home! When I explained what I needed and asked him if he would come and help me, he said one word, “sure!” I was shocked that he was willing to volunteer. He left California immediately and was in St. Louis by eight-thirty the next morning. We painted a Bible scene on one side of the set and a nature scene on the other, representing God’s two books, the Bible and nature. For the next two-and-a-half days, we worked frantically, sleeping only a few hours. And we completed the set. Talk about a miracle!
So Kids’ Time began. I soon realized, however, that it wasn’t a two-week-a-year job. It was more like two weeks every month—and soon, it would be full time! As Kids’ Time began to take more and more of my time, and the expenses for my plane tickets mounted, my husband and I made a major decision. I would quit my two jobs in Boston. We would sacrifice the convenience of living close to our two grown daughters and a precious grandson who were in the Boston area, and we would move to Knoxville, Tennessee, which was centrally-located enough for Tim to drive seven hours each Sunday afternoon to commute to his work in Washington, D.C., where he now worked, and I would drive six hours in the opposite direction to 3ABN in southern Illinois.
Each time I leave home and take that six-hour trip, I’m flooded with ideas and enthusiasm. I can hardly contain the joy I feel! God was good to have allowed me to raise my children before He called me to this work, but if He would have called me sooner, I would have accepted. There is no greater joy than serving Jesus!