“Julie, honey-child, what’s wrong?” Evelyn pulled her reading glasses off and let them dangle from the silver chain around her neck. She set her Bible on the table to her right and beckoned to the sniffling, weeping child fidgeting in the doorway of her sitting room. “Come tell your Grammy all about it.”
Seven-year old Julie stumbled across the room into Evelyn’s waiting arms. “They won’t play with me. They’re mean!” She wailed into the older woman’s ample bosom.
“Ssh, now, shh.” Evelyn took Julie into her lap and stroked her blond tresses, rocking, murmuring, and cooing, until the sobs had become hiccups. She sat the child upright and put a withered palm to each side of her face, wiping her tears away with crooked thumbs. “Now, tell Grammy what happened.”
“I don’t have anyone for me. The boys won’t let me play with them, and Tammy and Sue have each other and ignore me, and the big girls don’t want to play at all, and I don’t have anyone. They’re all having fun and no one wants me. They don’t like me.”
“Nonsense. Of course your cousins like you.”
“NO! They don’t. They tease me and call me names and laugh at me and run away from me. I hate them.” Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.
“Now, child, hate is strong word. You may not like how they're acting right now and that’s ok, but I don’t want to hear you say ‘hate’ about your family.”
“They’re not really my family. I don’t have no family.”
Evelyn pulled a few tissues from the box on her side table. “We are your family now, your forever-family, and we all love you. Here, wipe your face and blow your nose. I’ll tell you a story about another forever-family.”
Julie rubbed her cheeks and honked into the tissues, then handed the crumpled wad to her Grandmother. Evelyn set them aside and pulled the soggy girl close, setting her rocker in motion again.
“Many years ago, a long time before even my own grammy was born, there lived a man named Abraham. Now, God knew Abraham was a real special man, a real good man, and God loved him. So much so that he called Abraham His own child.
“All of Abraham’s life, he lived for God and loved God, so God blessed Abraham and his wife, Sarah, with a baby they named Isaac. Isaac had many children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. God considered all of Abraham and Isaac’s family His children because of how much He loved Abraham. Isaac’s family was called Israel, the children of God. They were His chosen people.
“But see, God wanted all the people in the world, not just Isaac’s family, to be His children. So He made a plan to adopt them all.”
Julie looked up at her Grandmother with wide eyes. “Dopt? Like me?”
“Yes, honey-child, just like you.” Evelyn brushed Julie’s tangles away from her flushed little face. Love poured out of the older woman’s warm, green eyes. “You know about Jesus?”
“Jesus is God’s son and He died for my sins. I learned that in Sunday School.”
“That’s right, child.” Evelyn kissed the top of her head and hugged her. “That was God’s plan—-for Jesus to die. But that was only part of His plan. God made Him alive again. Raised Him right up from the dead.”
“Why, Grammy? Why’d He do that?”
“So we’d believe in Him. And so we’d love Him.”
“But what about the doption?” Julie squirmed around to look at her grandmother.
Evelyn chuckled. “I’m getting there. See, the best part of God’s plan was this: He said that anyone who believes that Jesus died for their sins and that He rose from the dead, and loves Him, well, God said he would adopt them and make all of them His children, too. We’d all be his forever-family.”
“Wow. Mommy and Daddy said they could only pick one kid to dopt and they picked me. God dopted everybody?”
“He’ll adopt anyone who believes in Him, yes. Pretty cool, huh?”
“Yeah, Grammy, that’s cool.” Julie’s little brow wrinkled and Evelyn could see her processing this idea. “God must have a real big house.”
“Indeed He does, child, indeed He does, but that’s a story for another day.”
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