I watched a family’s children as I grew, from the time I was 11 until I was an adult. But, what happened in between was a mighty story that would draw me to The Lord. I remember watching three or four or five children through the years. As a young girl, I would think to myself, these kids are amazingly easy to watch. They listen well and are a lot of fun. The family usually did not have an offer to make me financially to watch their children. There was no pre set price for my services. I did what I was asked and gladly accepted what they were able to pay. I was always rewarded with a small amount of pay and a great amount of gratitude. I was glad to be part of their lives…Fast forward to many years of this…..and then some…
I was 20 years old, I had one child, Zoey. And, was pregnant with my second by 3 months. My husband had left me to do drugs and carry on with his affairs. I was settled in an apartment three houses down from this family. I worked two jobs, and the mother of this mighty clan watched my daughter for free. Neither of us had two nickles to rub together. I couldn’t pay them, and they were generous. I had slipped into a horrific depression during this. The mama came down to my apartment and fetched my laundry to clean and fold. My daughter was invited almost daily to come play so I could nap when I had free time. I had no cable. I had no money. I didn’t even have car insurance. I was poooooooooorrrrrrrr. And, so were they. I was always asked if I had eaten. And usually I had not. I was brought over to their home to sit in a rocking chair while my daughter played. (It is one of those fondest memories) I was handed book after book to read and think on. I watched a mother, mother her children. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. I decided in those days, I wanted that peace in my life. I would make that a goal of sorts. I was fed often at the table of a family that I enjoyed being with. I was fed in more way than one. I was being taught from scratch how to correct my thinking, how to just sit and be, how to include God in my very logic. It was a gift of epic proportions. It was a seed sewn….with no expectation of return. I was invited to be a child in a large family that was not my own..I had a mother when mine wasn’t there. I set my mind to aspire to have what they had…It did not matter what I had to do. I wanted what they had. A family that loved each other.
It was a hot early summer day when I was 6 months pregnant with my son Noah that I got a phone call from three doors down. This mama called me and said “Hey, go out to your balcony.” I stepped outside, “can you see my suburban ?” Yeah, ” What is that?” “It’s your new bed” “My husband is gonna bring it over”
Oh, holy amazing day! I had been sleeping on my old old old couch for months while i was pregnant and I gathered baby items for this growing baby I was carrying around! I did not even think to try and find a bed for myself…..I cried right then and there…I cried for the love shown to me. I knew that this family must have had to trim the fat on a real lean diet to afford a brand new full size bed for me. Gracious, they ate a whole lot of beans and rice. They didn’t use the air conditioner during the summer….IN SOUTH TEXAS…because they couldn’t afford it. And, they thought enough of me to buy me a bed. A brand new bed……I never felt important in my whole life until that moment. I understood sacrifice in that very moment. My heart cried out to The Lord! I grieved the love I had never known in that moment and rejoiced in the gift….I bought a big piece of meat with my food stamps and we ate heartily…..The simplicity of an exchange of love in that context was just the very thing I needed to carry me through that difficult time. My heart was turned.
It was early July of my 20th year that I was baptized into the Army of The Lord. Pregnant, a wife without a husband, in a horrific stage of my life, happy, excited, and in a white dress. It is a testament to what genuine sacrifice and kind love can do to change a life. There is nothing in my life since then that has ever moved my life the same way.
I have continued in that direction from that day forward. Forward and back and forward again. There are jewels on a families crown in heaven for my soul. I will never stop telling that testimony. It is a testimony of love from Followers of Christ in my life. It changed EVERYTHING…..Love never fails…..