Updated: May 9
Good morning. It is Friday, March 4, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
I am sitting in my home office this morning. The window faces east, and the sun just greeted me a few minutes ago. I tied the sheer curtains in a loose knot so I could get a better view. I sat back in my chair and just smiled. "Thank you, God! Thank you for another day! Thank you that your mercies are new every morning! Thank you for all the blessings you have poured out on my life."
My life is not perfect. I have many hurts and hang ups, but I choose to praise God through it. That freedom of choice is powerful and what we do with that freedom can make or break us. It can add a silver lining to the thunder cloud, or it can cause the rain from that cloud to pour on us making us miserable, wet and cold. It is our choice.
As I was sitting in my office, I spun my chair around and stared at the wall. Hanging on the wall is an object approximately 3 and 1/2 feet wide by 3 feet tall. It is purple and green with different scenes painted on it. It has a plywood backing with a strong Styrofoam type body. It is a bit dinged up from various moves over the years and it means the world to me. It reminds me of what an awesome God I believe in. It reminds me that our Creator God cares about the little things, He truly does.
But let me back up. It was 2007. Three of my grandchildren were in foster care in Lane County; two girls in one home and the boy in another, (actually the boy had been in multiple homes and facilities.) By 2009 we realized they would not be returned to their home or have any other permanent situation, so Wendell and I decided it was time to step up. We took classes, had several home visits, background checks and fingerprinting, the whole deal to become certified with the state of Oregon in order to become Foster Parents to bring our grandchildren into our home.
We got the boy the week of Christmas 2009 and his sisters joined our home in July of 2010.
My biggest desire was to find a home big enough to give them things they had not had living at home. Room to play. A big tree for climbing. A creek if possible. I wanted to get a trampoline. I just wanted them to be able to run and play and just be kids without worry. And so, before they even moved in with us, I began praying about a house.
The plan was our youngest son would rent our home in town and we would rent something bigger for the five of us. My daily prayer was something like, "God please help us find a big house with 4 bedrooms, room so each child can have their own bedroom (for the first time in their lives) Father, please let there be a big climbing tree. And a large yard, big enough for a trampoline and room to run. And God, if it is not too much trouble, an office space where I can set up desks for homework and my computer.
Several weeks before the girls moved in, I was invited to a banquet fundraiser at the club house at the Grants Pass Golf Course. Now keep in mind, I would never have been able to attend had it not been for the invitation. Tickets were pricey, it was a fundraiser after all. Part of the evening was to auction off beautiful pieces of artwork in the shape of a heart. Several area artists had taken on the project of decorating these hearts and although they were all the same in shape and size, they varied greatly in artistic design.
Before the program began and before dinner was served, guests were allowed to walk around the room and look at the hearts. They were elegant and beautiful! There were easily a dozen and probably more. As I made my way around the room, I came upon one that stopped me in my tracks. The informational tag said it was done by the child of a local business owner and it was child-like. Without going into much detail, she had painted children playing. There were several painted hearts and the big heart said "God is Love"
I looked at the heart and I prayed "Father, I would like to buy this heart. I would like it to be hanging in the girl's bedroom when they move in. I want to show these happy children and the message that God loves them. Lord, I don't have much money, but I could pay as much as $100 for this and hopefully it is less."
I took my seat; dinner was served and shortly after dessert the auction began. The auctioneer gave a description of the first heart. It was a beauty; so elegant. And then I heard something like this "Let's get this fundraiser started. Who will give me $800?"
My heart sank as someone quickly raised their paddle. "Who will give me $850?" "Who will give me $900? Sold!"
Heart after heart sold for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Then came the heart I wanted. "Who will give me $800?" Not a single movement. "Who will give me $750?" nothing. "Who will give me $700?" and so it went. The price went down and down and down until he finally said "Come on people! Will someone give me $100?" My paddle shot up like a rocket. He then said "Alright, we have an opening bid of $100, who will give me $150?" Not a single hand went up. After a few moments of coaxing the crowd to give more, he looked me straight in the eyes and shouted "Sold".
I could not contain my emotions. I bowed my head into my cloth napkin, and I cried. I knew what had happened. The Creator God, the Alpha and the Omega, the God of eternal existence, had caused that heart to be sold to me for the exact amount I had prayed about.
By the way, my heart was not the last heart, and the next one sold for hundreds of dollars as did the one after that. God is so amazing. And He truly cares about the little things!
I was now the proud owner of this large heart. On it there was a little girl dressed in orange, holding an orange umbrella playing in a water puddle. There was a little boy sitting on a dock with a fishing pole in the water. There were two children flying kites with a small dog running behind. There were a couple of children skating on a frozen pond. There was a large climbing tree, AND, any guesses?...a little girl jumping on a trampoline.
In the middle of it all was written this:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
The Bible tells us that God listens to our prayers. that He answers our prayers when they line up with His will. God gives freely when we ask sincerely.
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15 ESV
Take it to God, little things, big things, it does not matter. He desires that we have that kind of relationship with Him, where we are not afraid to pray for a Styrofoam heart.
Thirteen years later, I still have that heart. The grandkids are all grown up and no longer live in my house, but this heart is a constant reminder of God's love for me and for those children. Oh, and as for the house, I will tell you about that on Monday :)
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16