Donna Williams

When life throws you a curveball, what do you do with it?  We all have plans and dreams for our life, a direction we hope to follow.  There have been two times in my life when the direction, along with life’s dreams and plans changed dramatically.  Sometimes the baseball player will struggle with that curveball coming at him but with time he learns what to do with it.

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I was raised in a Christian home, in a small Oklahoma town.  I always knew that Sunday morning and evening meant church.  My home church was not of the Baptist faith.  I remember that the overall church message was not positive, a lot of ‘don’t do this and don’t do that’.  Thanks to loving parents and grandparents, I knew how to love fully, to trust and to have faith in my God. 

That first curveball came in my twenties, a diagnosis of a chronic illness, just after four years of marriage to a wonderful man and a 3 week old newborn son .  Thanks to a loving, understanding and helpful husband and faith in my God, I continued to trust that I would make it through all of the pain and complications that followed.  We found a church home at Manor Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas.   At this point, we were far from our own families, so the open arms we found there with loving and caring friends, we were able to cope with all of our struggles, to be fully immersed in church and to be open to and try to understand God’s plan for us.  

The second of those curveballs came years later with another diagnosis, but this time it was my husband’s descent into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  He was just 50, so it just wasn’t fair that the curveball of life was doing this to us, especially to a man so loving and giving to all.  Again, we were far from family and had just moved to another city where we had not established a church home.  But God moves right along with his followers.  I knew this but at first I thought maybe God had not come along as we moved. Thankfully, those feelings of abandonment were soon dashed.  I cannot fully explain where, when and how,  but I began to feel  the peace that God would take care of us, even if it meant  that my husband would be taken from me.  I knew that he would be whole again in mind and body when he was taken to Heaven.  I am sure that I could not have survived the years of his illness and then his death without my faith.  During this time, I was unable to attend church but I found comfort in listening to his word through music.  I heard his promises in very powerful messages in song, keeping my faith strong and helping me to keep on going.

So this brings me to Broadway Baptist Church, thanks to an invitation to visit Broadway from long-time friends, Tina and Tom Burress. I found a place where everyone can have their own thoughts and beliefs but still be loving, caring and respectful of each other; a place where I’ve been accepted for who I am and what I am able to do. To worship in the beautiful sanctuary on Sunday mornings helps with the grace and peace that God brings my way as I move through the rest of my life, hoping that the curveballs have come to an end but knowing that if there are more, that I’ll have my faith to help me through and a Broadway family to walk along beside me.

I came across this poem shortly after my husband’s death.  

When you are lonely, I wish you Love
When you are down, I wish you Joy
When things get complicated, I wish you Faith
When things look empty, I wish you Hope.