My Story: Cathy Ward of Edinboro

Cathy Ward

I have lots of stories of how God has worked in my life. God has provided me many experiences, it seems, so that I can testify when others have a similar situation. But this is perhaps my favorite. I was saved at 17, but had long since strayed. About 15 years ago I had re-committed my life to God and was struggling with keeping my store open on Good Friday - I wanted to close it so others were not choosing to come there instead of attending a Good Friday service. But it's hard when you own a store to close those doors, especially when money is tight. So I decided that I would keep the store open, but the profit from that day would be given to the church.

I opened my doors at 10 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., in walked the biggest sale in my 6 years of owning the store - nearly $2000 in products to one person (average sale was $300, to give you an idea). I was busy all day, which was a little odd for a Friday for my type of store.

But the story didn't end there. No I couldn't be happy with the proof God had given me that He was watching and listening and trust Him... Money was extremely tight and I couldn't bring myself to turn that money over to the church when it meant not paying suppliers who would shut me off - and money WAS just that hard that it could have meant having to shut down my store. So I held onto it, paying bills as I needed to, feeling guilty, making excuses that I would give it later as soon as I was able.

It was now a month later, the month of May - typically a leading month in my season. The store was dead - and each week went by, it got worse. Two weeks, four weeks, six weeks... we were barely able to breathe. I knew what I had to do, in spite of my situation. I had disobeyed and I most definitely knew it.

I donated all that I "owed" and then some to my church that weekend. It was painful to say the least; but whether I lost the store or not at least I had made it right with God.

The following Monday, we were busy. Each day we got busier - and in spite of starting out with a horrible month, we not only did well - we broke our monthly record for sales.

The next month, we broke the record again. The following month, we broke the record AGAIN. My little store had gone from an average of $15 - $18,000/month in sales, to $32,000 in sales that third month before my season waned. Additionally, in spite of seasonal fluctuations, my store prospered until I sold it two years later after the birth of my son.

I don't know if I believe God "punishes" people as so many do (I'm still pondering that to this day, punishment vs. testing, etc.); but I do believe He removes His blessing upon you when you blatantly disobey or break your word you made before Him.