Penny Marshall & Buffy Wiseman
On any given Sunday you don’t have to look too far past the first few rows in church to find two pillars of faith, sisters that hold on to one another, as they lift their hands in praise to God.
Penny Marshall and Buffy Wiseman have a story that needs to be told as inspiration to others and for the Glory of God. Through instant and unexpected circumstances, they became widows at a very early stage in life only a few months apart.
God was weaving their beautiful tapestry, as only He can do, before they even realized it. Buffy had been watching HH sermons online from her home in South Carolina before her husband passed away so quickly. It was the catchy title of “Sexsessful” that caught her attention on a friend’s Facebook post. Both sisters had accepted Christ as their Savior years before; but were not actively plugged into a church when tragedy struck their lives.
Buffy moved back home to Murray soon after she was widowed to be near family and told Penny she wanted to start attending HH. Penny was experiencing the deep sadness and confusion that seeps in one’s soul after the sudden loss of her husband and knew she needed to find refuge in God. She claims that nothing else she was doing to fight the feeling of loss and loneliness helped.
Penny shared that without the love, acceptance, and understanding she receives from our church family she would not have made it through this first difficult year. She has a church history that didn’t teach about the forgiveness of sins; but she now walks in freedom of who she is in Christ Jesus! Penny says one of her favorite things about her new HH family is that they don’t criticize her and they accept her
right where she is. Her testimony is a real life story of how God provides and changes lives. Penny said, “I felt alone, like someone had cut off my arm; part of me was gone.” She claims that hugs from her husband of 28 years are one of the things she misses the most and that she is so grateful for the hugs she receives on Sunday morning. It’s a great life lesson for us all to remember that a simple hug can speak of God’s unending love and affection for His children.
Buffy explained that walking closer with the Lord and becoming an active part of our church was what helped to heal her aching heart. “I feel like I belong, accepted and loved here”, she said. As she was battling feeling lost and alone, she chose to find solace in serving others. Both sisters served in HHKidz, belong to a life group, and will start serving on Saturdays as our church reaches out into the community.
When asked about applying Romans 8:28 to their situations, they answered with amazing faith. Penny said, “There is a reason and it’s not meant for me to know why. I never blamed God, I just trust in the Lord. I have children to love and a business to run. I focus on my blessings.” She says that reconnecting with church and rebuilding her relationship with God has made all the difference.
Buffy replied, “I never doubted God’s love but didn’t understand why this happened to me. I couldn’t think and was living in a fog.” But now with her new found grace in the Lord, she is walking in faith daily.
They both tell how they first cried at church all time and never felt judged as they moved to the alter for prayer repeatedly. They share with a heartfelt attitude and a smile that Miss Diane prayed with them, loved on them, prayed
some more and now hugs them every time they meet at church.
Buffy says that she already felt God moving in her life again before her husband passed away. “That was grace”, she said, “Preparation of Grace” she affirms aglow
Penny tells how God answered so many of her prayers. She specifically prayed to get to know Pastor Chad and her church family. She is now helping with the windows and doors of the HH construction project and is getting to know everybody. “I prayed for that”, she shares with a beaming glow, adding “I wanted to give back what I can give.”
And as for their future, it is bright. Penny feels strong and happy again. She feels more like herself with each passing day and enjoys her close relationship with God. She says, “I know what He did for me through the fire and I am not going to slip back to where I was.”
Buffy exclaims that she is optimistic and fearless and looks forward to what lies ahead.
Truly God is changing lives through the presence of HH. It is a treasure and blessing to share this first story of God’s providence...there are many more to come.