Vol. 6, No. 11
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
~ Page 16 ~
He was crying... I sat on the edge of the bed debating whether or not an offer of help would be welcomed. I waited... listened... He continued the demanding cries only a two-week old infant can make. I knew from experience our firstborn daughter had to be exhausted. Tired from her flight and all the excitement of our family seeing her son for the first time. I decided to go and peek in and see if she wanted me to take him.
She was definitely crying as she sat there looking helpless. Cradling him she spoke the words of the young, frustrated, overwhelmed mother. My mind flashed back to a time I sat on the edge of the bed rocking her that first night home thinking, "What in the world have I gotten myself into?"
I stepped into the dark room and asked if she wanted me to take him so she could get some sleep. She couldn't answer quickly enough. She knew she could entrust him completely to me and she could finally allow herself to sink into a deep and uninterrupted sleep. I scrambled for bottles and diapers and closed the door quietly.
He was all mine! The moment I'd waited for so long had finally arrived. All he needed was a calm hand to pat that bubble up out of his little tummy and snuggle him close. I had spent hours, days and months praying for this child coming into the world; a precious little boy. But, what did I know about little boys? We had three daughters.
Before Erin arrived with her son I decided I would wear the same perfume every day. I wanted to imprint something on his memory that would make him always relate this scent with a feeling of family, of security, of me. I don't know what gave me the idea unless it was the memory of how my husband Butch grieved when his grandmother died. As his family sorted through all of her things he tearfully gave me an old curler and powder puff to keep in a plastic bag. He said they smelled just like her. It made me stop in wonder. I had never experienced that kind of relationship with extended family. Both my grandmothers had died at relatively young ages and we lived a long way from them anyway. Butch had two storybook grandmothers and one great-grandmother. If that alone was not enough to put a deep desire into my heart, being an extension into the next generation was. I had heard a woman say one time that she wanted to put her thumbprint on each one of her grandchildren and I never forgot it. I so wanted to be like Lois the grandmother of Timothy. My name would never be in Scripture but I wanted those words to be true of me nonetheless.
As I rocked and sang for the first time to this little baby boy I felt the experience of Naomi spoken of in Ruth 4:16-17... "Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. The women living there said, 'Naomi has a son.'"
That week flew by and he was gone. I did not see him again until he was ten months old. My daughter, her husband and son were coming to live in the same city as we were. They arrived in the wee hours of the morning after their truck hit a deer and they had to find other transportation. We had been awake off and on... waiting. Our grandson was a chubby ball of energy that our daughter said would neither rock nor cuddle. I hardly recognized him. I quietly slipped away from all the talking and excitement to the same dark room and the same rocking chair. I sang him a song that would become my prayer over the next few years. He fell asleep against me just as he had those long months before. This encouraged me that we would have a special relationship and I thanked God in tears.
I will never forget the day about a month later when my son-in-law Dario brought him over so I could watch him for a little while. I settled him in his high chair and gave him a snack. He immediately bowed his head and mumbled some unintelligible words. My son-in-law, who is not a Christian, stared at me as I squealed with delight. I realized at that moment his Papa was being watched consistently with wide eyes. From then on as he began to talk he would take our hands, look at Butch and say, "Papa say..." Months passed and at our home Bible studies on Tuesday nights he always had to see everyone off and wave until each one was out of sight. I didn't even care that it was 120 degrees in Arizona and our front door was standing wide open!
The time unfortunately came eight months later that our daughter's family moved back to their previous home one thousand miles away. Payton was now eighteen months old. As before I spent much time in prayer for their future, my grandson's future. Didn't he need his Nana close by? The night before Erin and Payton left, our study group surrounded them and prayed for their safety. They would be making the trip by themselves. Dario was already working back in Boise.
The next day late in the afternoon Erin called from a hospital emergency room. "Mom, don't get upset, we're okay..." She had reached back to reposition Payton's head out of the sun. She had started off the road and overcorrected. She rolled her truck three times, totaling it. It was almost the same place they had hit the deer before. She sustained some deep scratches but Payton had not received one injury. Several days later during Sunday worship the announcement was made about the accident and we sang the song I had been singing to our baby from the beginning, "God will make a way when there seems to be no way." I cried.
Almost a year later we were transferred back to Boise where Erin and her family live. Once again we were close to our little one and he took up with his Nana and Papa immediately. He can now sing every single word of "God Will Make a Way." One Sunday I had taken him out in the foyer at evening service. As we listened to the closing song I told him that one day he would be preaching or leading singing. Without batting an eye he answered me in the most grown up voice it was startling, "I can do that."
Four weeks ago Erin told us that she was moving about two hours away. Dario's father owns three dairies and he would be working for him. Oh my heart broke. I awoke one night before she left once again thinking of all the reasons this little boy needs us, needs me! Satan was whispering all the negatives that could possibly result from this move. Suddenly it occurred to me, "God is bigger than every single possibility!" I fell back to sleep.
The Sunday evening before they left we had a baptism. Erin lifted Payton onto the pew to watch. Out of that little mouth came the words, "This is just going to be great!" We all looked at each other in amazement. Butch said a prayer afterward and as he came back to our pew Payton said, "Papa you're good!"
Our grandson has only been gone for a few short weeks and we have already driven and picked him up once. Meeting them half way is an hour drive we are happy to make. I know I am going to miss him spending the nights often. His sleeping on a pallet on our bedroom floor and waking in the middle of the night and saying, "Nana I want to nuggle" or "Nana I'm cold" or "Nana, I can't find my blankee" or even "Nana, I'm hungry..." The way he had started responding, to our hysterical delight when Butch would ask him if he was ready for our bedtime prayer, "Okay Papa, hit it!" We will treasure these early years with him as precious memories forever.
I am so thankful for the glimpses God has allowed us to see of his wonderful working in our lives. In my daily reading of Scripture I was soon reminded of Jochebed putting her precious baby boy in a basket and into the river. I know she had no way of knowing, as he was being raised by heathen people, that he would one day be used by God to deliver, not only some of her other children, but an entire nation from cruel bondage. Moses obviously never lost what his mother had planted in his heart as a young child. I am comforted by the knowledge that God will do great things in the life of this, our grandson also.
I also realize that Payton's life actually began many, many years ago. The Lord has ways of comforting us by bringing to our remembrance past petitions. When Erin was about four years old I heard it suggested that parents should start praying very early for their children's future mates. I began that day. I prayed over the years for the little boys who would one day marry our daughters. I prayed for their lives, their parents, their struggles and sorrows. And I especially prayed for their souls.
Now I know that about that same time a little Portuguese boy, who looked amazingly like our grandson does today, was coming to live in America. That he would struggle, trying to learn English by watching Sesame Street while our young daughters were watching this same program with ease. I've prayed from the very beginning that our little Payton would impact the souls of others. How do I know it won't be he who will reach the heart of his own father? From past experiences in my walk with the Lord I believe it is just a matter of time...