i believe in miracles

do you? why not add your miracles too?

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My Hero – My Neighbor's Husband

No infidelity intended here, but I have to acknowledge how my neighbor, Jeff Estep, has come to my rescue twice. What makes this so unlikely is that Jeff works all over the nation in his job and is home only about a third of the time. Yet God timed things so just when I needed a helping hand, he has been there.
The first was about a year ago. I was out in the yard with Chaise, still a baby-baby, and I stretched the hose over and dropped it in the turtle pond to fill it up because the dogs always like to drink the water from it. I went to the tap and turned it on, with Chaise in my arms, and as I was standing up straight again, I noticed a snake coiled about 6 inches from the tap. It had been within striking distance of me and Chaise!
I let out my characteristic super-sonic “I’ve seen a snake” squeal and reeled backwards. After the initial heeby -geebies wore off, it hit me: the tap is on and that turtle tank will be full to overflowing in about 3 minutes. John was at work and I knew that my neighbors weren’t home because I had seen them drive out earlier. And me? Besides having an infant in arms, I’m terribly afraid of snakes. And even if I weren’t, I couldn’t imagine doing battle with one. I was working this over in my head for about a minute when in the distance I heard a diesel engine. I thought, “If that truck comes past my house, I’ll flag it down – whoever it is.” I watched as the truck came into sight and it was indeed neighbor Jeff. In a skinny minute, he dispatched the snake before the turtle tank overflowed. Neither of us could figure if the snake was a copperhead or a look-alike.
That small miracle would have gone undocumented if not for Jeff’s second rescue yesterday.
I was leaving the house to pick up Gwen from school. My trajectory was to go out the basement door, get in the car, drive it around to the front door, pick up sleeping Chaise from my bedroom and whisk him into the car seat without waking him so he could sleep a little longer and I could have a peaceful ½ hour ride to pick up Gwen.
I walked out the basement door, locking it behind me. Immediately, as if I already knew what was coming, I reached into my purse and discovered to my horror that my house keys were not in my purse. In a second I recalled that Gwen had used them to unlock the door last night and I knew she must not have returned them to their usual and customary home, the place I count on them being! Problem: My house is locked up as “tight as Fort Knox,” as Jeff said later, and my baby is sleeping inside. Did I mention that my husband was out of town?
Not a problem: The other spare key resides at our neighbor’s house so the kids can feed our animals during our frequent excursions. So I zoomed down to their house and found Jeff at home alone. He sprang into a frantic search for the key, but couldn’t find it. And his wife wasn’t answering her cell and the kids weren’t either (probably because they aren’t supposed to have cell phones in school). About five minutes had gone by since I left the house and I was started to imagine Chaise awake and screaming for me, so I told Jeff I was going on up and asked that if he couldn’t find the key, that he come up and help me break into my house.
When I arrived, of course, our yappy dog Mindy whose job it is to alert the entire household of all comings and goings, even involving members of the family, started in. I went to the bedroom window and peeked in and couldn’t see Chaise, which meant he was probably still asleep on the bed. Jeff came up about a minute behind me, and again, Mindy the guard dog sounded her alarm. As we tried the front door with a credit card, Mindy barked on. She was a very lucky dog to be separated from me by a locked door at that moment!
Jeff went around the house trying windows – I knew nothing would be open – he jumped up on our back deck to try that door. “Locked up tight as Fort Knox,” he said. I went to the basement and tried the door again, I’m not sure why, since that’s the door I had locked to set this whole catastrophe in motion. It was locked. Further defying explanation, Jeff came behind me and tried the basement door too. Locked. But then he shoved it and it opened!
“Thank God and thank you!” I blurted as I ran up into the house to find Chaise soundly sleeping. I resisted the urge to kick the dog!
Jeff went on his way without fanfare, having saved the day and saved one of my windows from a very ugly fate. And he uncovered a breach in our Fort Knox-like security! From now on, I will deadbolt the basement door – and have my house keys in hand before I close the door behind me!


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Like a Wave of the Sea

But when she asks, she must believe and not doubt, because she who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. The woman should not think she will receive anything from the Lord; she is a double-minded woman, unstable in all she does.
James 1:6-8

Last week Gwen was sick with a virus we had never heard of before. She had fever for five days straight, and among other symptoms, painful sores in her mouth. She was almost unable to eat anything for the better part of three days. The doctor told us that day 4 of the sores would be the worst and it was. She drank only a couple of glasses of milk. She was miserable. By the time night rolled around, she was so deeply uncomfortable and discouraged that she started to groan.
I was working on the other side of the house and heard these lamenting sounds. I got up to see what it was and went to her room and she looked like she was asleep. Then I went back to work, and a couple of minutes later, I heard it again. This time when I went back, I saw her turning and spoke to her. She was just so miserable.
I pray a lot – every day – but one thing I rarely do, and haven’t done for years, is to pray with Gwen. Just at that moment, I felt I should pray with her and, as intimate as our relationship is, it still took a good measure of courage to open my mouth and pray. I started out slowly, “Heavenly Father…” and as I prayed I realized that because of the import and rarity of this prayer, Gwen would full faith it in. That gave me pause. Do I pray for her healing? What if she is not better in the morning? If God doesn’t answer the prayer, Gwen might begin to doubt the power of prayer. Maybe I should pray a safe prayer. But I didn’t. I prayed a bold prayer that the Creator of that virus might wipe it clean from her system.
She turned over to sleep and for the most part had a restful night. I went back to work, my mind wrestling with doubt. I prayed for God to forgive my doubt and fill me with childlike faith. These verses from James came to mind – I understand the damage that doubt does. It makes me unstable in all that I do.
Gwen’s fever broke that night. But would it have done so anyway? Father, forgive my doubt.

