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A little girl (11 yrs old) and her sister (13 yrs) old their mama, who was the heartbeat of the home died very suddenly and unexpectedly.
After her death, these girls suffered horribly at the hands of the ones who should have been caring for and protecting them. Their own father wanted to put them in an orphanage, but when he found out that he would have to pay a monthly fee for this "service" he didn't want to do it. (Now, this man had plenty of money and was very adept and skilled at making money.)
He put his two little girls in situations where they were neglected, mistreated and abused even sexually molested. Unfortunately, he also sexually molested at least one of these girls. The older girl found him in bed with their aunt about two weeks after their mother's funeral. (This aunt "tricked" him into marrying her said she was pregnant, but she wasn't. They did get married, but spent at least 30 years hating each other. They were miserable.)
These girls had an aunt and uncle who loved them and nurtured them and took them in every chance they got, but often the daddy would prohibit the girls from seeing them just out of spite and meanness.
Now, according to the world's standards, these two girls had every "right" to be prostitutes, alcholics, drug users, etc. No one would have blamed them. But let me tell you about these two women. They are strong Christians strong in their faith and walks, strong in leading others to the Lord, strong in counseling and discipling others in their faith, and very strong and firm in the hard stands that they are willing to take. They both became Christians at very young ages IN SPITE of their circumstances, married fine Christian men, and raised their children to be strong Christians as well.
All this to say, that God may not have "caused" these horrible and unspeakable things to happen, but he was never, ever surprised. He was, and is, ALWAYS and at ALL TIMES in control. Romans 8:28 in action
The youngest of the two girls is my mother. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of people on whose lives she has had a tremendous impact mine included. She did NOT allow the horrific circumstances in her life over which she had NO CONTROL to control her.
She had a heart full of forgiveness and she dearly loved her father.
And now, for the good part....
One day, YEARS later (I must have been around 5 or 6 yrs old at the time), a woman called my aunt and introduced herself. She asked my aunt how she was doing, was her husband a Christian, how about her children ... Then, she began asking the same questions about Mary, my mother.
She ended by telling my aunt that she just wanted to know "HOW" her prayers had been answered. You see, she was a good friend of my grandmother. She told my aunt that she stood at the graveside service and she knew that "those two girls" were going to have a hard time of things. She promised the Lord RIGHT there to pray for those two girls EVERY DAY BY NAME. And she did. She continued to pray for my mother and my aunt BY NAME every day until she died. When I was diagnosed with cancer, who do you think that I wanted praying for me???
Do the prayers of one person make a difference?
*This is a TRUE story with a happy ending!!!
There is SO much more to this story. It is so amazing. Even now so many years later I am still getting bits and pieces of my mother's life story. What she lived through as a child and young person is unreal. It is totally by God's grace, and God's grace alone, that she is who she is today.
An interesting note: My mother's favorite Bible character/story is Joseph and his story of difficulties and forgiveness. She has always maintained that God is in control of even the smallest of circumstances. She has never used her past as an excuse to do the wrong thing, and she never let us (my sister and I) do it either. She refused to be a "victim" of her circumstances. I would say, that through God's grace, she is quite the victor! I dearly loved my grandfather. He was saved when my mother was around 19 or 20, and spent the rest of his life repenting for his actions that caused so much pain.
We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family."you think I should have a baby?"
"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.
"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations ..."
But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation. I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.
Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years-not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs. I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future.
I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts. My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.
"You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings. This blessed gift from God ... that of being a Mother.
Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be moms.
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