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Jan5FriThrough life’s ups and downs, my faith grew stronger. January 5, 2018 by Joan Banfield
My youngest daughter, Jackie, had decided to enrol as a junior soldier. As she knelt to sign her pledge, I knew what I needed to do. I walked up and joined my daughter at the altar.
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After many years away from my faith, I recommitted my life to Christ.
A New Life
I was born and raised in Garnish, N.L. As a young girl, I attended church with my family and loved it. But at 16, I left home to work.
Out on my own, I wandered away from God. I got in with a group of people who didn’t attend church, so I didn’t, either. Wandering away didn’t seem so bad at first, but my life turned in ways it shouldn’t have.
I married and had a daughter, but the marriage didn’t last and I became a single mom. I learned to pray a lot in those days. I’d ask God for the strength just to get through the day.
A few years later, I was living in St. John’s, N.L., where I met a man named Horatio Banfield. We spent time together and grew close. After a few years of dating, we got married and I was blessed with five more children.
In 1969, our family moved to Conception Bay South, N.L. In 1977, someone invited my then-five-year-old daughter, Jackie, to attend church. They picked her up and took her to church, but I felt terrible because I knew I should be going, too. So I started attending as well.
Although I was raised in another denomination, going to an Army church felt right. My mother grew up in The Salvation Army and was a soldier before she married my father, so I had Army roots.
When Jackie was nine, she made the decision to become a junior soldier, and that’s when I chose to rededicate my life to the Lord.
As I knelt at the altar, I felt like a burden was lifted from my shoulders. That day turned my whole life around. It was as if I was given a whole new life when I went back to God.
Heartbreak and Faith
I got involved in many activities at church. I sang in the choir, became a member of the home league and volunteered with community care ministries.
I became a soldier myself in 1984. My mom lived to be a hundred, and it was a wonderful blessing to share our faith and experiences in the Army with one another. Best of all, my mother lived long enough to see her daughter enrol as a senior soldier.
But in 1982, just a year after I recommitted my life to God, my husband passed away after a long battle with cancer. I was just 47 and my three youngest children were still living at home.
It was very difficult, but my church family was supportive.
Four years later, in 1986, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My children were terrified because they’d lost their father to cancer a few years before. But with God’s strength and the support of my family and church friends, I made it through.
My middle son, Terry, was born with special needs and required extra care. He married eventually, but his wife became sick and passed away. Six years ago, he was diagnosed with bone cancer and died peacefully just 10 months later.
I was heartbroken and devastated. I didn’t understand why this had to happen, but later on, I realized that God saw the bigger picture. I’d always worried what would happen to Terry when I was no longer here to help him. Now, instead of worrying, I know he is safe in the arms of Jesus.
Today, I enjoy spending time with my children, 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
I attend weekly prayer meetings and Bible studies, which encourage and uplift me. I have a group of ladies from church who are also widowed, and we go out to dinner and keep one another company.
My life hasn’t been easy, but I’ve been blessed through the storms of life. My faith grew stronger every time something happened to me. I just believed that God would help me—and he did! I kept going to church and serving God the best I could, and he’s helped me through everything.