Carmen, 19 years old at the time, walked slowly into the counseling office, sat down, then began to cry uncontrollably. Her sobbing voice told her counselor that her mother had just died. Her death, though tragedic, was no great surprise to her counselor, Dr. LaTonya Liggins. Carmenís mother had been suffering from ovarian cancer for quite some time. Counselor Liggins had spent two hours with her at her hospital bedside the afternoon before.
ďIím so scared! I feel terrible! I donít know how I am going to survive without mom!Ē said Carmen. ďJust before mom died, she tried to tell me something, Dr. Liggins. Mom kept repeating, ĎMonica! Monica! I donít know anyone named Monica. Do you, Dr. Liggins?Ē
ďYes, in fact, I believe I do, Carmen. Why donít you come into my office and Iíll explain who Monica is. When I visited with your mother yesterday afternoon, your mother told me that since you were 12 years old, you have been disobedient, lying, shoplifting and had been sexually promiscuous. That your behavior deeply hurt her so much it made her cry many days. She told me that she prayed and prayed for you, daily, for more than seven years that my beautiful, lovely daughter Carmen would be right with God and become a Christian. She indicated that she tried to be patient with you, Carmen, like Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. She hoped that some day her prayers would be answered like St. Augustineís motherís did.
Dr. Liggins had planned to see Carmen but before her mother had died but she did not so as she had looked up and research the story of Monica as she did not know who Monica was either. Dr. Liggins learned that Monica patiently and persistently prayed for 17 years for Augustineís conversion. Monica gave Augustine the Biblical verse from Romanís 13:13-14 and as he read this attentively several times, he was converted. Augustine turned to the book of Roman and found this written in the Bible: ďLet us walk properly, as in the day; not in revelry and drunkenness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.Ē
The day after her mother had died, Dr. Liggins told Carmen of her motherís praying, her unconditional love for her and her unwillingness to give up on her as well as the story of Monica for her son. Carmen, before Dr. Liggins and God ask for Godís forgiveness and thanked Him for her mother. On that day, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. She asked Jesus to do with her as He wished.
Within a little less than twelve years after her motherís death, Carmen became one of the most respected and influential young women in the State of Oklahoma. With the emotional and financial help of many but also with her drive and effort and Christ as her guide, Carmen has become an outstanding medical doctor. Her surgical procedure and the skills by which she does her work would have made her mother very proud. Dr. Liggins and Dr. Carmen Hernando will tell anyone who asks them that it was the patience and prayers of Carmenís mother were finally rewarded and Carmen finally her acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord of her life.