Last night the greatest thing happened to me. It was ten o’clock and I was just about to fall on my knees to pray when the telephone rang.
I picked up the phone. It was my girlfriend Bell. She and I are the same age, I'm not going to tell you what that is, but let’s just say we’re no spring chickens. We’ve been around the block a few times. You can’t pull one over on us, been there done that...
Well I guess you get the picture. Anyway, I could tell by Bell’s voice that she had been crying, and was stifling tears when I answered.
“Dora, girl did I wake you?”
“Naw girl, I was just about to dial up Jesus, but I can talk to him any time, night or day, you know His line is never busy. What’s wrong, your voice is tremblin', and I can tell you been crying.”
“It’s Tyrell, they locked him up again.”
“What fo' this time?’
“The same thing, drugs. I can’t believe it Dora. We prayed so hard for that boy and then, that preacher prophesied to me that my boy was going to straighten up his life and serve God. I believed him Dora because that man didn’t know nothin’ about my business.”
My mind went back to last Sunday’s service. The speaker was from Memphis, someone Pastor had met at a convention.
He was a young man, about thirty-five and good looking. Ooh wee! Me and Bell had a hard time listening to that young boy preach cause he was so fine.
Can you believe we was actin' like young school girls gigglin' and fanning ourselves? I think we’ve been single far too long.
Bell’s husband died about three years ago and mine just walked out last year. You know that goin' to get a pack of cigarettes at the corner store story? Well, yeah, that joker had the nerve to pull that one on me and he didn't even smoke. Claimed to be a Christian man too. Oh, I’m sorry, kind of wandered off there. Anyway back to that fine preacher, Reverend Dobbs was his name. He was about five feet three. A little short man. He was yellow like that jiffy mix corn bread after it’s been cooked. You know yellow, but a bit brown on top. He was dressed in a sharp suit too. It was navy blue. He wore a light blue shirt and silk tie to match. That boy looked good from head to toe. He didn’t wear no jewelry, no ring on that right hand or nothin'.
Rev. Dobbs’ sermon title was 'Being chosen by God'. After he preached he prophesied to the whole congregation of twenty five people. At the time me and Bell thought he was prophe-lying. We didn’t believe in all that hocus pocus stuff, but before the evening was over, God made a believer out of both of us.
While Rev. Dobbs was reading folks mail, so to speak, Pastor was sitting in his chair grinning like a Cheshire cat, cause it was some of the same stuff that he had been tellin' us all year long.
Pastor Dobbs told Bell that her son was gonna get saved and he wouldn't sell drugs or steal from her no mo'. She was so shocked she hit the floor like a ton of bricks.
My doubt flew out the window then because he didn’t know anything about Bell’s boy Tyrell. I was happy for her, but at the same time, I was a bit jealous because he didn’t give me a word like that. I was waitin' to hear the same thing from God, but he only told me that God had chosen a special job for me and that I would have to go through the fire before I could step into that position.
I was kinda angry at first, but then I remembered that I had been prayin' and asking God to use me, so what did I expect? Yeah, I wanted my hard-hearted son, Johnny to change his life and stop getting all these babies out of wedlock, but God knows best.
“Dora, you there?”
I pushed my head wrap out of my eye, “Yeah chile, just letting my mind go back to that prophecy.”
“Girl, I don’t know what to do. I done prayed and I done cried, done cried and prayed some mo' and I'm tired. I tried talking to Tyrell, but he talks to me so bad, I don’t know what to do.”
I was about to answer Bell when my other line beeped. “What in the world? Hold on Bell, it’s my other line. Is there no rest for the weary?”
I clicked over. “Hello,” I said, trying to keep the irritation outta my voice.
“Dora, is that you?”
It was my other friend Shirlee Ann, but we said it so fast, it sounds like one word, ‘Shirlann’. “Now who else could it be, Shirlee Ann, didn't you just dial my number?”
“Ooh, I’m sorry, girl, I’m just so upset, I can’t think straight. Don't know whether I'm comin' or goin'.”
