The Great Depression of 1929 hit Margaret Corey, like a white-out blizzard. She was pregnant, her husband Arthur lost his job, and bills were piling up. Arthur slogged the streets, not only searching for work but also for an answer to the hunger in his soul. God found him, filled him with passion for the Gospel, and called him to full-time ministry. “I don’t have the faith for that!” cried Margaret. “Your faith will have to suffice for both of us.”
So begins a life of learning to trust God and her husband—an iron-minded, unconventional, and miracle-praying preacher.
January 20, 1987. Almost two months have gone by, but dates have not much meaning. I have been at death’s door—so they tell me. (The diary)
As I, Margaret Phenicie Corey, scribbled these words in my journal, I considered how abruptly the order of life can be thrown out of whack. My previous entry—two months earlier, on November 15, 1986—told of an unproductive elk-hunting trip and the gathering of twenty cousins, aunts, and uncles to celebrate the eighth birthday of my granddaughter, Janell Guderian. I also noted that during the festivities my wrists were sore and my entire body felt out-of-sorts.
Then I encountered a page full of snow-white silence.
Where was I during those weeks lost from the calendar? I don’t recall white tunnels or flashbacks of my life. I can only conjure up images of a ride to the emergency room on a mattress in the back of a van, and the machines and tubes of the hospital room, as they were portrayed to me by my daughters who were at my side.
My husband Arthur told me he is anxious to return to ministry with me at his side, but he agreed I needed more time.
“You can rest,” he said, “just chill out, as long as you need to.”
Chill out? I couldn’t quite capture the concept. Times to myself have rarely occurred since I married Arthur in 1929. For within months of our marriage, God launched us on a high-speed ride of full-time ministry…while adding one child after another to our windfall of a family. In 1987, however, I could choose to settle into a chill-out reprieve. I could make the gift of time count. And I could leave for others a legacy of love, hope, and faith.
With that perspective in my regenerating mind, I began to tread a path through my papers—half a century of epistle-length letters and scritch-scratch diaries—to revisit the lessons God has sought to teach me through His primer on faith. Perhaps even as He helped me find peace in the pressure cooker of ministry with my husband—while nurturing those entrusted to me—He would do the same for others. Thus, for kin and kind, I have untangled the threads of my experience, sorted the scraps of my learning, and stitched together a patchwork of my…well our…story.
I begin by looking back—way back.