My Mother’s Faith

Anyone who knows my mother knows that she lives her life in total devotion to her Savior Jesus. Whenever she tells stories of experiencing God, it seems to me that the room we are in fills with sun rays of faith and love. If you asked her where her deep commitment to her Lord comes from, her answer would not be about the home she was raised in (it wasn’t a loving Christian home- not at all), and it wouldn’t have anything to do with having had an easy life (she hasn’t). No, her faith isn’t due to emotions, or a happy-go-lucky personality, or any other easily identifiable thing that might make someone think “Aha, this is the reason she is so ‘into’ her beliefs.” The reason my mother is so passionate about her faith is because of encounter. She has met Jesus personally. This is the story, in her own words, of when she met him for the first time.

She wrote this version of her story for a publication used for outreach to Jewish people, and the terms Yeshua and Messiah, which are references to Jesus, are a reflection of both the aim of the publication as well as the Messianic (Jewish-Christian) nature of her life story.

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In 1970 I met Messiah.

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1950 to Allan and Lillian Friedlander. Later we moved to Canton, Ohio where we began attending a local Synagogue. I attended Shabbat school weekly and learned more about my Jewish faith and customs. I grew up proud of my Jewish heritage, enjoying the traditions, the holidays, the Feasts, and being part of the chosen people of God. I believed in the one and only God of Israel but didn’t know Him personally as my heavenly Father.

Throughout my high school years I felt a great sense of dissatisfaction and loneliness even though I had good friends. I thought maybe in college I would find satisfaction and answers, but that also proved to be untrue. I lived a fairly upright and moral life following the Ten Commandments to the best of my ability and attending Temple. Because of this, I believed God should have rewarded me with happiness and fulfillment, so I blamed Him for my lack of it.

Then one spring evening at my parents’ home, we had a terrible argument, and I spoke very harshly to my father. I went to the bedroom, locked the door behind me, sat down, wept, and told God that I despised Him.

I do not remember falling asleep, but that night the Lord Himself appeared to me in a vision in my sleep. In my dream, I found myself alone in a small, empty room and there seemed to be a violent storm brewing. I heard thundering and became very frightened!

Suddenly I heard the voice of God. He spoke to me, convicting me of sin in my heart and in that moment I realized that I was wrong in my thinking and that my attempts to obey the 10 commandments would never be enough to satisfy God’s demand for perfect righteousness. I saw that no one could follow perfectly. I immediately began to cry out to Him, weeping in tears of repentance and asking for His forgiveness for my sins against Hm..

The next moment in this dream, I found myself sitting in the living room of our home with my parents and a few friends. I began to experience the incredible peace and presence of God filling the room. I looked to one side and saw someone standing there filled with this incredible brilliant light shining brighter than the sun in it’s strength. My parents ran from the room, but my friends remained. I went to find my parents but they refused to return with me. As I turned to walk back into the room, the Lord completely surrounded my entire being in His incredible light. And out of Him, in His brilliant light, came His Blood that started to pour into and through me, completely cleansing my heart, mind and soul.

All at once, I awoke with both of my arms and hands over my chest. I continued to experience the presence of God filling my entire being. He was filling me with His love, joy, and peace beyond anything I could ever have imagined.

I knew that it was God’s blood that completely cleansed and transformed me. In wonderment, I called a friend who reminded me of what the Hebrew Scriptures said about the Jews sacrificing a lamb and the high priest would take the blood and sprinkle it over the altar for the remission of Israel’s sins.

This foreshadowed God’s future plan of sending our Messiah to shed His blood as the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. Leviticus 17:11: For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

In Deuteronomy 21:23 it says, “cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree.” Yeshua became a curse for us when He hung on that tree 2000 years ago. He bore my sin and punishment as Isaiah chapter 53:5,6 so clearly states “that He was pierced for our transgressions and the Lord laid on Him the iniquities of us all” He overcame death as verses 10, 11 state “ though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering He will prolong his days, he will see the light of life and he will justify many and bear their iniquities”

Yeshua came to me and revealed that He is the promised Messiah. He will reveal himself to you also if you ask him with an open heart. He promises in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek for me with ALL your heart”.


Gail Sanders-Burdick


Coat of Many Nations, by Thomas Blackshear

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