I can’t believe this, both of them callin’ at the same time. This ain’t no coincidence. Lord Jesus! What is going on? I clicked over and told Bell not to hang up. I clicked back over. “What’s wrong Shirlee Ann?”
Fighting back tears, her friend responded, “Girl, you won’t believe this, but I found a gun in Tina’s sock drawer.”
I was too shocked. “A gun? Are you sure it’s fo' real?” Shirlee Ann gave room for exaggeration sometimes. Like the time she told us a gang of boys were hangin’ outside her back door. Me and Bell rushed over with our bats and it was four little five year olds. We wanted o beat her with them bats.
“It’s real alright. Dora, she only fourteen, what she doing with a gun?”
“Is she still hanging out with those no good gang-bangin' friends of hers?”
“Yeah, even tho’ I told her not to. Girl her mouth is so flip, I mean it’s terrible. I ‘member a time when we was girls, we’d better not talk back to our mamas or we'd be getting up off the floor, lookin' for our teeth. These kids nowadays so rough you’d better not hit ‘em, they fights back!”
“Don’t I know it. Girl, even tho’ we are only in our fifties, (oh, did I tell that?) God did not mean for us to be wrestlin' with no grown tail kids. They just as soon cut yo' throat, or you’ll end up in jail for child abuse.
I’m like you, I remember when we was comin' up, our parents could beat our butts anywhere with anything. I’m not saying they was right all the time, but we had that respect. We respected and obeyed them to their faces and talked about them like dogs behind their backs. Girl, kids these days cuss their parents out in their faces and dare them to say anything back. Oh, goodness!”
I put my hand to my throat. “I forgot Bell is on the other line. Hang up. I gonna call y’all back, we need to do a three way.”
After she hung up, I switched back over to Bell and apologized. “Girl, I am so sorry, that was Shirlee Ann. She said she found a gun in Tina’s sock drawer.”
“Oh my Lord, what are we gonna to do?”
“Well, the first thing we gonna do is get Shirlee Ann on the other line and then we are gonna to pray! Then we gone come up with a plan to take our chilren back from the devil! I’m tired of that foul rascal destroying our chilren. I think it’s time for some actions. You said it already, we done cried long enough and it’s time to dry our eyes like the word says in Jeremiah 31:16-17. We gonna stop weepin' for our children and start believin' the Word. Hang up girl I gotta do a three way.”
I dialed Bell first, then Shirlee Ann’s number. By the time they were both on the line I heard a crash in my kitchen. I clicked back over to get Bell on the line and told the two of them to start talking and be prayerful while I go see what was goin' on in my house.”
I knew that devil wasn't gon' let us pray without stirrin' up some racket. I switched on the light and there was Johnny standing at the refrigerator with my best casserole dish broke up around his feet. I rushed over to him and started sniffin'. His clothes reeked of pot.
“Johnny, look what you done! Boy, haven’t I told you about comin' in my house high? You broken my mama's casserole t dish.”
“I was hungry. The damn thang just slipped outta my hands. What’s so special ‘bout that ole’ bowl anyway?”
I raised my eyebrow and gave him my mother’s look that said boy you are about to be floored. He grinned foolishly, knowing that I would not hit him. He was only sixteen, but I refuse to give him the pleasure of calling the police, he had done it several times. Once when I broke the broom over his back for stealin' out of my purse and other times for just beating his butt.
“Mama, I’m hungry now. What um gone eat?”
“Johnny, you’ve got three minutes to get outta my face and my kitchen. Take your butt to bed, you’ve got school tomorrow.”
“I said um hungry.”
“You shoulda been eatin' while you was out there smoking that stuff, now get outta my face boy!”
He spun around and stormed out of the kitchen while I cleaned scalloped potatoes, off the floor, refrigerator door and my white cabinets. As I kneeled there cleaning up, I felt at least sixty years old.
“Lord, how long do I have to endure this?” I whispered.
