OHIO VALLEY — Local author Betty Jones Rawlings of Mason, W.Va., used her “at home” time during the COVID-19 pandemic to finish a project.
Rawlings has completed the book, “Short Stories About My Best Friend” which she describes as part personal experience, part history with humor, part Christian teachings, and a narrative of what she said was “her husband’s two heavenly visits before leaving earth for heaven.”
According to Rawlings, one of the author’s favorite stories is an unplanned International Airport Meeting with student Army chaplains.
“Only God could organize such a meeting and put it together with such perfect timing,” she said.
A second favorite story is when she was mistakenly interviewed and hired as a hostess on the Mississippi Queen. She explained was only standing on the dock watching and listening to the calliope music when a gentleman embarked from the vessel and thanked her for coming. He started asking some rather personal questions. When the Captain embarked, the gentleman shouted out that he had just hired the needed hostess, and she could bunk in with the musicians. It was a case of mistaken identity. With apologies extended, the Queen’s PR employee was kind enough to take a picture that Betty shares in the book.
Rawlings said her own story starts around the time she was 45 and attended a Christian worship service on the grounds of Saint John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston, W.Va. She explained a guest “Prophetess from Indiana” spoke a “prophetic word that Rawlings had the gift of a scribe, and she could see a book in her to come forth.”
Rawlings said she “scoffed silently, just like Abraham’s wife Sarah did when a visitor told Abraham Sarah would give birth to a child at age 90.” She explained she didn’t understand or receive her words of prophecy, thinking she did not have the time to read a book, much less write one.
Not until she reached the age of 80 did Rawlings develop a desire to write to pass on family stories and secrets to her children, and “how she had walked with Jesus since the age of three.”
Then one morning, she said she “read an article stating that God did not call Moses until he was 80.” Later that day, she said she found an old magazine with advertisements and read, “God does not choose the best among us. He chooses the foolish and the weak and shines himself through them.”
Twice in one day, God had confirmed it was His plan for her to write a book, she said.
However, halfway through her writing, she found herself needing a proofreader as friends that could help were suffering severe health problems. By coincidence (and she said “we know with God there are no coincidences”), Rawlings purchased groceries at a local establishment and mentioned she needed help writing some family stories. The clerk spoke about her retired high school English teacher and said, Mrs. “O,” was a neighbor of Rawling’s.
A telephone call went out to the retired teacher who lives two blocks away. She retired from Wahama High School, and Rawlings lives two houses “downriver” from the school. And they both had studied and lived on campus at Glenville College in 1957 and 58 and still never met.
“The two 80-ladies, within walking distance of each other, became a student and teacher team,” Rawlings said. “How does God do these things?”
Right away, Mrs. “O,” noticed she could see two different styles in Rawlings writing: reportedly one choppy and one smooth and flowing. Rawlings said she “informed her that the Holy Spirit was her best friend and He was the co-author. When He is helping, His words come smooth but fast. She had trouble keeping up. After some rewriting, the book became a smooth finished work.”
Rawlings describes herself as “a sinner saved by grace” who “ met Jesus at the age of three.”
Her first church responsibility was as a church organist and youth choir director.
She said, after “receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1979,” she realized “her place in the body was that of the ‘unidentified minstrel’ (2 Kings 3:15).” She plays her piano music, and “the Holy Spirit ministers,” she explained.
She also feels God also “gifted” her as “a teacher of golden nuggets from His Word.” She has been licensed and ordained through Kingsway Fellowship of Des Moines, Iowa, for 20 years. She has been associated locally with Fisherman’s Net Ministries for 25 years under the leadership of Rev. Annetta Durst.
For those looking for a unique gift this holiday season, “Short Stories About My Best Friend” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, and locally at Willa’s Bible Bookstore in Point Pleasant, W.Va.