My Life Story (1916-1999): “In Safe Keeping” is the autobiography of my grand aunt, Marjorie Mercer. Less than 20 copies of the book were published and sent to family members because Aunt Margie wanted us to “understand why God is so real and precious to me…He has never failed me.”
Aunt Margie was born in Indiana in 1916. She had 2 brothers, Robert (7 years older) and Raymond (My grandpa, 5 years older). During the flu of 1918 (22 million died from the flu) her whole family became seriously ill. Her parents could not take care of either their sick children or themselves. Just in time, the old family doctor drove by and noticed that no smoke was coming from their chimney although it was very cold. He suspected something was wrong and stopped to check on them. Then he saved their lives by caring for them.
In the summer of 1924, the family of 5 left for California in a Model T Ford loaded with tools, clothes, bedding, food, water, a tent, and camping equipment. They had a leisurely trip, sightseeing along the way. After they arrived in California they lived in their tent in a campground while her father looked for work. In Los Angeles, her father attended a church meeting and say so many miraculous healings that he accepted Jesus into his heart. Her dad got a good job in Redlands. When she was 9 years old, Aunt Margie got saved at a small church. During high school, she babysat and did house work. Her senior year she earned straight A’s in typing, shorthand, and book keeping. One of the biggest surprises was the birth of her sister, Betty, in 1933.
In 1937, Aunt Margie met a young man named J.T. at a Halloween party. It was love at first sight, and she and J.T. married the next year. They had a son named Tommy. In February 1946, she became very sick with pneumonia when she was 7 months pregnant. Her baby died one day after its birth. 1 hour after the delivery, Marjorie had a spinal tap. She then had a rib re-section and a motor and pump drained her lungs. She was given a blood transfusion--of the wrong type of blood--and had a very bad reaction. She nearly died. Two doctors said that she would not live. Soon she fell into a coma. J.T. came home, and she was sent to another hospital. In this hospital she was placed in isolation; only a minister was allowed to visit her. She survived the night--contrary to expectations--and spent 1 month in a coma. Her illness lasted 6 months in all. All her friends prayed for her. J.T. never gave up hope; he was firm in his faith in God and refused to believe the dire predictions of the doctors. He claimed Mark 11:22-24 for Aunt Margie. Verse 24 says, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” When Aunt Margie came out of the coma, she was blind and the doctors said she would be a vegetable mentally and physically for as long as she might live.
J.T. was allowed to be in the ambulance on the way home. On the way home, something miraculous happened: she could see, her mind cleared, and she knew what was happening. She was moved to a hospital bed in her mothers house. J.T. sat by her bedside and told her that God had healed her. He read Mark 11:22-24 to her and told her that God had answered prayer for her. She said, “Well, if God has healed me, what am I doing in bed? I want to get up!” She didn’t know that she couldn’t even lift her head off the pillow or turn over by herself in the hospital, as she’d been diagnosed with spinal meningitis, and her spine had become rigid as a pole. She insisted that she get out of bed; then she discovered that her right leg was paralyzed, and her right arm and hand were useless. J.T. held her up, and “In Jesus’ name” she took one step. She began “eating like a horse.” At first, she couldn’t even hold up a spoon, but in just a few days she regained use of her hand and arm. Each day, with J.T.’s help, she took one more step than she had taken the day before; within 10 days she could take care of herself.
“Do I believe in miracles?” Aunt Margie asked, “Yes, a thousand times yes! Do I believe in God? Yes, a thousand times yes! Do I know that God answers prayer? Yes, a thousand times yes!…I can never thank the Lord enough for all that He has done for me! He has now given me 52 years of life that medical science said I could never have…God in His love and mercy has spared my life. All He asks of each of us is that we love Him, believe in Him, and accept his Son, Jesus, into our hearts as our personal Saviour. There is a heaven that God has prepared for all those who love and serve Him. There is a literal hell prepared for all those who reject Him. We were all born in sin, and even though we may live a good life, our good deeds will not be enough when we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account of our lives. The one question we will be asked is, ‘What have you done with Jesus?’ As a Christian, we are not immune from sickness, sorrow, or problems in life, but Jesus has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Isaiah 41:14, ‘Fear not for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.’”
Within 4 weeks (In July of 1946) she was able to go home and return to her duties as a mother. The next year, she and J.T. built their first home. She lathed the entire house, never missing one nail. The city inspector said that she had done the best job he’d ever seen. She and J.T. were very involved in church and were youth leaders for 10 years. They also had a great time camping, fishing, and touring the United States and Canada with their son.
