Stories from 70 Weeks of Prayer – Here I Am in the Mess

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Fiction | 23 comments

INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY

In late fall of 2001, Rachel Wilson, a ballroom dance teacher living in the small mountain community of Pine Lake, California, discovered her husband, Ben, in an extra-marital affair. Her initial response was much as might be expected—tears, anger, despair, thoughts of revenge and more. But, through a series of unlikely events she was led to an unexpected response – a 70-week journey of prayer with friends.

She wrote an email asking if anyone would commit to praying for her family for 70 weeks, not supposing many would agree to such a long endeavor. To her surprise, more than forty said yes.  

Week by week she shared the unexpected stories unfolding. And week by week her friends continued to pray, watching and waiting to see what God would do. 

Here, from the 30th week, is one of those stories.

***

June 19, 2002 – Week 30

Subject: Here I am in the Mess

Dear Praying Friends,

I’m writing to you from the beautiful state of Washington at the tale end of a trip arranged by the very best Travel Agent a girl could ask for.

First, a little backstory is in order. In late spring of 2001, several months before our adventure in prayer began, it came into my heart and mind that I would like to take the train up the California coast to visit Holly, a friend in Washington. That impulse was so strong that, despite seeing no practical way of making it happen, I held it gently in my heart with the tiniest of hopes that God might bring it to pass someday.

Then, nine months later, Holly, who knew nothing of that yearlong secret hope, called with an idea and an offer.

The offer included an all-expenses-paid train trip to her home for a ten-day stay. Wow! Of course I gave her an enthusiastic yes!

A yes with only slightly less enthusiasm when I learned my part of the deal involved seven days of babysitting her adorable young children while she and  husband Marco took a much-anticipated anniversary cruise.

Let me just say now, as I write from sunny (yes, sunny!) Washington anxiously awaiting the return of my friends, that the whole experience has not exactly matched what I’d once envisioned. Something that is, I have found, often the way of answered prayers. For these days have been truly a wonderful answer to prayer, but also quite full of challenges, insights, tears, messes, and hot milk.

On the Friday I arrived, when Holly began gathering the necessary documentation for her cruise-ship departure from Vancouver, we entered the crisis zone.

I remembered the parable of the lost coin as we shuffled through boxes and files. Only, in this case, the lost item (her birth certificate) was never found. And because of that there was, of course, no party of celebration with the neighbors in the end.

After some semi-frantic phone calls to Hawaii (her place of birth—the slowest processor and deliverer of certified birth certificate copies in the nation), some late night net-surfing, and a Saturday visit with a notary public just minutes before closing, she and her relieved husband,  Marco, left for the border  armed with Holly’s social security card, driver’s license, high school diploma, and a notarized statement that Holly really and truly is a United States citizen and, despite her lack of possession of the appropriate documentation, was actually born.

Hours later my hassled and sleep-deprived friend called from the balcony of the ship to give me the good news that they had made it across the border and I could wish the anniversary travelers a heartfelt bon voyage.

That’s when the fun really began for me.

In the weeks preceding this trip, I had reveled in cozy visions of rocking little Tyson while Manny and Sadie gathered around for a bedtime story. I thought I would scatter some chicken feed, toss a few oats to the horses, and savor the simplicity of country living and domestic bliss.

The gentle warnings of friends (A five-, three-, and one-year-old for seven days? Are you crazy?) and the squeal of tires as Marco and Holly left the premises, should have clued me in, but I was hopelessly optimistic. I mean, what’s the big deal? They’re just children and I am an adult, after all.

Besides, they clearly liked me. I was sure they would love all the quality time and educational experiences I had planned.

And it went just as I had hoped—for the first thirty minutes.

After that brief idyllic period, my grand plans were rapidly reduced to one shining goal of, upon their return, presenting Marco and Holly with the exact number of children, pets, and livestock they had so confidently left in my care. Clean and happy—in the realm of remote possibility—would be a bonus.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these are not horrible children. They are, in fact, at times, rather delightful. But they are children. As a mother of just one rather self-sufficient teenaged daughter, I had somehow forgotten that where two or three are gathered, there am I in the mess.

