“Was I That Stubborn?” by Rachel Wurtsbaugh

Woman on knees - Jesus hand on shoulder
Illustration by Beth Pukala

The circumstances for my Jesus experience were these. I was in New Jersey trying to sell our house and still teaching at Mary Help of Christians Academy.  I was teaching French and Psychology.  Randy was already in Vermont fulfilling his responsibilities as the new plant manager at Ben and Jerry’s, Allie was doing her senior year at South Burlington High School and both boys were away from home. I was unhappy with my life, my husband and my children and full of anger.  But, I never stopped praying!

One day in early January 1996, I was all alone in our big house in Kinnelon praying in bed.  There was no rush to get up so I snuggled under the covers a while longer.  When I got out of bed, I suddenly felt a heavy pressing on my right shoulder which literally brought me to my knees.  I heard myself saying. “Oh my God, it’s me.  My husband and my children aren’t the problem. It’s me.”

Everything became clear.

Everything became clear. I stood and approached the window overlooking the yard.  Even on a cold, winter day the deer were trying to feed.  Now, I needed to feed my life with a different operating procedure.  Step 1: Quit my job. Step 2: Leave the house to the realtors. Step 3: Make a new home in Vermont. I placed my left hand on my right shoulder to touch Jesus’s hand.  I looked

Everything became clear. I stood and approached the window overlooking the yard.  Even on a cold, winter day the deer were trying to feed.  Now, I needed to feed my life with a different operating procedure.  Step 1: Quit my job. Step 2: Leave the house to the realtors. Step 3: Make a new home in Vermont. I placed my left hand on my right shoulder to touch Jesus’s hand.  I looked at my shoulder in the mirror to see any sign of His tough squeeze.  The cross I was carrying was no longer a burden.  My heart was full of joy and the anger was completely gone.

Everything became clear. I stood and approached the window overlooking the yard.  Even on a cold, winter day the deer were trying to feed.  Now, I needed to feed my life with a different operating procedure.  Step 1: Quit my job. Step 2: Leave the house to the realtors. Step 3: Make a new home in Vermont. I placed my left hand on my right shoulder to touch Jesus’s hand.  I looked at my shoulder in the mirror to see any sign of His tough squeeze.  The cross I was carrying was no longer a burden.  My heart was full of joy and the anger was completely gone.

I immediately called Sr. Karen, the principal at Mary Help and told her I would stay through mid-term exams and then join Randy and Allie in Vermont. She had sensed my unhappiness and told me that is exactly what I should do. Within a week a certified psychology teacher with a minor in French signed a contract.  I thanked Jesus and told Him I liked His plan for me.

During the last week of January, I moved to Quarry Hill, South Burlington where Randy was renting a condo and within 7 months we bought our old farmhouse in Williston.  I thank God every day for his goodness, kindness and mercy!  He blessed me and my whole family as a result of this very real, spiritual experience. What a Mighty God!

Note from Alice: Wanting to do the right thing, Rachel held on to the New Jersey life as much as possible. It was all for the right intentions, but if you are not happy, then finding solace from Jesus is a good solution. Here, God literally brought her to her knees, which is what many well-intentioned, energetic believers may have to have happened for them to see things differently. Recall St. Paul? Jesus has a friend in Rachel. She is honored and totally respected for her morals and lifestyle. I have adopted her as one of the best evangelists I know. When you meet her, you are smiling within a minute. She does that to people. If Pope Francis appointed her to be a Christian ambassador anywhere in the world, she would not disappoint him… or Him. 

Biblical Note:
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!” Luke 10:41 (NLT)

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