Emerging from the door to her shiny new midnight blue Cadillac, she
straightened up to display a full-length mink coat worn over tailored
cowgirl clothing, lizard-skin boots, and silently shimmering turquoise
jewelry. The startled pastor pushed the church office door ajar for this
elegantly dressed lady to enter.
After a distressed silence, he inquired, “What’s your problem?”
She replied without hesitation. “I have every kind of problem
Remembering the car sitting in the parking area, and surveying the
clothing and jewelry, the minister groped for words.
“Ummm…you—uh—you look healthy!”
“Well, umm…you look like your business is good, whatever you do.”
But behind the obvious prosperity, the minister sensed her pain. He began talking and counseling with
this troubled woman.
“Well, first of all, it’s not so much your problems; it’s how you are reacting to them. Why don’t we thank
God for your problems and let Him begin to handle them?”
Half-heartedly, she mustered a faltering reply: “I’ll try.”
After prayer and more counseling, the lady drove home, trudged up the stone steps to the massive
front door, and went to the piano. After heart-rending moments, she began praying for God to take
control of her problems and heartaches.
“Thank you, Lord…I think! God, I can no longer handle it all. I need You to help me make it through
Embodied in the cry for help was a story intermixed with unutterable heartaches, heartaches, glorious
victories, international recognition, suicide attempts, miracles, and—more than all the rest—an
unquenchable God who would not let go of one of His special children.
Less than fifteen feet away from the upright piano where she sat praying, a cabinet full of scrapbooks
bore revealing tales of national and worldwide songwriting acclaim. Among this stack of mementos were
copies of records for which she had penned the lyrics and music—such gigantic Country and Popular
hits as “Waterloo,” a number one Billboard magazine recording in 1959; “The Long Black Veil,” an
immortal top ten song in Billboard, Hit Parade, The Music Vendor, Cashbox, and The Music Reporter;
and “PT-109,” a national hit song about Lieutenant John Fitzgerald Kennedy—a recording that received
feature write-ups from practically every wire service and segment of the mass media, including Time and
the New York Post.
But those scrapbooks of dusty memorabilia didn’t matter to the lady sitting at the piano. The long list of
songs and friends and moments were forgotten by a heart that was facing a momentous decision.
Wearily, she touched her skilled fingers to the ivory keys and began to play and pray a music
unconditional surrender. Suddenly, as she began to release the tight grip on her heart, a song started
I’m only human, I’m just a woman.
Help me believe in what I could be and all that I am.
Show me the stairway I have to climb;
Lord, for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time.
One day at a time, sweet Jesus,
That’s all I’m asking from You.
Just give me the strength to do, ev’ry day,
What I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus,
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way,
One day at a time.
As the words and music came, thoughts raced through her head: "Lord, I’ve thought that I always had to
be such an independent woman, but all of a sudden I’ve got more than I can handle."
Marijohn Wilkin had followed a wavering pattern away from the God of her childhood; now this same
patient Father was leading her through a wavering, but certain return to Him. Even with the surrender-
prayer uttered at the piano, the struggles weren’t assuaged. Her real story was just beginning.
Day Old Bread and Love
God Is Love
His Kind of Love
Did We All Go Off and Leve You in
Our Little Old Home Town?
Would You Do the Same for Him?
Speak a Little Louder to Us, Jesus
Mary, Don't You Weep
Everybody's Dying for Love
One Ticket to Loneliness
Thank You, Lord, for Creating Me
Give It Away
You Still the Troubled Waters
I Have Returned
One Day at a Time
Back in the Fold
Let Your Light So Shine
Lord, Let Me Leave a Song