The last 2 weeks before J.T.’s death, they volunteered to help with the Billy Graham Film Ministry and served as counselors. She was privileged to pray with a dozen girls to receive Jesus. Then they visited Campus Crusade and celebrated their 34th anniversary. On December 9, 1972, she and J.T. ate lunch together and made plans for the day. Then J.T. went out to mow their and their neighbor’s yard. J.T. had a major heart attack and died while mowing the lawn. Aunt Margie knew that J.T. was ready to go, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to cope with the sorrow. She wrote, “Our body goes into the grave, but our spirit goes to be with God, if we believe in Him. John 14:1 says, ‘Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions…’ None of us have any guarantee of tomorrow, or even of the next 5 minutes. We may not have a chance to call upon the Lord when our time comes. That’s why it is so important to be ready by giving our hearts to the Lord, and it is a personal choice. No one can answer to God for our lives, but ourselves…I pray that everyone will consider where you will spend eternity.”
Aunt Margie continued to do much volunteer work: she helped widows, orphans, the poor, and missionaries, and worked with women’s organizations and the elderly. She also served as a deaconess at her church.
In 1982, Aunt Margie began coughing up blood. X-rays showed a large mass in her stomach, and the doctors suspected cancer. When she went for a biopsy, the nurse asked if she were afraid. She said “No” because she knew God was with her. After the biopsy, the specialist came in with the biggest grin and said, “The mass is gone, and I cannot find anything wrong with your stomach.”
God spared her life many other times, including 3 car accidents, but I will not go into detail here.
Aunt Margie toured Europe and had a wonderful time. She also visited Hawaii, cruised to Alaska, toured the Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Ice fields and all of the US National Parks.
Aunt Margie tells us that she frequently asked Grandpa Ray, “Ray, wouldn’t you like to ask Jesus to come into your heart, to be your own personal Saviour?” He always said, “No.” But one day he said “Yes.” They both cried and Grandpa Ray asked Jesus to come into his heart and forgive his sins. Soon after, he died of cancer.
Aunt Margie concludes her book by mentioning all of her family members (including me!) and telling us that she wrote the book because she wanted to share her faith in God with us and tell us that Jesus is real, the Bible is true, we all will face eternity someday, and it is important to prepare for that time. Aunt Margie died the year after she published the book. At the end of the book, we find this poem:
Did You Know?
Margie Mercer, 1981
Have you ever lost a loved one? Been lonely and sad? I have, but did you know?
Jesus promised He’d never leave me nor forsake
When sorrows come and grief would try to overtake.
He said, “Place your hand in mine, and don’t let go,
My daughter, trust me, because I love you so.”
Have you ever been anxious or afraid? I have, but did you know?
Jesus said, “Peace, my child, I give to thee;
Do not fret, worry, nor anxious be.
Cast all your care on me; I’ll carry the load.
Let’s walk together down this treacherous road.”
Lift up your head, Smile through your tears!
I promised I’d take away all those fears.
And in their place, give joy and peace;
The burden is gone! What sweet release.
Have you ever been given up to die? I have, but did you know?
When sickness comes, and all hope is gone,
Jesus brings “New life” at the coming of the dawn.
He will restore health, revive and renew.
What He’s done for me, I know He’ll do for you!
Have you ever been tested as by fire? I have, but did you know?
Satan will try to accuse you, my friend,
He’ll bring deception, and doubts he will send.
Resist him, and out of the darkness of night,
Jesus will bring you into glorious light!
This life is like a dressing room, back stage,
Preparing us for eternity and a brand new page.
Jesus is the master potter, and we are the clay,
He’s getting us ready for a brand new day!
Have you ever been tired and weary? I have, but did you know?
Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give you rest.
Let my love enfold you, and lean upon my breast.”
He will refresh you, through prayer and his word;
Praises of victory will soon be heard.
Have you ever had a financial need? I have, but did you know?
Jesus said, “I will supply all your need.”
He did not promise to provide for our greed.
You’re an heir of Christ, a child of the King!
He will not withhold from you, any good thing.
Have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart? I have, wouldn’t you like to?
Do you know my Jesus? Is He your dearest friend?
In times of stress and problems, on Him can you depend?
He longs to give you the very best in life.
Won’t you give him now, all your turmoil and strife?
Just open the door of your heart today, and invite Him in,
Not as a temporary guest, but to stay.
He will bring strength, healing, and peace;
He will give you abundant life,
And Joy that will never cease.
What a wonderful testimony!