Pastor Dobbs words slapped me in the face. “You’re going to have to go through the fire.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks because I was angry with Johnny and angry with the devil. I swiped at the tears with the back of my hand then I went back to the phone. I didn’t say anything, just listened as Shirlee Ann prayed in the spirit. Fresh tears began to slide down my cheeks but that prayer gave me strength. After Shirlee Ann finished prayin' I let them know that I was back on the line.
I sighed heavily and gulped down air while trying to keep the anger out of my voice. “That was Johnny. He was high and mouthin’ off as usual. I am not kidding, that boy makes me want to knock him into next Tuesday. I know that won’t solve anything and that's all the devil wants me to do. People keep saying that all Johnny needs is a good butt whupping, well, I done that, over and over again and it ain't helped him. I'm tired of hittin' that flesh, now I'm gonna start on that spirit cause the weapon of my warfare is not carnal. Girls I’m ready to truly pull down some strongholds cause nothing else is workin’. I done prayed and asked God to let him go and live with his daddy and that didn't happened.”
“So what are we gonna do first?” Bell asked. “Cause I’m tired. I can’t do this no mo’. I know Tina is only fourteen, but I wish she would leave my house and that’s wrong. She’s my child and I love her but sometimes I feel like God's punishin' me for having a child out of wedlock. I wasn’t no inexperienced chile either. I shoulda known not to try and sneak. You can’t sneak and sin, it’s gone tell on you.”
“Shirlee Ann that’s just nonsense. God is not punishing you.” Bell said sternly. “Many people have children outta wedlock and they turn out fine. You may be reaping what you sowed or maybe God is allowing this so we can help other mothers with their chilren."
Shirlee Ann snorted. “Yeah right. Um, excuse me Bell, but the last time I checked, we was still havin', excuse me for puttin' it this way… a helluva hard time with our kids. How we gonna tell somebody else how to handle theirs when ours are acting like fools?” Shirlee Ann asked.
I could hear a fight coming on and at the same time, it was as if a light bulb came on in my spirit. I whispered, “The Mother’s Club.”
Bell and Shirlee Ann stopped arguing. “What did you say Dora?”
“I said, we can start a group called, ‘The Mother’s Club’ and we can meet and pray with each other and we can take a stand against the devil to take our kids back.”
Bell squealed like a stuck pig. “Ooh girl, I got goose bumps when you said that. I believe you on to something! Praise the Lord. Hallelujah!”
Shirlee Ann began to speak in tongues. We listened until she was done. “Bell… Dora… the Lord wants us to do exactly that and he gave me some scriptures he wants us to start with Jeremiah 31:16-17…”
It was my turned to be shocked because I had given Bell that scripture before Shirlee Ann called. As she continued I began smiled because I could see it all forming in my head. We were going to pray for our babies and take them back from the devil.
Shirlee Ann continued, “Then Galatians 3:13 because Jesus has broken the power of the curse, so we have the right to order Satan out of our chilren's lives. Girls we can start from there.”
We were so excited we talked ‘til three a.m. I could hear excitement in my friends’ voices. They took their minds off their own kids and began to talk about how we could help other mothers.
After we hung up and kneeled before the Lord and thought. ‘What if I hadn’t answered that phone?’ My friends would probably still be in tears.
It feels good to know that even in my latter years I’m a vessel fit for the master’s use. It also feels good to take my eyes offa my problems. I do believe that if the church folks would do that more often, people would come back together and every body won’t be so quit to push help away. “Lord when did we get so selfish? How did we reach this place of not carin’ about anybody but our own families.” Butterflies fluttered in my stomach. Maybe that’s one of the things we can talk about at our meetings. I was excited all over again. “I don’t know how much sleep I’m gonna get. This is too good. Ooh Lord, thank you.”
Just before I closed my eyes. I heard Johnny in my kitchen again. "Humph, pretty soon this all gonna change. The Mother’s Club gonna take back our chilren."