Seven years old and beautiful. Dark curling hair, dark eyes radiating intelligence. She walked with a straight back, emanating determination. I watched her. Every Sunday I watched, as she walked down the church aisle, glancing over her shoulder to be sure her younger brothers followed. Seven years old, and she was the head of the family. Her mother, a sweet and devoted Christian woman, had mental issues serious enough to prevent her from mothering the children she loved. Her father, well meaning, but handicapped, was not much help. The girl child took it on.
I fell in love with that little girl. I would have scooped her up and taken her home and tried to give her the world. That being impossible, I simply watched. And wished I could do more.
The church nurtured her, gave her a social life and friends in the youth group. She did well in school, despite beyond-the-normal burdens. As she entered her teen years, I sent an occasional note:
“I’ve been praying for you for years, rejoicing in how well you are doing in school and in life. I want you to know that I am here for you. If ever there is anything you need, anything at all, please call me.”
She was serious about her high school courses and about preparing for college. I knew she had no room of her own and assumed there was no quiet corner in her chaotic home. I wrote again.
“It is very quiet in our home and we have an extra office with a computer you can use to study. You don’t need an appointment; we’ll give you a key to the house if you want to use the space.”
I assured her we were serious; she could come anytime and as often as she liked. She smiled and thanked me. But she never came. I continued to pray for her well being.
Several years passed. She dated a young man for a long time, but people who knew them better than I felt the relationship was not good for her.
My husband and I moved away to another state and lost touch.
Until we connected one day via Facebook. I don’t remember who contacted whom, but her message was warm and intimate and seemed to know how much I cared. She’d met someone new and moved a thousand miles away to be with him. Ah, I hoped, hoped, hoped he was someone good for her.
And then… we received an invitation to her wedding. We wanted so much to attend, but we were in Europe at the time and had to settle for photos on her Facebook page. Sometime later, she wrote to say she and her husband would be visiting his family in Seattle. Could we get together?
We spent a glorious day together at our home and around town. It was a special joy to see how well she was doing… how happy she looked… how well her job in a specialized field was going … And especially, it was wonderful to meet her young husband. She sure picked a winner this time; he is a prince of a man! A super fine person and obviously devoted to her. I rejoiced in this union. A union that now has created a baby.
The dark-eyed little girl has grown up – despite the almost impossible circumstances of her childhood – and God has blessed her in every way. But what blesses me is how, without my having actually done anything, a friendship was created through prayer. Somehow, those prayers communicated my care. She knew. She reciprocated. Through her, God enriches my life.