Nov 20, 2017 • Written by Judy Episcopo
We have many godly older women at our church that have encouraging faith-filled stories to share with us. This is the testimony of Marion Koepke as we interviewed her about her life. May it inspire you as it has me.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES FOR YOU AS A WIFE AND MOM IN THE 1960’S?
I was married to a successful businessman in November 1959 and we had 3 children. During the 1960’s most women did not work outside the home unless they were divorced or single, so I stayed at home with my children. Don was gone a lot for business and I was left to raise the children practically by myself. Not only that, but the business world proved to be a big temptation for Don and he became an alcoholic.
HOW DID YOU COPE?
My marriage was empty. I was lonely, I knew I had talents and intelligence, but felt neglected and unappreciated. One day my neighbor came over waving a book and telling me I needed to read “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan. It seemed to be just what I needed! Through reading her book I saw the world in a whole new way. Betty Friedan described a life where high-powered women ruled. It was a world where women didn’t have to listen or cater to husbands. Their motto was, “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
I lapped this kind of thinking up. I was so dissatisfied with my marriage and my role. I had a hole in my heart but didn’t know what it was so I was seeking to fill it. I kept thinking there was something better and feminism seemed to be the answer!
HOW DID YOU COME TO PUT YOUR TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST?
I was always an avid reader and I had read the Bible. I loved going to church and Sunday School. I sang in choirs and even met my future husband there. But attending church and singing in the choir did not make me a Jesus follower. I had all this information in my head, but I had no heart knowledge, no personal relationship with Jesus.
Feminism was not helping me find satisfaction. It was making me more angry and discontent. My sister had come out to stay with us for several months while her husband was overseas. She had just become “born-again”, that is, trusting Jesus as her Lord and Savior by surrendering her life to Christ. John 3:3 says, “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”. I didn’t really understand what “born again” meant and she knew it. She found a Bible study for me and before she left for home she asked the ladies to “please help her dear sister become born again.”
Boy, did they ever! If God is called the Hound of Heaven, these ladies were His puppies! They invited me to their study, took me to Christian Women’s Club, prayed for me and became my friends! I had never had such close friends before. Through their love and friendship, on March 4, 1972 I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I became born again!
HOW DID KNOWING JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
I was completely changed! Because of Jesus’s love for me, I learned what real love is. A verse that changed my thinking was Romans 12:2 (TLB), “Don’t copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” My eyes were opened and I saw what the feminist movement was really about: self–centered beliefs, selfish ambition, “my rights”, and sexual freedom without consequence.
WHAT HELPED YOU GROW IN YOUR FAITH AND STAY ON TRACK WHEN LIFE CONTINUED TO BE DIFFICULT?
I was very blessed to have these ladies surround me with their friendship and teach me from the Bible about Christian love, marriage and family. This is critically important for every new Christian. The Bible became real to me. I was able to apply its truth to my life. Even though I had read it many times before, I finally could understand it. 2 Corinthians 3:15 says that when people who don’t believe in Jesus read Scripture, “a veil lies over their minds; but when a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.”
HOW DID YOUR HUSBAND RESPOND TO THESE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE?
The circumstances of my life did not change much. In fact, things became more difficult because by now, my husband was a full-blown alcoholic. My friends advised me not to preach to him. I was actually tempted to leave Christian tracts in the bathroom, but my friends reminded me to just love and pray for him. I have to say it was difficult and I wanted to give up. I Peter 3:1-2 encouraged me, saying, “In the same way you wives must accept the authority of your husband. Then even if some refuse to obey the Gospel, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.”
Two years later in a miraculous “Damascus Road “ experience, he too was born again. But Jesus was his Savior, not his Lord. He continued to struggle with alcohol. Again, it would have been easy to be discouraged and give up. But perspective had given me an appreciation for what is worth fighting for and I continued to love, pray and trust God.
Several years later he turned the driver’s seat over to the Lord and was delivered from his desire for alcohol. Our whole lives changed. He was once again the man I married and he became a real father to our children. God did a work of healing in our family. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has passed away and behold the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
MARION, YOU HAVE SHARED A FEW BIBLE VERSES IN YOUR STORY, WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE VERSES?
I have many, but I will say that my sister once told me she was convinced God wanted me to live a life where “the joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). I have always believed that was my special verse!