Miraculous Interventions in Life
by Carol Ledford
By BILL DUNCAN
Writing a memoir is a revolutionary challenge for anyone, but to lay your soul bare is a challenge most of us would not take. That is exactly what Carol Ledford of Canyonville does in her new book, "Miraculous Interventions in Life," a candid account of her life’s journey from a young child whose life was filled with hopelessness, abandonment, near death experiences, rejection and uprooting.
She plainly states she could not have survived all of these traumas except through miraculous interventions. Carol has a doctorate in theology and is an ordained minister.
From that background readers might think she is going to give the reader a fire and brimstone tongue lashing, but inside the covers of this small book is a story of hope and as Carol says, she is living proof that the "miraculous happens every day." Carol was born to Ruth and Sidney Mason in 1936 in Coronado, Calif. Her father abandoned the family shortly after her birth because he didn’t want to be saddled with a family. Her first home she was with her maternal grandmother in San Diego and her first bed was a dresser drawer.
She recalls meeting her biological father only one time when she was three years old and after that brief meeting, being told by her mother that she would never see her father again. She didn’t and learned at age eight, that in 1945 her father was shot down and killed in a bombing mission over Germany.
This would not be the only encounter Carol had with death, in fact, she prophetically writes: "I was very lonely being the only child in the home. Our home was filled with death and quietness around every corner."
Death and tragedy were very much a part of her growing up years. She recalls her mother remarried, but only for a short while. Her stepfather left because he didn’t want the responsiblity of a child.
"I was beginning to feel like I must be quite a burden to everyone as my father didn’t want me and now my stepfather didn’t want me."
It was her materal grandmother that became her "mother" and gave her a purpose for her life. "My grandmother taught me many important lessons in life," she wrote. "The one lesson I will always remember is that I should always learn something from others."
She did that her entire life, a life that dealt her a continuous trial for survival, but as she recounts those trials she remembers how her grandmother told her to trust God who had better days ahead for her. Her life was in constant change. As a young woman while living in Redding, Calif., she met Herman Joling and in 1954 they were married and started a family, but tragedy didn’t stop happening in her life.
One of her children developed a brain tumor. A grandchild would die tragically. Herman was stricken with a heart attack and nearly died during open heart surgery and then had a second eposide when a staph infection got into the surgical site and he was near death. "His life was saved only by a miracle," she is convinced.
One day after Herman was fully recovered the couple, now at a time when all the children were married and settled and grandchildren became the joy of their life, Carol and Herman are settling in for a relaxed life of growing old together. As a routine, the couple liked to have coffee and conversation together each morning. While they were happily engaged in that ritual, Herman suddenly slumped over.
It was June 1992 and Herman was dead. Carol decided to study for the ministry. At a church potluck she met a widower, Robert Ledford, a tall, polite, Georgia-born Southerner. Romance came back into her life and she and Bob were married and moved to Canyonville.
"As I look back over my life I see the many amazing things that God has done," she wrote. "I remember that little girl who felt so lonely and so rejected. It has been a long process, but God has turned that little lonely girl into a mature, busy woman who feels loved and fulfilled in life."
About the only preaching I found in the book was an occasional scripture quote to illustrate a point — and that point being that life, no matter how difficult it seems, has a purpose.
(Bill Duncan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)