He was at the end of the hallway, and he had a belt around my mother’s neck. He was strangling her basically and telling her that she needed to learn to submit. He had a hold of her hair and her covering. She was a Mennonite woman. She wore a head covering. He ripped it off of her head. The hair was in her hand. I was at the end of the hall. I ran and jumped on my dad’s arm, as if I thought I was going to do something at eight years old. I said, “Daddy, Daddy don’t! You’re going to kill Mom!” When I jumped up on his arm, he took his arm and just threw it like that. When he did, because I was just this small little kid, I flew basically down the hall, and I hit the door jam with my arm. I yelled for my sister who was at the other end of the house. She came running, and she kicked him in the private areas. Then he stopped. My parents went to counseling when I was probably about ten or eleven. Things changed quite a bit. My dad wasn’t near as abusive to me or my siblings or my mom, so that was really good, but the fear was still there.
When I was sixteen, I had just been driving like eight or nine months. I was driving on my way to work, and the next thing I knew, I woke up a week later. What had happened was a drunk driver had hit me. I had a 50-50 chance. During that time, my dad was just crying out to the Lord, “Lord, have mercy on us! Have mercy on us!” So the pastors of the Mennonite church and my parents came and anointed me with oil like it says in James 5. They anointed me with oil, and when they were done, they went to the chapel, and they confessed sins one to another. While they were in the chapel confessing sins one to another, I started waking up out of a coma. I eventually had to go into the psychiatric ward for post-traumatic stress disorder because I remembered the car accident. I remembered the drunk driver coming toward me. I remembered times when the abuse was so bad in the home, and I was remembering all of these things.
The day that my husband had to take me to the psychiatric ward, my parents had called, but I didn’t really want to talk to them. So when I got on the phone, my dad said to me, “Edna, I am so sorry you are sick. If there’s anything that I have done that has made you so sick, I am sorry.” I asked my counselor, “How can I, how can I become one with the Lord?” That was my greatest desire, to have a relationship with Him. So he said, “You still have some un-forgiveness, and un-forgiveness can cause a wedge in your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.” So I worked through that. I had to forgive the drunk driver. I had to forgive my dad. I had to forgive different people that had hurt me, but that’s what the Lord wants. The Lord wants us to have a relationship with Him more than anything. It took going through the psychiatric ward and going through the depression to get a hold of me. I could have just been going to church on Sundays as a religious person, but He wanted more. He wanted to have a relationship with me. The Holy Spirit came upon us, and we started getting this new hunger and new desire. It wasn’t like reading the Bible because we knew we had to. We read the Bible because we were hungry for it. Things started happening and changing, and our children started saying that they were noticing a difference in us.
I really have a heart for women’s ministry, and I have been asking the Lord what that looks like, especially for a Mennonite and Amish woman because they don’t know their identity in Christ. Yes, your husband is the head of the home, but you don’t find your identity in your husband. You find your identity in Christ. My dad told me that he was so proud of me. We have a good relationship. We talk every week. We pray together on the phone. God has restored…God has restored the relationship with my Father, and it’s been beautiful.