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Thursday, March 3, 2016

"I am Persuaded" - Testimony of Hope Ellen Rapson

Hope Rapson (left) with her sister Anne, Lady Margaret Thatcher,
and Beverly LaHaye (right)

I am Persuaded

By Hope Ellen (Linsley) Rapson

Born to young parents during World War II, my real security lay in my relationship with my paternal grandmother with whom I stayed as my mother followed my father through his military assignments. After the War, my father finished his education through to his Doctor of Jurisprudence while my mother worked. I found myself in one new situation after another since my father was recalled during the Korean Conflict. Between isolated tours and my mother having to work, by the time I was twelve I had attended twelve different schools, in five states. I was used to an absent father, and overprotective control of a young, needy mother. My life focus was acceptance and approval. I chose competition and overachievement as the means to get those. I was narcissistic, and critical.

When I was twelve, my father, Kenneth W. Linsley, was stationed at Oxnard AFB, California. Our family of five lived in a two bedroom duplex apartment in a small town of Somis, California. Because my father wanted his daughters to grow up as “ladies,” he took us to Pleasant Valley Baptist Church so that we would learn morals and associate with proper people. This assignment afforded me four full school years in the same school system, and an opportunity to build relationships with both people and a community for the first time.

Since many of my peers were being baptized or confirmed, I became a competitively active member of the church. I took up the challenge to read my Bible through in a year to win a trip to the Urbana Missionary Conference. What started out as an easy academic goal quickly became a miserable burden. Starting in Genesis, it seemed that the Word only mirrored my empty heart. By the time I reached John, I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit that I often threw the Bible in the trashcan, only to be irresistibly compelled to retrieve it a few minutes later looking for whatever or whomever could make me feel better about myself and my life. John 3 made me realize who He was and why. I went forward at the altar call the next Sunday having truly repented of my sin and having, asked for the forgiveness and salvation only found in Jesus Christ.

When I came out of church, my father was confused and somewhat embarrassed. After all, I had taken all the classes, passed the deacon’s examination board questions, and had been officially baptized. “What was this all about?” he queried. “Daddy, all I can tell your is this. My life is no longer my own.”

So, I have had the mercy and grace to live a life with Jesus for seventy years now. I have seen my parents and sisters come to Christ; I have seen my children trust Him as Savior, marry believers, and raise their children within the parameters of God’s Word. I have seen hard things also…social rejection, persecution, failure, RA, Fibromyalgia, cancer twice, death of loved family and friends, my best friend and husband led astray by the world and his own fears, divorce, and loneliness. However, none has driven me to compete, or overachieve in order to gain acceptance or approval; those issues were settled at the Cross.

Jesus sacrificed His blood and body for my acceptance by our Holy Father through the forgiveness of sins, and He provided my permanent approval by adopting me into the God’s family through regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Also, God has been and continues to be faithful to me through every stage of my life. To quote a beloved old hymn, “I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed until that day...”

Related reading:

Hope E. Rapson's poems The Single Sign; Pepper Jack; The Seed Pod; The Veining; Moonlight; In Process; Hypostasis

Hope E. Rapson, Another Look at Dorothy Sayer's Lost Tools of Learning

Kenneth W. Linsley, Astonishment at the Doctrine of the Lord (Part 1); Astonishment (Part 2); Astonishment (Part 3)

Kenneth W. Linsley was a pilot, an attorney, a pastor and an author. Read his account of his extraordinary mother here.

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