Jewish People Telling Their Stories
Testimony of Marilyn McGurran
I am a 65-year-old woman and I have been a believer for over 30 years. I was born and raised in a Jewish home in Toronto. My grandparents on both sides were orthodox but my parents were not practising. Every Shabbat though, we did go to one of the grandparents' places for dinner. All High Holidays were celebrated with extended family. My brother and I also went to Hebrew school as well as secular school for many years. My parents were divorced when I was a young teenager. My mother liked to party so we didn’t have much discipline or guidance as young children.
I got into heavy drugs, starting at the age of 11. I left Toronto and moved to Vancouver when I was 16. I was supposed to go to school but never made it there. Instead I ended up living in a communal house and at 19 I got pregnant. I had the baby and wanted to go home but my mother would not allow it. She was ashamed and didn't know how to tell people. When my daughter was about 4 months old I wanted to give her up for adoption. That was when I met my soon to be husband.
He loved that little girl and wouldn't let me give her up. He took care of her while I partied. When she was a year old we decided to marry and he adopted her. We then had a son. When our son was less than a year old we moved to Alberta where my husband's family was. We were both still partying, doing drugs and drinking, until the kids were 4 and 6. Around that time my husband was working for a family and it turns out they had mutual acquaintances. This family was very strong in the Lord and they shared the gospel with my husband. It wasn’t very long before he gave his life to the Lord. I, on the other hand was a good Jew and was never going to believe in Jesus.
My husband was very faithful and went to church, took the kids and became very close friends with this family. I was friends with a lady at work who was also a believer and somehow she got to me. Every morning when I opened my computer at work “Jesus loves you” flashed across my screen. My co worker was attending a church in our neighbourhood and invited us to go with her one Mother’s Day. There was standing room only and after that service I was so moved and didn’t know what came over me, but I left there crying. I filled out a visitor card but never heard from anyone.
Meanwhile, we were having a financial crisis and I decided that if Jesus could get us out of this predicament, I would give my life to Him. No surprises there, He did! A few days later the pastor of that church called and asked if we could meet. We met and I prayed the sinner's prayer and the rest is history. My biggest struggle was having a relationship with Jesus and still being Jewish. I didn't know that they could come together. For many years I put my Jewishness aside. Our children also dedicated their lives to the Lord and were baptized a few years later.
Through meeting other Jewish believers and studying in a Messianic environment I learned how rich my heritage is and I have now reconciled the two and live my life accordingly. We celebrate the feasts and festivals and what a joy to carry them further and incorporate Jesus. Where I live there are no other Jewish believers so I attend a Baptist Church. They are very welcoming and love to celebrate with us.
My life has not been easy over the years. My husband left me when our kids were 12 and14. We never heard from him or saw him for 20 years. The company I was working for was moving the head office to London Ontario and asked me to move with them. What a perfect way to reconnect with family. We joined a church and started rebuilding our lives without a male figure in it. My son got very heavily involved in drugs and ended up living on the streets. There were many years of struggling with addiction and bouts of rehab until he was in his mid 20’s. I was taking care of my elderly mother at that time and had an apartment in her basement. She called me at work one day and said the drug dealers are coming to get Michael and they are bringing shotguns. I raced home and called the police. Any way they got there in time and took Michael to a motel and told him to never come by the house again as they would be watching. That was the last time he went to rehab and has been clean for around 20 years.
In 2009 our son had a baby. He and his soon to be wife were going to Edmonton to introduce the baby to her great grandparents (my husband's mother and father) At that time Michael reconnected with his father and told me that he was coming to the wedding. Of course my first response was, no way was that man coming to our son’s wedding at my house. A very wise woman then told me that it was Michael’s father and I had to let him come. It was very hard on me, but he gave me a chance to ask any questions I wanted and he would answer honestly.
After the wedding he went home, but he started calling me. We would talk almost every day. He asked me if I thought we could do this. Meaning get back together. I couldn’t leave Toronto because I was taking care of my mother. We decided he would leave Yellowknife and move to Toronto. I flew to Edmonton and we drove across the country together spending time talking and planning. We arrived back in Toronto in November and by February he was gone again. He could not live in the big city. The kids were devastated again that their father had left even though they were both in their 30’s.
To make a very long story a little shorter we were remarried in 2013 in Yellowknife and that is where we are living very happily now, in Yellowknife NWT.
I know through all of my life’s trial I have never doubted the Lord. I knew that even though I hadn’t heard from my husband for 20 years that we were not done with each other. Being a single parent I had a very hard time feeding and taking care of the kids, but the Lord never let us down. Even though I wasn’t always faithful, He was faithful to me.
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9