Video below (A fun video that Jean’s kids put together for her 75th birthday)
Jean’s story is written below both video’s below.
Go to 8:11 for the start of the action!
45 years ago when we were moving from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, I thought that being married, having kids, a few cars and nice house, were all the things that would make me happy. I tried being in control of my life, but this wasn’t fulfilling me. I had a hole in my heart and was searching for more.
God stripped everything from me when we moved from Pittsburgh to the Village of Mariemont, a small community in Cincinnati. Even with moving away from family, friends and all that was familiar, I still wanted to be in control of my life in my new setting.
Mariemont, was a beautiful, family friendly community that had parks, small shops, schools, library, swim club, town square and a local Church. I got familiar with my new community and also made connections with others, especially a group of women who were like mother figures to me. They encouraged me to attend a Bible study. That’s when I met my dear friend, June Karassik, who introduced me to a book called Power in Praise, by Merlin Carothers. As I was finishing one of the chapters about the gift of eternal life, I made the decision to receive this gift. Instead of wanting to be in control, I yielded my life to the Lord and turned everything over to Jesus. This was my defining “Check Your Game” moment in life. I thought it would be easy, but it was hard to give up control. John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The Bible had become my guide and handbook for living as a new Christian.
Bill was out of town when I made this decision, and when he came back from his trip, I asked him, “do I look different?” He didn’t think so. I knew I was on the inside even though it wasn’t apparent to him.
I remember seeing color like I’ve never seen before. The trees were greener and the skies bluer. I also viewed people in a new light that I didn’t have before. I remember looking at people that were disheveled or weren’t “beautiful” and thought that these people had value and beauty.
It was in 1974 when I became a Christian, and it has changed my life forever. It was my defining moment, and though not always easy, it was the best choice.
A CHANGE OF SEASON
After 2 years of living in the The Villages, Florida, we decided to move. Bill and I were praying about where to go and decided to build a house in the Village of Hemingway. We were so excited. The setting was beautiful. Our backyard looked onto the 6th tee that was surrounded by the rolling hills, a big pond, and many large trees.
One of the large Oak trees that was 40 yards away, was the perfect home for many animals that included a couple of owl families over the years. When the second owl family moved to the tree I decided to name the owl family members Ozzie, Harriet and baby Ricky. As I watched Ricky mature and grow under the direction of his parents, I was reminded of being a mother to my kids. This was touching, and brought many reminders of our family. Ricky, eventually left his nest for good.
Years later, after the owl family left, Bill made a call to the Villages after seeing branches falling. A decision was made out of the safety for the golfers to cut down the dying tree. After spending 8 years at our new home, the landscape changed in an instant. This was very difficult for me. I cried as I watched the tree, branch by branch, get taken down. For some reason, change has not been easy.
Bill and I enjoyed our lifestyle here in The Villages, Florida, often by playing golf, eating out, visiting friends etc. but another change would affect all of this. In 2017, he was diagnosed with a Leukemia condition. This altered our lifestyle as we began traveling to Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa for clinical trial appointments and cancer treatments. But even with these changes, Bill and I continued to trust in the Lord.
I have always been consistent to pray over the years, but during this period, I prayed relentlessly for healing. On the other hand, when Bill prayed, he asked to be a witness for Jesus. I didn’t like this. It sounded as if he didn’t want the healing that I was praying for. It was troubling for me until one day I had a surreal and supernatural experience that only God could give. God gave me two words; mouthpiece and faithfulness. I clung to these words not realizing what exactly they meant. But I realize now that it was God speaking to me and that I was going to be a mouthpiece for God’s faithfulness. He has done that for me.
In Bill’s weakened state, he managed to plan a Rogers’ family reunion at our son Greg’s Lake Norris house that included 15 of us. There were our four sons (Greg, Gary, Glen and Grady), four daughter-in-laws (Jill, Tami, Dawn and Lara), and 5 grandchildren (Kelsey, Ashley, Benjamin, Andrew and Brandon).
Bill praying on October 13th, 2019 after watching Dr. David Jeremiah Church Service at the Lake Norris houseIt was on this special weekend where we celebrated our early Thanksgiving and Kelsey’s high-school graduation. God allowed the perfect weekend to take place before Bill’s last days. On the return trip home to Florida, we stopped in Atlanta because he wasn’t feeling well. Bill passed at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on October 16, 2019 with me at his bedside. He went to his Eternal and Heavenly home. Revelations 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Since we had been living in the Villages, I had been a part of a Bible Study where 50-100 women would show up on a weekly basis for many years. I was in charge of welcoming the women, making announcements and would pray before the study began. For 2 years as Bill was getting worse, I remember thinking how hard it was for me to carry out my responsibilities. I was grieving during this time as I could see Bill going downhill quickly. After some time when Bill passed, I was reminded of a verse about the “Peace that passes all understanding.”
When I start to think that life is all about me, I realize it isn’t. God has given me His strength and ability to withstand all the changes that have taken place. I am grateful that friends and family could see that God was helping me. I have continued to walk with Jesus even through some of the hardest changes.
I now realize how Bill is being used as a witness and how I am a mouthpiece for God’s faithfulness. I am thankful that Jesus is in control of my life. I hope you are encouraged by my story.
If interested, feel free to find out more about Bill by clicking the picture below.
Phillipians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Jean has Nominated (N) or Introduced (I) the following:
My advice for others is to relinquish control to Jesus and let him come into your heart. He will make changes that are supernatural. Change is not easy as we grow accustom to things. But when we grow in our Faith and trust God, scripture says that God works all things together for good for those who love him in Romans 8. Even though I had a fear of Bill passing, I'm experiencing God's presence and helping me with every decision and challenge that comes my way.
This is my story and my journey. Everyone has a book and there comes a time for new chapters. In my new chapter of being a widow, we can either fight it, be mad, angry or scared. I decided to trust in God and not feel sorry for myself. I didn’t want to be bitter, mad or complain. I wanted to have peace in God’s presence with all relationships. My sister has even told me that I was her inspiration and hope I can be for you too.
I am so thankful that I get to encourage others through your story, as well as Dad's too. When I saw how strong you were when I arrived at the hospital on October 16th in the early hours of the morning, I could see that God's presence was near. Even though it might not make sense to others about how Peaceful you were, we both knew that is was only through God in your life. I have continued watching you be strong for our family as well as others. Your story is one of Faithfulness and Hope. I am encouraged by you, your story, and look forward to seeing the impact you continue to have in this lifetime. Mom, you have been an amazing Mom to your boys and we love you so much. Thanks again for your humility and transparency to share your story. "your favorite son" Gary