“My leader says you have to take me twice. Can we go this Sunday?” Stacie sucked her soda with the sound of a garbage disposal clogged with dirty silverware. I adjusted my glasses and scanned through the booklet then passed it over to Craig. He gulped as loud as I did.
Stacie had been invited to a church club for children. So far, our neighbors had been taking her each Wednesday night – giving Craig and me some much needed alone time. “I haven’t been to church since I was in ninth grade. My parents pulled us out because of some deacon thing.” I awaited Craig’s thoughts on the matter. He took another bite of his hamburger dripping juices down his four o’clock shadow.
“I never envisioned church as being part of our lives. I haven’t been to one since I went to a church camp and came home and broke all my rock and roll records.” He laughed. “Mom thought I was losing it.” He wiped his mouth on a wad of cardboard napkins. “My old man said going to church was a waste of a good Sunday.”
“At least we got to sleep in.” I reached for the remaining fries. “My cousin once tried to convince me that the great flood really happened.” I rolled my eyes. “The only real miracle in my life then was I got accepted into college and was granted a student loan.” I patted my husband’s arm. “And, of course, meeting you.” Craig hooked the last fry from my fingers.
“Can I please go? I need to earn the next badge.” Stacie reached over and grabbed my pickle. “The teacher said I would like it.” I couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm and turned again to Craig. He shrugged his shoulders leaning back into the cracked vinyl booth.
“Sure, Stacie-dacie. We’ll do it. What can two Sundays hurt?” He winked at me.
Once we made our promise, we had no inkling of its part in the transformation God planned for our three lives. Evidently, He included the help of a little girl.
I sat in church that next Sunday in my borrowed dress next to my husband in his borrowed tie sweating out each passing minute. Several men in suit coats pumped our hands in greeting. Women turned in their pews and complimented us on our beautiful daughter. We lifted our lips in tight smiles and gripped the hymnals in our hands. Craig’s neck burned twelve shades of read when the Pastor personally greeted us on his way to the pulpit.
The sermon began. I clasped my husband’s hand as the words immediately found us – knocking on our hearts and wrapping around our forgotten decisions – squeezing discarded memories to the top. Scenes of my sixth grade Sunday school teacher walking me through the steps to Jesus tore into my vision. My skin tingled when I recalled the refreshing waters of my baptism. I glanced at my husband. A line of sweat dripped from his upper lip.
The words pierced deeper. I wanted to weep out loud as the pastor peeked into my home. How did he know? How did he see the life I led? How could God ever forgive me?
“Are you afraid, Mom? I’ve been praying.” Twenty years later, I waited in my doctor’s office to undergo LASIK surgery. Most of my life I had endured blurry vision. Within seconds, that part of my life would be corrected.
“Not at all. This is one of the best gifts ever. Thank you for suggesting it to Dad and for your prayers.” I squeezed her hand and stood as my name was called to go into surgery. When I opened my eyes, I could see the clock on the wall. I was amazed at the immediate change.
As I waited on that table for the nurse to move me, another miraculous day rose in my memory. The eye doctor just improved my physical vision; but years earlier, God improved my spiritual vision. When I finally allowed my eyes and heart to open in that pew that day, I clearly saw God’s amazing vision for my life - His forgiving love.
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