It was just another summer day in early August. The burning sun was unmerciful as it baked the Kansas ground. My little blue Honda Civic worked hard to maintain enough cool air to keep me comfortable as I traveled down the highway. Fields shorn of summer wheat, fields green with beans, and fields of dry corn flew past my window.
I reached down and pushed a tape into the tape deck. It was enjoyable having some time alone. It was a rare treat. Most my days were spent surrounded by our four beautiful children. As much as I loved them, I needed a break. Our oldest, Ryan, was eleven. He was followed by Kaytlin age 9, Alex age 7, and Cory age 5.
Today I was headed to the doctor’s office to have some laser hair removal done on my face. I was so self-conscious about the dark hair that grew on my chin, that I had decided to splurge and have these laser treatments to eliminate the problem. This was to be the last of the treatments, and I was beginning to realize it was futile and a waste of money. So many things in life were that way.
My thoughts began to wander back over the past couple years as the music played in the background. I thought of a young girl who had been in our youth group during my husband’s first ministry. Through a series of poor choices, she had found herself in desperate circumstances. She was pregnant and unable to care for a third child. She was separated from her husband. The identity of the baby’s father was uncertain. She had decided to give her baby up for adoption. I talked to her on the phone nearly weekly. I helped her find adoptive parents. I went to be with her when the baby was born. My heart felt literally felt torn apart as I watched her deny herself and give that precious baby boy a better chance in life. I had continued to encourage her and support her, but I had just learned she was arrested for manufacturing meth. It was devastating to me. I wondered if my efforts had been wasted.
Memories of a neighbor came to the surface. She was only nineteen years old, the mother of two small girls, and on her own. Her boyfriend was in jail. Hours were spent encouraging her to choose better for her life. I drove her around to look for work, helped her find needed things for her apartment, and encouraged her to look to God. She found work, was keeping her apartment up, and seemed to be open to learning about God. Then the boyfriend got out of jail. It was back to drugs and the old life. It just happened overnight. Why had I spent that time helping her?
Then I thought about another friend that had a fun personality. My husband and I spent time with her and her husband and children. They came to church some. As we became acquainted I found she had a deeply troubled past. We used any spare time we had to do things with them. Finally one evening I did a Bible study with her about accepting God’s salvation for her life. That night my grandpa passed away. When I told my friend the next morning, she couldn’t believe how calm I was. I explained Grandpa had suffered for years, and I knew he was in a better place now. She decided right then and there that she needed that assurance. She was soon baptized into Christ. How we rejoiced! Problems don’t go away just because you have Jesus though. Before long she became interested in someone other than her husband. I talked and I counseled. We prayed and prayed, but she just wouldn’t listen. She left the church and her husband. Discouraged was how I felt. Why did I try?
Just then a song by Ray Boltz came over the speakers in the car. It was entitled “Thank You for Giving to the Lord”. I’ve always loved that song as it talks about going to heaven and people coming up to you and saying “thanks” for what you had done on earth for them that had led them to the Lord. Right now though I felt like no one would have any reason to thank me when I reached heaven. I was about in tears. My heart cried out, “Lord, you know I’ve tried. I’m tired. I know I have to do the right thing even when it seems futile, but I’d sure like to see some results.”
As my car bounced over the railroad tracks that crossed the highway, there appeared before me in my mind a picture of a little girl. Her tear-stained eyes looked deep into mine. She was under five years of age with blonde to light brown shoulder length hair. But it was those eyes. They were so distinctive. I would know them anywhere. She was precious, and she was crying because she needed a home. I began to cry and said audibly, “Lord, I’ll take her, but you have to help me find her.”
The remaining fifteen minutes of my drive, I worked on getting my emotions under control. I was shaken. There was no way to describe my experience other then a vision. It was so real.
I stumbled through the hair removal treatment, feeling like I was in a daze. I knew that even though I still had lots of unwanted facial hair to contend with, I wouldn’t be coming back. What was I thinking throwing away all that money for my own vanity when I could be using it to reach a little soul for Jesus?
On the thirty minute drive home, I began praying for that little girl God had shown me. I asked God to protect her and hold her in his arms until we could find her. I knew she was real, and God had just created a place for her in my heart.
Upon arriving home I sat at our dining room table and over lunch shared the experience with my husband, Les. His heart was touched, and he asked with unshed tears in his eyes, “Well, what are we going to do?”