Pray to God….sometimes it helps

My little seven-year-old granddaughter spent the night with me.  She has a stuffed character from Dr. Seuss that always joins us for games.  When she was very little we bought this character for her.  I named him Willie, gave him a voice and she began interacting with him.

As time has passed Willie has become a part of the family.  He goes with us to the movies, colors with us (I, of course, have to use his hands to help him color) and we have some great conversations between the three of us (Willie, my granddaughter and me).

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In the afternoon we started to play a game and she wanted Willie to join us.  Although we searched all over the house we could not find him.  It was hard to believe we could not locate him since we have packed up most of the “stuff” in our house in preparation for moving and there is not a lot of places he could be.

After a few minutes of searching my granddaughter stopped right in the middle of the living room and said,

“I’m going to pray to God.  Sometimes it helps.”

She then proceeded to pray a simple prayer.

“God, help us find Willie.  Amen.”

After the prayer I turned around and immediately saw Willie.  He was sitting behind my recliner.  We had walked around that chair several times and had not seen him.  But there he was.

I had to laugh to myself at her comment….”sometimes it helps.”

I thought of how much we probably all need to take that attitude.  When problems arrive, too often I try to figure out what I can do, I talk to family and friends for solutions, and I even “google” it.

Not that those things are wrong but what if I first said,

“I’m going to pray to God.  Sometimes it helps.”

 

Our Love Story – “Her name will be Barbara”

 

 

“We as a community of friends are gathered here in God’s presence to witness Paul and Barbara’s renewal of commitment to one another and to ask God’s continued blessings on them. Marriage, like our creation as men and women owes its existence to God. It is His will and purpose that a husband and wife should love each other throughout their life. Shall we pray?”

This was how our Pastor began the ceremony when my husband and I renewed our wedding vows on our 25th anniversary.   It was a special day as we shared with family and friends the story of how we met.  Almost seven years have passed since our celebration of 25 years and we still feel the same.  As we approach Valentine’s Day I love to remember that story.

Here’s the story!

While living in the state of Washington, my husband, Paul, found himself a single father trying to raise two teenagers. Needing support, he returned to his home town to be near family. He was very lonely and began to pray for a Christian wife. Since he was a minister and also loved to sing, he asked God if it would be possible that this wife would also play the piano and be able to work with him in the ministry.

Her name will be Barbara

While praying, he felt impressed in his spirit that God would grant him that request and that his future wife would be named “Barbara.” He was afraid at first to share that thought with anyone as he felt they would think he was crazy. But it was so real to him he needed to reveal it to someone. He finally related that information with a couple at the large church he was attending.

Four months later I walked into the church with my two young daughters.

While living in Southeast Missouri, my first husband was accidentally killed leaving me with two small daughters to care for. Everything I read about grief told me that I should make no sudden changes or moves for at least a year. However, after a year of trying to make it far from home, I decided to return to Illinois where my family could give me much-needed support. While it was great to be close to my family again, I still carried a heavy load of grief and sorrow. I tried to be strong for my two young daughters, but after a while I realized I did not want to continue living alone. Although I longed to find happiness again, I knew that my daughters’ happiness and safety were more important than my own. If I ever remarried, it would have to be a very special man who would love my daughters as well as me.

I asked God to give me a godly husband who would help me raise my daughters.

One year after moving back to Illinois, I decided to attend the church where my parents were members. When I walked in the foyer, I saw a couple that I recognized. They were friends with my first husband’s parents but I had not seen them in years. They seemed extremely happy to see me, but it was only months later that I found out why my sudden appearance at their church was so exciting to them. They were the couple that Paul had shared his secret with.

After greeting me, they hurried to locate my future husband and tell him, “There she is.”

He had no idea what they meant until they told him the red-head that had just walked into the church was named Barbara. A few weeks later Paul asked me on a date and the rest, as they say, is history.

And a good history it has been. Paul has proven to be a wonderful husband and, even more important, a wonderful father to my two daughters, who are now grown.

 

Our “Gentle Giant”

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Me holding the walking stick my grandson made me to help me with my arthritic knees.  It stands by my front door as a daily remind of his grandson’s love for me.

Today is the birthday of one of my grandsons, Matthew.  Remembering when he was born, I always stop and thank God that he is here with us.  Shortly after Matthew was born, they had to send him by helicopter to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.  His lungs were not developed enough and he was placed in NICU.  They told us

“IF he makes it through the night, his chances to live will go up.  However, he will probably always be weak and ‘puny’.”

I still remember my daughter and son-in-law’s faces as the ambulance crew came in the room to take Matthew away.  The pain and fear in their faces were beyond description.  While I was so worried as the grandmother, I cannot begin to imagine what they must have felt.

My son-in-law, Rob, is a St. Louis Blues hockey fan.  When their first two children came home from the hospital, they were wearing St. Louis Blues shirts.  When Rob realized Matthew would not be staying at the same hospital as his mother and would be at a hospital several miles from us all, he brought a hockey puck and asked if he could leave that with Matthew.  I thought my heart would break, as I saw him lift the incubator curtain placed over Matthew’s crib to place the hockey puck close by his side.

He made it!

As my husband loves to say, “It’s not over until God says it’s over,”  Matthew not only made it through the night, he has grown up to be anything but weak and puny.  Standing at over 6′ 7″ tall, he is a giant of a man.  Strong and not one to mess with, yet he has a gentle way about him with little kids and his grandma.  Because of his kind ways to me, I began thinking of him as a “gentle giant.”   That is also the name his mother’s students have given him.  He has several times helped his mother with recess and special events for her kindergarten and first grade students.  They love this “giant” of a man who is so gentle and kind with them.

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Happy day with my two grandsons.  Matthew is the handsome one on the left.   

 

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Here you can see how tall he is!  Not a puny little guy!  And I love his red beard!

Today, I remember:

  1. As a baby, he had beautiful blond curls.  When he was two years old, I went running to the car as his parents pulled into our driveway after a drive of several hundred miles to visit us.  I opened the door of the car where he was sitting and was shocked to find the blond curls gone.  My “little” baby was gone and in his place was a little boy.  I cried a little.
  2. The “miracle” he experienced when he was 5 or 6.  His mother had told him to clean his room.  Wanting to play instead, he told her he could not clean the room because he was blind.  When Mom responded that he had better clean his room or “else,” he suddenly exclaimed, “It is a miracle!  God touched me and I can see!”  I laughed until I cried.
  3. “Matthew’s School.”  When his older brother and sister went off to school, he felt left out.  So, I started a school for him in my home.  I gave his mother a list of school supplies and assigned homework.  We took field trips.  When he was old enough to go to school, I cried a little.
  4. Last year he had three days of vacation.  He took that time (and spent his own money) to fly to Illinois to spend a couple of days with his grandparents.  I cried a little.
  5. This year he made me a walking stick.  I have arthritis in my knees and he wanted to do something to help me out when taking a walk.  I cried a little.

So thankful that this little baby has grown into a fine young man – even if he makes me cry.

Happy Birthday Matthew!