Caroline Swithinbank's Surprising Twist

I had just turned six when I first met Caroline Swithinbank. She came to the United States from England at the age of nineteen, to serve as a mother’s helper for the six children (of which I was the oldest!) in our family. Caroline has faithfully served the Lord and many others over the years. Recently she sent me the following reflections on the journey she has been on with the Lord. What a sweet reminder that His plans for us are all and only good! May her story encourage you as you pour yourself out in service for the King and trust Him with your unfulfilled longings.

In my mid-sixties, the Lord increasingly impressed Jeremiah 29:11 on my heart. As a lifelong single woman, my joy was in my professions—laboring in the Mustard Seed Christian bookstores and helping families raise their children. I felt God’s blessing in both occupations. I had the benefit of sitting under great preaching, Sunday school classes, mission conferences, and small-group Bible studies. I was happy . . . but still, in the recesses of my mind, I wondered: Didn’t God have someone—just one man—for me?

But life goes on. In 1999, I returned to England to care for my mother who had cancer. In spite of a one-year prognosis, she lived many more wonderful years during which we enjoyed a tranquil life together. While in England I participated in a local struggling Baptist church teaching Sunday School, ferrying “the oldies” to services and doctor’s appointments, etc. Very fulfilling, but still . . .

Then things became more challenging. After thirteen years, my mother quickly declined and in 2011 went to be with her Savior. My one surviving brother was hours away in Wales dealing with his wife’s diagnosis of breast cancer, so I had to tie up everything myself: executing the will, preparing the house to sell, and actually selling it. I had decided years ago that after my mother’s passing I would return to Pennsylvania, so I had to determine what treasures to jettison and which to pack.

While packing one day, Bruce—with whom I had been frequently corresponding—called from America. This was a man I’d known for thirty-eight years. We’d shared many experiences in the past, and I felt a unique spiritual and interpersonal kinship with him. He loved the Lord—and apparently me, too—because during this call he proposed marriage! I did what any sixty-seven-year-old-never-been-married-woman would do. I said, “Yes, yes. I accept, but I’m much too busy right now to think about it. We’ll talk later.” Little did I know how much busier I would get.

My mother died in August. I moved from England to Pennsylvania the following March. I broke my back in April. And in May, I got only a seven-hour reprieve from the rehab unit to get married, processing down the aisle of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in a wheelchair. (Don’t even ask about the honeymoon!)

Yes, the Lord knew His plans for me, and He does indeed want us to prosper—but in His timing and for His glory, with or without a spouse. My fundamental joy, contentment, and satisfaction in life reside in doing God’s will. I thank God for my husband, but he cannot bring me the ultimate sense of transcendent wellbeing that submitting to God does. I want to say with Paul that I am content in all circumstances and trust that He always has plans to prosper us—and not to harm us—to give us a hope and a future.

No matter your particular circumstances, be prepared for God to surprise you, too!

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About the Author

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored nineteen books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), and Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. Her books have sold more than three million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

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