JoLynn and her husband, Bill, have been coming to Covenant Fellowship since 2013. They recently moved from Newark, DE, to Avondale, where they attend the Bards’ community group.
Tell us a bit about your family.
I’ve been married to my loving and supportive husband Bill for 48 years. We met in college at the University of Maryland, College Park. We have two grown sons. The oldest lives with his wife and our two grandchildren in Washington Crossing, PA. Our younger son is single and lives in Newark, DE. (We’re praying that he will marry someone who loves the Lord and has a desire to serve Him.)
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD—I am the oldest of three girls and attended an all-girls Catholic school from elementary through high school. I was labeled a “talker” and had difficulty sitting still. It was a pre-ADD diagnosis by the nuns. Both sets of grandparents were hardworking Italian immigrants. My mom worked outside the home so I spent a lot of time with my Mom Mom, who I adored. Every Sunday we would go to my father’s mother’s for a huge feast with at least 18 family and friends attending, followed by music and dancing in the living room.
Can you share how you came to Christ? How did your childhood impact your experience with faith?
Growing up in a Catholic family and attending Catholic school, I had never been exposed to people of other faiths. Going to a secular college was an eye opening experience. Living away from home, I made some really poor decisions. I carried so much guilt. It would be impossible for me to earn my way back to God.
I got a part time job as a waitress on campus at the faculty alumni club. I enjoyed the people I met and worked with. One in particular stood out. He was tall, handsome, fun to be around, a hard worker, and had a great personality. There was also something different about him but I didn’t quite know what. I would soon find out. His name was Bill Smith.
One night Bill was sharing the Gospel of grace with a friend and I was listening but really arguing. After they left, I was so convicted of my sins. I knew I was headed in the wrong direction. I got on my knees and confessed my sins and repented. By faith I believed and in God’s great mercy and He forgave me.
Where do you serve at the church, and how have you seen God working there?
When we first began attending Covenant, we began praying for the Lord’s leading as to where He wanted us to serve. We believe that because of the gift of grace and mercy that we received, it should lead us to serve others with a heart of gratitude. We had led a weekly Bible study in our home for over 15 years. We attended the Bridge Celebration dinner and knew immediately that this was where the Lord was leading us to serve. We’ve seen the Lord work in some amazing ways.
Can you think of a book that impacted your walk with the Lord?
J.I. Packer’s Knowing God was a reminder to think against my feelings. Packer challenged me to talk to myself and look up from my problems to the God of the gospel. He is with me. He is my covenant-keeping God. If He is for us, who can be against me?
What are you currently doing for your devotional times? What have you been learning?
I’ve made it a practice to start the day in God’s Word. Several years ago I began using Professor G. Horner’s Bible Reading System. I love the way it goes through the Old Testament and then you see the fulfillment of the prophecies in the New Testament.
I also recently attended the ladies’ Bible study on Delight: A Walk Through The Psalms. It was so good to study God’s Word and share with others after being in isolation for so many months. I really appreciated that this study was so timely and led to some thought-provoking application.
Psalm 3 especially spoke to me. David’s enemies are trying to shake his confidence in God. They tell David that his danger is so great that God Himself can’t help him. Then we see the word “Selah,” the first of three times in this Psalm. After some study, I found out that “Selah” is a note commanding a solemn pause—“Mark that, or stop there and consider a little.” For me, it calls me to meditate on these words. Then David cries out in confidence, “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.”
I learned that the word for “shield” in Hebrew conveys a surrounding on all sides. God protects me from the enemy on the outside, as I deal with all the problems of life, and the inside, as I deal with my mind and heart. I have confidence that He will keep His promises and I can rest in His protection. He hears our prayers! Selah!