A Love From Above….
The youth service had been fun! Several of the kids Denise knew from high school were there, mostly girls, but a few boys. Of course, Roger was in charge. He wasn’t actually called a Youth Director, but in effect, he was one, since he taught young people’s Sunday School class and was also the leader of the youth services. He was really perfect for it since he was young too, Denise thought, and knew how to have fun with the rest of them. But, he also knew how to command respect and obedience, which was essential to a good leader of any kind, she decided.
They had opened the meeting with prayer, then sang several contemporary worship songs, had a brief teaching, very informally, with everyone sitting in a circle, and had open discussion on ‘peer pressure vs Godly conscience’. The refreshments, provided by alternating parents in the church, were then served.
There was a short time left for a game, Roger said, afterwards, in which the majority voted for a ‘sword drill’. Roger explained to Denise that it was a game where scripture verses were called out and everyone tried to be first in finding the actual verses, and had to read it aloud, as proof. The one who found the most scriptures first, during the time allowed, was the winner. Of course, Roger was keeping score!
Denise was so embarrassed! She hardly knew the books of the Bible, much less which one was where! She made a promise to herself, and to God, that she would study hard to become familiar with His Word, and where to find it!
But no one dared mention that Denise had not succeeded even once, she supposed since she was new in the group. Thankful for that, she went with the others to the Bible study in the main auditorium, surprised that she found Roger walking along beside her. She was even more suprised when he sat down beside her as she found Nana and Papa’s pew.
The ‘in-depth’ Bible study, led by the Pastor, was interesting, but left a lot of questions in Denise’s mind. Man, did she ever have a lot to learn. Well, she probably would be learning the rest of her life, she told herself, refusing to get bogged down in the details of the things she didn’t yet understand.
In the process of exchanging greetings and good-byes after church, Denise overheard Papa inviting Roger to go to Todd’s ballgame with them. Oh, that’s tomorrow night, Denise realized. hoping Roger would go. He was fun to be with, and such a sincere guy, so different from Jon!
She heard Roger comment that it sounded like fun, and that he would enjoy going. Denise caught Papa’s eye and gave him an approving smile.
By the time they arrived back at the farm, it was already bedtime. And Denise was feeling sleepy and tired, so they all went right to bed. Denise was thankful for a clear conscience and the peace and joy of the Lord as she drifted off to sleep.
A loud, continuous ‘beep-beep-beep* aroused Denise, as she realized it was time to get up, if she was going to get any studying done before going to the hospital. But she felt so tired! She could sleep another hour, she decided, and start the Bible study program tomorrow. One more day won’t make that much difference, she reasoned to herself. But, her conscience was sharpened, and she made herself get out of bed, get into the shower in order to get awakened thoroughly. She had made a promise to herself and to God, and she was going to keep it!
Awake and alert, now, she sat at the small desk in her room. She hadn’t heard anyone else up yet, and was glad, as she still felt a little awkward about reading and praying. She read, beginning with the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 1, as Papa had suggested some time back. She wasn’t sure she understood it all, but she was trying, anyway.
She remembered how Roger had talked about ‘putting on the armor’, so she turned to Ephesians 6:13, which was marked for her. Reading through it once, she started her confession as Roger had instructed her, paraphrasing the sentences to make it personal.
Denise still didn’t understand all that Roger had told her about putting on the armor of God, but she did realize it was to prepare her for spiritual battles. Having done this, she began to just talk to her new heavenly Father, thanking him for the priviledge of being His child, and asking to be taught his will.
The day well begun for Denise, she heard Nana and Papa stirring in their bedroom. Looking at the clock, she put other things aside and began to dress for the day.
When Denise finally got to the nurse’s station, she noticed all the nurse’s busily talking in a group. She wondered what was going on. Maybe a new patient, she thought, although it was seldom that one was admitted who could cause this much excitement!
When they saw Denise standing at the window, Denise noticed the excitement increase. “What’s the deal?” she asked curiously.
“Denise, you wouldn’t believe who is in Joanie Weston’s room. She looks just like you! I thought you’d gotten your hair cut when I saw her! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found out it wasn’t you, after all!
