Taking Time with Beverly Carlson

For the month of October, we are highlighting the more “senior” members of our community at Bethany, many in their tenth decade. Some may not worship regularly with us but all continue to be rich examples of faithful lives. They were invited to share a favorite verse, a story from their lives where they experienced God, or a piece of encouragement.

Take a moment to read their words and be encouraged by the wisdom and grace in our church family.

“But he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tested me, I will come forth as gold.”My life verse - Job 23:10

My name is Beverly. I was born in Rhode Island during WWII, a descendant of the state’s founder, Roger Williams. My mother was a very godly woman who had many spiritual gifts (discernment, healing, prophecy, tongues and interpretation). Her emphasis in all things was to believe God’s Holy Word. Even before starting school, I learned to read from the King James version of the Bible.

Life changed drastically when I was 5 years old. We moved to a rat-infested, violent slum. That was all my mother, suddenly a single parent of six, with no money and no education, could afford. But we did have hope. Even when being bitten by rats while we slept, even when our house was set on fire in the middle of the night, and even suffering violence against all six kids and my mother, faith persevered. We experienced miracles in the name of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit. After much prayer and searching, four years later a rental house was offered to us because the landlord liked the sound of my mother’s voice.

It was at the age of 12 that I chose Job 23:10 as my life’s verse, when I dedicated my life to becoming a missionary nurse. At the age of 18, I was indeed offered a full scholarship to a prestigious nursing school in Boston. When I graduated, I enrolled in Bible College in South Carolina. I was part way through my studies, so close to my missionary nurse vision, when I had to rush back to Rhode Island because of a family emergency.

Little did I know what my return home would mean. For the next 6 years, never-ending medical crises afflicted my extended family. Accidents, abnormal pregnancies, war, disease – I was involved in it all. The only thing greater than the crises was God’s miraculous care. God met me in my greatest exhaustion and despair with a song and a verse, Esther 4:14, “who knows but that you were brought to the kingdom for such an hour as this.” Ultimately, my mother became my dependent when I turned 25.

Miraculously, God led me and my mother in a surprise direction: to the Air Force, where I could afford care for my mother; and to Spokane, Washington, where I would meet Paul. We married in 1972. We started attending Bethany Presbyterian in 1981. We have two daughters, Bethany and Rebecca, and now two sons-in-law, Shaun and Jonathan. My life’s verse may have been inspired by a childhood dream which did not come to pass, but it has, through God’s providence, still guided me on all paths that He had in store for my life.

I am still amazed, thankful and being tested and purified.

Coordinated by Mary Van Eaton, Photos by April Huizenga, Interviews by Kristy Champagne.

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