I don’t believe in happenstance; I think everything good that happens in our lives is providence from God,” says Ida Lee (Beard) Hodge. Recently an accidental reconnecting with an old friend from her past positively influenced her decision to be rebaptized.
Back in the late 1970s, she and her friend, Dana (Saylors) Moody, were members of the Hansville Church, where their children attended church school. Hodge was attending Wallace Junior College, taking prerequisite classes to enter a medical program. When she graduated and went on to a four-year college, they lost touch.
Hodge’s life went in a different direction. In pursuing her career, she ended up in Washington State. She had quit going to church, and her children were in public school. She was consumed with a new life, one that was not pleasing to God. However, she still considered herself an Adventist.
“My work made me feel needed because I helped my patients feel better,” Hodge says. But, there was an emptiness inside her that she could not explain. She prayed for a reconnection with God, but felt her prayers never reached the ceiling. At one time she was so depressed that she considered suicide, but deep in her heart, she knew that wasn’t the answer. With much interest, she carefully started rereading her Bible. As she read Isaiah 59:2, “…your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear [your prayers],” NKJV, she asked God for His forgiveness for her sins and tried going back to church. She never felt connected to anyone, though, and no one reached out to her in friendship. “I was far away from my home church in Alabama, the people I knew and loved.”
When Hodge retired in 2004, she decided to move back home. She felt she had God’s blessing on that decision, and trusted Him to protect her as she traveled alone. “Feeling His presence gave me encouragement and fearlessness; I felt my guardian angel was with me on my incredible journey.”
However, once back home, she “wandered in the wilderness” for more than 10 years. At last, she felt Him calling her back, and she wanted to go back to church. But, she had moved to a remote area and had no transportation. On Sabbaths, she worshiped God alone in her home for about two years.
“That’s when Dana appeared in my life again. I know God sent her to me. She took me to her church each Sabbath. When I experienced the love of that congregation, I knew I had to become a member.” Robert Meneses, pastor of the Decatur, Ala., Church, rebaptized her in on October 7, 2017. “I praise the Lord for leading me back to Him, for finding Dana and a church home to call my own.”
Gulf States | February 2018