God has made me, of that there is no doubt. But He used my mother and my wife to do it. Whatever I am today is because of them. Mom brought me into this world in 1966. I vaguely remember our first house, just outside of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on the wrong side of the levy, right next to a cotton field. She made do with what little Dad earned, who supplemented the family table with plenty of squirrel, rabbit, deer, catfish, and fresh garden vegetables. Dad was later transferred by the Corps of Engineers, and that was what God used to bring us to Missouri, first to a small community south of Arnold, Missouri called Rockport. I didn’t know it then, but I had just moved to within a few miles of my future wife who lived on the north end of Arnold. It was there that God re-introduced Mom to Church. Mom’s dad was a Southern Baptist preacher, Milton Corzine. She didn’t know him well, he died when she was only 5 years old. Mom’s mom, Charlene, also made do with 5 children to raise and no husband.
Before I ever remember going to school, I remember going to Rockport Baptist Church with Mom and my older sister. Mom still wasn’t quite yielding everything over to Christ during that time, but she knew what Sunday was for, and she knew her children were better off in Sunday School than any other place in the world. That was my first introduction to the Baptistery, where I watched my sister get baptized. I thought that the concrete block she stood on was for the Preacher to stand on so his pants wouldn’t get wet.
When I was 5, we moved to the place where I grew up, just south of Festus. God wanted us there, in that neighborhood, in that house, across the street from our neighbor, James Bonds (really, that was his name.) His wife Mary and Mom became good friends quickly. Mary sometimes attended a little church in Festus called Bethel. Again, Mom knew where she needed to be on Sunday, and where her children should be. Mom let God deal with her there about all the things in life that God deals with a child He loves. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night she loaded us up in the car, and we went to Church. She went with me to my first year of Bible camp in Niangua, Missouri. God wanted her there so that when He called me to be saved, He knew I wouldn’t step forward without Mom’s “say-so”, and He wanted her there to see it and rejoice over it. She made sure that I never got away with an excuse to miss church, even on a Sunday night. God wanted me there on that Sunday night when I was 16, when He spoke to me and said, “Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” Mom was there too. She went out and bought me my first “preacher’s” Bible. King James Version. I still have it by the way, it is the one I use in every Watchman Video Broadcast.
Lisa was there too, by the way. God moved her family from Arnold to Hillsboro. In Arnold they lived just three blocks from Grace Free Will Baptist Church. Now Hillsboro was too far from there to drive every service (they also went Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night), so they opted to change their membership and attendance to Bethel. God wanted her there, at that time, in that church, to wait for me until I was ready to take a wife.
During my childhood, it was Mom who nurtured me, trained me, corrected me, and helped me think about things. In these days, though Mom is still around to help when she can, it is Lisa who nurtures me, corrects me, and helps me think about things. That night in 1975 at Camp Niangua, it was my Mom who said with tears in her eyes, “Yes you can do this, son.” Years later, I went through the worst part of my life, ever. I didn’t think I could be, or even wanted to be a preacher. In the late evening hours I received a phone call from a church member whose husband was in intensive care, and she wanted me there for her. I sat on the edge of the bed, crying, and said to my wife, “I can’t do this.” She caressed my back and said, “You can do this.” I’ve been doing it ever since, thanks to both of them.