How can three adorable little people generate so much trash, noise, dirty laundry and various sticky, slimy and smelly substances? It boggles the mind.

I have needed the wisdom of Solomon (It’s her toy, but he had it first and how tall is God?), the strength of Samson (I’m already carrying the baby and a twenty-pound bag of dog food, but sure, I can lift you over the baby gate), the compassion of the good Samaritan (I’m so sorry that Manny hurt your feelings for the fourteenth time in two hours. What can I do to get you to stop screaming, I mean, help you?), and Martha’s energetic domesticity (Who had the corn dogs with mustard, but no ketchup, and who had the chicken nuggets on the dinosaur plate and don’t worry about that I’ll clean it up in a minute, right after I fold the laundry and collect the eggs).

So, what is the lesson in all this? I’ll have to get back to you on that one. I’m off to pick the kids up from preschool where they are rehearsing for tonight’s graduation ceremony, get them all fed, and cleaned up, and back to the school by 7:00.  With a thirty-minute drive each way, I should have just enough time.

Trusting in Him,

Rachel

23 Comments

  1. Carol R Nicolet Loewen

    Jody, this is delightful. I’d love to see it as a series of blog posts. There’s no actual prayer in this one but it certainly sets a tone. I hope you continue!

    Reply
    • Jody

      Thank you, Carol! You are such an encourager : )

      Reply
  2. Colleen Sanden

    Hi Jody,
    I enjoyed reading this little portion & of course, I’m wondering how she finishes her time. It had me remembering my expectations of motherhood versus the reality.
    I’d love to read more!

    Reply
    • Jody

      Thanks, Colleen! And your comment has remembering walks you and I had when our kids were little discussing that very thing : )

      Reply
  3. Darla

    I love this story. It makes me remeber when our littles were all home at one time and how much they have grown. I would love to read more. I enjoy how you put stories together how you keep me interested until the end. How your writing makes me think and ask questions of myself and my walk with myself and God. Keep it up my friend.

    Reply
  4. Debbie Hammond

    As always, I am immediately transported to another place and time reading your stories. This is a teaser, leaving me wanting the rest of the story-don’t leave us hanging! Hope to see more blog posts, soon!!!

    Reply
    • Jody

      Thank you so much, Debbie! I love that you are so engaged : )

      Reply
  5. Nancy Aguilar

    Love it, Jody. Can’t wait to read more!

    Reply
    • Jody

      Thank you, Nancy! So nice to hear from you : )

      Reply
      • Kathryn Williams-Platt

        Lovely story. I can’t wait to read the next chapter.

        Reply
        • Jody

          Thank you so much, Kathryn! That makes my day : )

          Reply
  6. Deborah Reilly

    I want more too!!!

    Reply
    • Jody

      This is so encouraging, Debbie! Thanks for letting me know : )

      Reply
  7. joyce la vigne

    Your stories are always so relatable, filled with truths and humour. I love that aspect of your writing. Continue doing what you’re doing. As Carol mentioned, “your stories are delightful”. I agree!

    Reply
    • Jody

      Thank you for being a part of this “delightful” conversation, Joyce! I always love hearing from you.

      Reply
  8. Sheri

    This is a lovely peek into Rachel’s world. It makes me want to know more.

    Reply
    • Jody

      Thank you, Sheri! After spending more than six years in Rachel’s world, I do hope to give you a lot more before much longer : )

      Reply
  9. Jeanette Henneberry

    It was just enough, Jody…to want more! So real, with laugh out loud moments. Great idea- Keep it up!!

    Reply
    • Jody Evans

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jeanette! I appreciate your words so much : )

      Reply
  10. Richie Rondeau

    Pam and I loved it! Beautifully written and we want to hear the rest of the story! The best part is how these stories lead us to grow in our faith. To think to pray when she experienced such a crisis in her marriage makes Rachel a remarkable woman of God. Hope to meet her some day.

    Reply
  11. Jody Evans

    Thank you Richie and Pam, I’m so glad you enjoyed it and want more : )

    Reply
  12. Yvette

    So funny and fun! I’d say you found a great source for blog posts.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest