“The worship song ‘Sing Hallelujah’ says, ‘The story isn’t over; it’s only just begun. You’ve written every word in perfect love.’ There were times in my life when I felt so alone and hopeless that I didn't believe that truth,” said Gail Dean.
“I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit with my parents and three brothers. Though my mother would try to get us to attend a neighborhood church on occasion, there was no real Christian focus in our family. My parents did the best they could with what they knew at the time, but it was very dysfunctional.
“Around the time I was 10, my mother converted to a religion that does not align with the Bible. She would often take my brother and me door-to-door with her as she tried to share her religion with others. One day, a kind, older, Christian woman invited my mother into her home. Through their encounter, they formed a friendship, and eventually, together they started a Bible study in our home.
“I recall after the first night of the Bible study, I told my mom how much I liked it. There was something there that drew me in. Little did I know that God was planting seeds in my heart that would bear fruit 17 years later (Isaiah 55:11).
“I had a very close relationship with my mother. When I was 12, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. My teen years were marked with anxiety and worry as I watched her battle through numerous surgeries and chemotherapy. When I was 21, she died from cancer. I was devastated. Heartbroken, I felt God had let me down and abandoned me.
“The next few years were filled with working on my career as a critical care nurse and trying to find someone to love me, believing it would fill the void and heal the pain in my heart. These relationships were never healthy and only led to more despair.
“At 27, I was tired of what the world had to offer. I knew something had to change. A family member suggested I attend a local church that had a ministry for single adults. Week after week, I would attend and listen to a pastor teach about a personal God that loved me so much that He sent His son to die for my sins, and by believing in Him I could have eternal life (John 3:16) and become a child of God (John 1:12).
“Those early seeds planted in the heart of a 10-year-old were beginning to grow.
“I surrendered my life to Christ. Through the Holy Spirit and godly believers He’d placed in my life, I began to study His Word and serve at my local church. Slowly my life began to change. I had a new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) that gave me a new perspective and purpose. Not only did I have the assurance of forgiveness and eternal salvation, but I had the peace and joy that I had been searching for all along (John 10:10).
“Nine years later, God opened a wonderful job opportunity for me in Phoenix. However, God had even greater plans for me. Upon moving, I joined a church and continued to study His Word. Three years later, He brought a very special man into my life. His name was Bruce. He knew and loved the Lord, and we married. During our 26 years together, we were blessed with raising two boys, welcomed a beautiful daughter-in-law, and were part of a church family.
“In 2008, a smoldering multiple myeloma transitioned into an active disease, and my precious husband went to be with the Lord in 2015.
“During the dark difficult days of his disease and following, God was incredibly faithful to His promises. Through His Word and with the help of loving friends and family, He provided strength, comfort, and peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).
“With the struggles of grief and the realization that I was in a new season of life, God continued to demonstrate His faithfulness.
“He brought me to Dallas in 2017 to be near my kids and welcome me into the Watermark church family. He provided a community of believers that encourages me and willingly shares in the ups and downs of life. I began to pray that God would use me in this new season of life. He faithfully answered that prayer by providing a great mission field for me here in Dallas. It has been my joy to serve as a small group leader in the Thursday Women's Bible Study and as a volunteer at the Watermark Urgent Care clinic.
“The opportunity to study God's Word with other women and share the love of Christ with patients coming into the clinic has brought healing to my life and blesses me in ways I didn't think possible. I have seen God do extraordinary things through His church and His people.
“My story isn't over. With Christ, it's only just begun.”