There are some things that never change in certain relationships. With Marie, you could count on a hug, a prayer, encouragement and conversation about the Holy Spirit. I definitely got all four that last conversation. When I look back over my spiritual life, there are three key people that took the initiative to truly disciple me. Russell Hepler truly led me to Christ and continues to build into me. Ken Ludwig, who passed several years back now, took time to instruct me in theology and guide me in teachings of mission work and evangelism. (He went as far to as to give me his dissertation from college to read.) Marie Dwight…..Marie softly, yet not so softly, led me on a journey of meeting and understanding the work of the Holy Spirit. And now, now Marie gets to worship Jesus in Heaven. She is glowing, dancing, singing and full of more joy than we can imagine (and she was always full of Jesus joy here on earth!) As a matter of fact, we were in a class together at LaGrange First UMC and we were given a picture of a water pitcher. We were told to start writing things in there that fill us with spiritual joy. I remember my pitcher was probably half full. But Marie, Marie’s pitcher was overflowing! She went on and on and on about the love and joy she has in Christ. She told me, “Jamelle, someday your pitcher will be like mine and you will understand.” In our last conversation she brought it up and asked, “you understand about my pitcher now don’t you?” Yes Marie, yes I do.
Even though Marie was very knowledgeable of the Bible, she never used her knowledge to make anyone feel ‘stupid.’ About 7 years ago I was convinced to lead a bible study. Marie joined it, (as did Ken Ludwig’s wife Sherron.) I thought to myself, “what can I possibly teach them?” You know what? They were great students! Marie didn’t make me feel like I wasn’t qualified. She actually taught me through the study. She encouraged me. She taught me so much about how to read the bible, how to study, how to meditate on it. (Sherron actually gave me an Archaeological Bible that I now use when I study or lead a study.)
Marie took the initiative to talk to me and teach me about the Holy Spirit. In the Methodist church, like a lot of churches, there isn’t deep instruction about the Holy Spirit; the gifts of the Spirit, praying or speaking in tongues, or being overcome by the Holy Ghost. She taught me what it meant to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit and how to let Him guide you. We had a special event at the Methodist church called, ‘Life in the Spirit’ (I think.) At the Saturday night worship service, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that cannot be humanly explained. Marie was there and witnessed it. In processing the weekend with her, she explained it like this, “you know that you know what you know.” Yep!
As I started speaking in churches, started Reason 4 Hope, and whatever other crazy idea I would have, Marie was usually the first one I would talk to about it. Her reply, always, was PRAY! Man could this woman pray! Once again, she taught me how to have a meaningful prayer life. She taught me how to intercede for others. She taught me how to rebuke the devil. She taught me about prayer walking, praying protection over a house, even having a prayer language. One night at the cafe, after a worship time, hands were laid on me for me to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. That evening, in my prayer time, I understood and experienced what Marie explained as a prayer language. I couldn’t wait to call her the next day and tell her!
Oh Marie…. there just are not words to describe how much she meant to me, and I know to so many. I remember a couple of years ago, she had just moved back to her newly built house, and I was really struggling with something. Something personal and spiritual. I called her up one evening and she said come right out! Hours later, after conversation, scripture reading, and much prayer, I went home relieved. Relieved in the sense of how she helped me to spiritually speak and pray scripture into the situation. Thank you Marie. Thank you for taking time to invest in me and in my walk with the Lord. Without a shadow of a doubt, I would not be who I am today had Marie Dwight not been in my life. I pray I can do for others as she has done for me.