'Beloved' excerpt

One phone call can change a life forever!

It was December 8th, 2017. Ian, myself, and eight of our eleven children were saying our goodbyes to Ian’s mum. We had been to our annual home–school conference in Melbourne and then onto Kaniva to visit with his mum. Each year the children play their instruments in a concert with their grandma for the Senior Citizens Christmas Party.

As we were saying our goodbyes, one of the children made a suggestion. ‘Mum why don’t you and Dad travel home together in the crewman, just the two of you. Paul can drive the F250 and I can drive the Honda.’

We had travelled in three separate vehicles as Ian and the guys had been working away in two different places during the week previous.

One of the younger sons chimed in, ‘Yeah Mum, Dad, then you can be together on the way home.’

Ian and I looked at each other and smiled. No one had to twist our arms. Ian had been away all week and to travel the eight to nine hours together without children was a real treat. However, none of us knew just then how special that would be.

As we travelled we were able to chat freely without the interruption of one child or another, one saying they were hungry or one wanting the music louder. After going through Deniliquin we were now passing the large sheep property where Ian had worked some 15–20 years earlier. He was employed as their accountant and company secretary, not that he was a qualified accountant. I looked past the paddock to the line of trees, trying to locate the tallest one. Yes, there it was. Just behind that tree was the house we had lived in.

I pointed in that direction, ‘I wonder if there’s anyone living there?’ Ian shrugged. ‘Don’t know. It’d be nice to see what it’s like now though.’

‘I wonder if we could do that sometime. Would Robyn still be working in the office?’

‘Not sure, but apparently she was, last I heard, which was a year or two ago.’ I was drawn back in time as memories of our life in this place we were now just passing through, played one by one before me. Perhaps Ian too was reminiscing.

Ian was listening to the cricket, so I decided to catch up on my reading of Psalms. The first verse in chapter 34 particularly caught my attention: ‘I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ I stopped reading and gazed out the window, but my focus was on nothing organic.

Bless the Lord at all times? … at all times? No matter what? Praise Him continually? What a tall order, what a challenge! However, deep within my heart came, That is what I want to do. That is who I want to be.

Quietly I prayed, ‘Lord I want this verse to be real to me, I want these words to be mine – that I would bless You at all times and my mouth would continually praise You.’

Then, came the next afternoon …

‘Hello, Julie Willersdorf speaking.’ It was my usual response to answering the phone.

However, I wasn’t prepared for my son’s reply. His voice, strained and urgent coming through the phone, vibrated through my ear, and into my whole being. I knew something was wrong. ‘Something’s happened to Dad. You . . . you better pray.'

* * * * *

When your whole world is rocked, your dearest love gone, and you are being torn apart, how do you begin to put the pieces of your life back together? Whether you believe in God or not, the answer is to be found in Him. This is uncovered in the story Julie tells when her husband of 34 years suddenly collapses and dies. As she bares her heart, you see a grieving, hurting soul, sometimes drowning in the storm, sometimes angry at the storm, and sometimes feeling so alone. But as she turns to Jesus, the Deliverer, she experiences the gentle touch of His voice, quieting the storm, and turning her sorrow into joy. If you want the answers to the storms of life which come your way, whatever they may be, this book is a must read.

Julie lives on a small property in country NSW. She is the mother to eleven children—five, nearly six married—and grandmother to 20 grandchildren. Family is important to her and she enjoys it when they can all be together. She also enjoys writing, sketching (especially portraits) and seeking the truth. Her book, Beloved, was written through knowing the One who is the Truth.

Beloved by Julie Willersdorf is available 26 July 2021. Order your copy today.

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