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Waiting for a Miracle

Below is a letter I sent to President Obama on Feb. 9
Dear President Obama,
First of all, I would like to add my personal congratulations to all the many you have received in the last months on winning the election and making American history. Though many of my red-state Southern neighbors might doubt it, I believe that God placed you in this position quite deliberately and I pray that you will connect with our Heavenly Father daily throughout your presidency, so that you may be an instrument of His will, and not against your own will.

I am writing to express my disappointment in your executive order reinstating funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions. There is much I don’t know about this order, but if I understand correctly, funding will continue to flow as it has over many years to the same NGOs, what has changed is that they are now free to counsel on and provide abortions, whereas under Republican administrations since Reagan, they have been “gagged” from mentioning or offering abortion.

I realize that you promised to do this during your campaign, though I wasn’t aware of that when I voted for you. I also recall in your interview with Rick Warren that you said you were not for abortion – “no one is for abortion.” You said your focus on this issue would be preventing abortion. And although I am more pro life than most pro lifers (I can say this confidently because I believe in the right to life for people awaiting capital punishment, as well as babies and the elderly), I could agree with what you said in that interview, including the remark about knowing when life begins being above your pay grade. No one knows, and the issue of abortion is so complex, but I certainly agree that as a society, we should not be pro abortion. I also heard your statement in one of the debates that you would do nothing to reverse Roe v. Wade. I reiterate these things simply to make the point that I was not expecting you to suddenly become a pro life president.

What I expected was that you would act in accord with your statement that you were not pro abortion. To me, that means that although you will explore a multiplicity of ways to reduce the number of abortions in this country, while protecting Roe v. Wade, you would not do anything to further abortion. However, that is precisely what your executive order did. You took a status quo situation and made a pro abortion declaration. Can I ask you, what difference do you think it would have made if you had not reversed that executive order? For the last eight years, those agencies have been doing something else besides abortions and abortion counseling. What harm would there be in them continuing what they have been doing for the last eight years? Further, your act has made federal funds, tax payer dollars, my money, the funding source for abortions, and abortion counseling. It is one thing for abortion to be available to women who believe it a necessity; it’s something entirely different for me to pay for it. In the very real possibility that life begins at, say, the first beating of the heart, 10 days after conception, the blood of the lives of these children being aborted using federal dollars is on my hands, on the hands of our country, and as our leader and the signer of that particular executive order, on your hands.

I urge you to reverse the executive order. Your constituency that applauded the signing of the order will balk, most certainly, but the fact of the matter is, you are their choice for president. You will no doubt do many things during your presidency that rub many people the wrong way, but those who strongly support you on a number of issues will not only forgive the areas of disagreement, they may well admire you for being the man of conscience you promised to be. Reversing the order with a simple statement such as, “I will protect Roe v. Wade while working to lower the rate of abortion in our country and among our citizens abroad; however, when I signed that executive order, I trespassed on one of my own values. I am not pro abortion and the order I signed enabled and supported new abortions. I did it because I promised it during my campaign, but God help me if I must disobey my conscience to meet a campaign promise. I remain supportive of women’s issues and pray those who feel this is a blow to women will gain a new understanding of my position as they see through my future acts how I indeed support women’s equality and health.”

Not meaning to put words in your mouth, I just wanted to illustrate how something like this can be done without alienating the voters who put you in office. And speaking of voters, what about that other 48 percent of Americans who didn’t vote for you? These people, mostly pro life voters, need a reason to believe in you. I can think of no better way to gain their respect than to show yourself a man of your word on the issue of abortion (that you are not pro abortion) and to “reach across the isle” (something politicians love to do, right?) on this issue that is so very critical to many red-state voters.

From my address, you can see that I live smack-dab in the middle of a red state, and in my neck of the woods, one didn’t see very many Obama/Biden campaign signs. I know the mentality of your political adversary; I am surrounded by it daily. These people have no faith in you. I don’t say that for shock value or to hurt you in any way. I say it because it is so. As Christian people, post-election they immediately began crying doomsday and God help us. You must turn this tide in the next four years, after all, these folks are reproducing quicker than your constituency! You many wonder, as I have, how the heck the American public could re-elect George W. Bush. I am convinced it was because they believed Bush to be a man of God (despite some obvious shortcomings) and he was pro life. The heartland of America is deeply concerned about preserving spiritual values. You can season your speech with references to God as much as you please, but you will never turn a red heart blue until you demonstrate – take an affirmative action – that resonates with the God-fearing red voters.

Mr. President, I have the highest regard for you, despite my disappointment in this matter I bring to your attention. I wish you a lauded place in American history and I believe the capacity of your administration to restore the United States in the global arena is great. You can create jobs in the south, give our citizens healthcare (which by the way, I’m sort of counting on as one of America’s uninsured), restore the economy and propel us to the forefront of the energy race, but what can you do to earn the confidence of all the voters whose litmus test for a politician is how he votes on issues pertaining to life? This issue divides us more than any other. How can you reach across the isle on this issue?

I pray you will consult with our Heavenly Father for the answer (or just take my advice ).

Donna Lee Schillinger