Confused and curious, Denise had to investigate. Surely, they were exaggerating! But, when she opened the door to Joanie’s room, she looked at Pam, who, with short, curly, strawberry blonde hair, sky blue oval eyes, and long dark lashes, looked just like Denise’s mirror image, except, perhaps a little older, more sophisticated.
The girl stared at Denise, evidently thinking the same thing, Then the two stared at Joanie in disbelief.
“Pam, this is Denise. Denise, I’ve told you about Pam. my niece. I’m glad you two could meet. As you can see, you two look an awfully lot alike. You both look very much like my mother, Pam’s grandmother. She passed away several years ago.” Joanie hesitated, looking down for a moment. Then, looking up again, continued, “I’ve got some pictures, Denise, if you’d like to see them. I suspect that she is your grandmother, too. I hope you’re not disappointed if it proves out that you’re my daughter!”
Glancing at Pam, then turning back to Joanie, Denise said, “No, I’m not at all disappointed, Joanie. I’ve been pretty sure ever since that first visit, with the birthdates being the same. It’s a real relief to me, to know that I was loved, especially by someone as sweet and nice as you!”
And in a moment of impulse, Denise leaned forward, and hugged Joanie tightly. Joanie returned the embrace lovingly, as Pam watched, speechless. It was a happy time. Tearful, but brief, as Denise had to get back to work. Promising to return as soon as she could, she left the room.
Almost dazed, very happy, and still amazed at the likeness of her cousin, she made her rounds with the same smile and attentiveness that her patients loved.
Before leaving the hospital that day, Denise, Joanie and Pam had a good visit, exchanging addresses, phone numbers, and made promises to exchange photographs. Denise hugged them both, promising to visit more tomorrow, then hurried off to get ready for Todd’s ballgame. It was about fifty miles away, so they would have to leave early.
“Oh, Denise, honey, you’re not gonna believe what the Lord has done!” Nana exclaimed, as Denise walked through the kitchen door on arrival. I got a phone call from Belgium today! You mother called to talk to me!”
“Is Dad OK? What happened? Why did she call?” Denise questioned anxiously. She knew the feelings Mom had toward Nana, so it had to be something really important!
“Oh, Honey, the Lord is so good! You know that we’ve been praying for your mom and dad for years, that the Lord would open their spiritual eyes, and reveal His love to them. Well, Dorrie said something about getting ‘Peter and Paul’ for tour companions this last few days, and apparently, they ministered to them. Anyway, Dorrie called just to ask me and Papa to forgive her, and said that she was so sorry, and that she had been so wrong about everything! It was a different girl that I talked to today, Honey, a girl I knew a long, long time ago! Praise the Lord, our prayers have been answered!”
“Nana, I don’t know what to say. Are you sure that’s what she meant? You know, she was pretty set in her theories. Are they still gonna be home this weekend?” Denise asked.
“No, in fact, she asked if I would go ahead, and help you get your school shopping done. This couple that they got hooked up with asked them to tour the Holy Land with them, so they’re gonna be a few days late. But, I’m just thrilled. I can’t wait for my little girl to come back!”
Denise grinned shyly. She couldn’t believe her grandmother was talking like that about her mother! But, who would ever have thought that a trip to Europe for her parents could bring so many changes to their lives, hers, Moms and Dads! Yes, it had to be an answer to Nana and Papa’s faithful prayers!
A little while later, riding in Nana’s older, but luxurious car, Papa drove by a farm not far from his own to pick up Roger. “Papa, I didn’t know Roger lived out here! I just assumed he lived in town!” Denise said suprised.
“Oh, yeah. He’s been living out here ever since the Alexander’s moved off to Houston. I’m suprised you didn’t know it.” Papa responded playfully, looking at her in the rear view mirror.
It didn’t take Roger long to come out. Nana offered to let him sit in front, volunteering to ride in back with Denise, but Roger insisted it would be a pleasure to share the seat with Denise, and had everybody laughing. Denise caught a pleased glance between Nana and Papa as Roger climbed into the backseat.