While scouting for a much needed truck, my husband Bruce and I have been privileged to hang around our home base and help family. One of these awesome opportunities came in the form of babysitting our little cousins over the summer as well as spot appearances in the fall and winter. It was a tad challenging from time to time as these kids live in a pretty tore up family life, so there were attitude adjustments here and there and yes, a lot of prayer. But, all in all, we had a blast together and developed a solid bond.
As I babysat these kids (six-year-old twins (boy and girl) and a nine-year-old autistic boy), I prayed for opportunities to introduce them to Jesus. We all need Him. But these guys needed a little extra dose. My heart was to show them how kind and mighty He is. That He is approachable, and He would help them if they were in trouble.
A variety of opportunities presented themselves throughout our time together—some profound, others more subtle, but every one important. Sometimes I got distracted and missed it, but those times just made me more determined to be quicker when the next opportunity came. With fervent prayers for wisdom, the Lord helped me field Creation, heaven and death questions; He helped me build on their grandparents’ foundation of praying over meals; And on one particular morning, He prompted me to take action and step out in faith.
That morning I walked in my aunt’s door for “work” and into a challenge. One of the twins was sick and “it” was coming out both ends. When things calmed down a bit, my aunt settled him on the couch with a trash can next to his head. She left for work, and I prayed for wisdom.
I watched his curled up form and couldn’t bear observing his misery. I knew right then that I needed to pray for him. I looked around at his twin sister, concern shadowing her face.
“You know what?” I told her. “We’re going to pray for Dax so he feels better.”
Her eyes grew wide.
“Come on,” I coaxed as I reached out my hand to her. “We can pray together.”
She crept forward with a skeptical expression, but she was game.
I held her hand and placed my other hand on Dax’s head. “Jesus, please make Dax feel better. Thank You, Jesus, for healing Dax. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Dax relaxed, and Mila and I dug out the crayons and busied ourselves with masterpieces.
Dax used the trash can a couple more times, and then, in typical shy-Dax style, an arm emerged above the couch, fanning back and forth. I grinned: Dax’s unique “feel better” flag. Within the hour, he was up playing with his dinosaurs and Transformers.
Now, we were in full play mode…all of us. I cleared off the chest (a.k.a. the coffee table) to make room for horse corrals and a road for the truck and trailer. Tiny Transformer toys that scattered the chest top got tossed in my wellies (rubber rain boots) to keep them off the floor.
Mila and I corralled horses as Dax performed fly-bys with his Transformer fighter jets. Suddenly, a swift movement out the window caught my attention—a flash of flea-bitten gray. Oh, man! Somehow the ranch horse escaped from his pen and was having a high-time of it running around the yard!
Knowing the gate was open at the top of the driveway, I flew into action…and, yes, prayed again. I grabbed my wellies and stared into their uppers…brimming with Transformers. I promptly dumped them on the floor, jammed the boots on my feet, and slung on my coat and hat as I headed for the door.
As I hit the top of the landing, I saw the gray horse with his head buried in a feed bucket on the tie rail. Not knowing this horse, I quietly moved down the steps. He moved off toward a patch of grass. I had an idea. It was a ways up the lane to the open gate, and the horse seemed to have no interest in running off. I grabbed the bucket and slapped the side of it as I headed into the horse pen. Thankfully, the horse took an interest, and I safely lured him inside and secured the gate.
As I turned toward the house, I noticed I’d picked up two tails—both twins had bolted out the door, hot on my heels. I grinned as I observed Dax and gave a hearty “Thank You, Jesus.” I watched him run around like a penned up pooch that had won his freedom. He scooted across the yard with his hands shoved in his sweatshirt pockets, dancing from side to side.Then he took off to the ant pile to see if he could find any dead ants (frozen by the frigid temperatures).
He showed no signs of slowing down. Part of me wanted to stop him for fear, since he had just been sick, that he would relapse. And then the thought came, “Whoever Jesus heals, is healed…period.” So, I kicked that fear out of my mind and let him rip.
I’m thankful for the God-given courage to step out and take advantage of opportunities that not only put feet to my faith, but also showed these kids by example, the love of Jesus.
We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done—Psalm 78:4.