At school, I was the kid you saw sitting by herself far away from the other kids. I would spend recess sitting by myself amongst the dandelions in the field furthest from the playground. If the other children came close, they would hurl insults or throw rocks at me. As I said before, I wasn’t allowed the luxury of showing my true feelings and so I would just sit there and take it. Oh, I wanted to cry but it got to the point that I couldn’t cry even if I wanted to. Everything was bottled up so tightly within me. Even dealing with all that pain inside, God was teaching me about the power of prayer.
My family was very poor. I remember times that my folks did not have a dollar to their names or food (even crackers) to place in front of us at the kitchen table. Several times, we sat down to dinner with nothing but plates and silverware on the table and then prayed thanking God for the meal that he was going to provide for us. Before the prayer was even finished there would be a knock on the door. No one was ever there, but there were always bags of food sitting on our front steps. My parents and us kids would sing and dance and praise God for the miracle that had just occurred while we sorted out the food to place in the cabinets. Sometimes there would be special treats. Things that my parents could never have bought us on their own. Once the groceries were put away, my mother proceeded to fix us the meal that God provided for us through prayer.
Growing up, my parents didn’t want us to believe in Santa Claus. They thought that if we found out later on that they had lied to us about Santa, that they must also be lying to us about Jesus. So the first time that I saw Santa in a department store window, I said, “Look, Mom, there’s Noah!” Christmases have come and gone where we would not have had any gifts at all if it hadn’t been for God’s grace and the generosity of others. Fortunately, “Santa” always found ways of leaving us gifts on the front porch. One of my absolute favorite gifts was a pair of Cabbage Patch Kid roller skates. I had always wanted a pair of skates. I roller skated all over the kitchen that night.
One particularly poor Christmas, we wouldn’t have had either food or gifts and so we had gotten permission from a local supermarket to sell homemade pies in their entryway. That was a blessing and we had fun doing it too. When the evening was over. They gave my folks a fifty dollar gift certificate to buy food and they also gave them presents for us kids.
The question of paying a minister has much been debated. A minister, like a doctor, is on call 24/7. People need to make sure their minister can at least eat and put a roof over his families head. Because my father was in the ministry, now that he has reached retirement age, he cannot afford to retire even though he has worked tirelessly all these years serving other people. God still is providing and performing miracles for him and my mom. I hope and pray that God will somehow provide a retirement for them as well. I guess if my father had been paid and taken care of us kids wouldn’t have learned just how powerful prayer could be.