I would like to thank my dear friend and guest author Ginny Dent today for sharing with us. Ginny is a singer, speaker and writer. Her latest book is "Finding True Freedom:From the White House to the World". It is a dynamite book and tells much of her story and that of her father Harry Dent who was on Nixon's staff when Watergate occurred. Let me encourage you to read it if you haven't already. But today, Ginny is sharing with us on the above topic "Who Encouraged and Helped Shape You?" Thank you, Ginny for taking the time to share with us! Let's read what Ginny has to share!
I was sixteen when I came to the end of myself and realized I needed a Savior to save me and guide me. I began to grow in ways my parents did not understand. I knew God wanted me to learn the Bible and integrate its teachings and wisdom into my everyday life. That journey took me to Wheaton College which was 1000 miles from home.
I was blessed to have a supportive family who raised me with morals and bathed me in love, but in my spiritual journey I felt like a child without a home. God graciously provided me spiritual parents when I ventured out in my move to Wheaton College. Alden and Joan Nickerson were the spiritual parents I needed at that time for the journey. Their home was open to me at any time for food, shelter, conversation, and advice. They had both grown up without fathers and were determined to be good role models for their own children. Unfortunately, they were not able to have children. When they learned their greatest desire would not be a reality, they simply looked to God and said, “Then what would you have us to do?”
In the midst of their pain, they began looking for avenues of service. This led them into being foster parents for many children. Each year they also began adopting Wheaton College students who were far from home. I was one of those students. The Nickersons went well beyond the call of duty and became spiritual parents to over thirty students who needed support and guidance. They prayed for us, advised us, and met our physical needs as well. When my own parents tasted of the Living Water and grew in the Christian faith, they wrote the Nickersons and thanked them for being there for me when I needed it the most. The Nickersons are still a part of my circle of family and close friends today.
Five years ago I flew to Chicago to be a part of Alden Nickerson’s (known affectionately to all of us as Mr. Nick) seventy-fifth birthday celebration. It was a joyous, yet sad occasion. Twenty-six of Mr. Nick’s spiritual children had joined me for this special occasion to honor and celebrate his life and his gifts. The missing piece of our celebration was Joan Nickerson who had been placed nearby in an Alzheimer’s unit. After our roasting and toasting of Mr. Nick, a few of us went to visit her. It was amazing to me that she knew who we were—probably because she had prayed for all of us for so many years. If we started an old hymn or passage from the Bible, she loved finishing it. Then the next minute her cloudy gaze let us know her thoughts were elsewhere. And such is the disease of Alzheimer’s.
Alden and Joan Nickerson are just a few of the mentors that God has brought into my life to shape me and mold me into His Image. Now it is my turn to pay back and serve as a role model and mentors for others. As the well-known song “Thank You” says, “Thank you for giving to the Lord, I was a life that was changed.”
Thank you so much, Ginny. I know that you are busy but you did not hesitate when I asked you to tell us about who encouraged and shaped you. That's just the kind of witness and friend that you are. God bless you as you travel around the country promoting your book. May many lives be changed because of your transparency and willingness to share. If you haven't read Ginny's book yet, you are missing a blessing. I believe this book is going to be a best seller in the coming months and God will continue to use Ginny as a vessel to let His miraculous power flow through.