Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)
TITLE: Dear Hannah Lee
By Tim Pickl
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Dear Hannah Lee,
We adopted you, 'cause my little sister couldn't take care of you. You are my precious, delightful daughter. I love you so much. How I wish my daddy--your pappy (grandpa)--could have held you in his arms! He would've played with you and giggled with you for hours. Oh, and he would've spoiled you, too!
I know he would've prayed with you.
A long time ago, way back When I was a teenager--my daddy worked in the coal mines. He lived a rough life. Daddy worked real hard--like a dog--both day-and-night. Daddy had a big family to provide for and feed: I'm the sixth child of eleven kids-- but momma lost two in miscarriages. (You'll understand more about that when you grow up).
My daddy's hard work caught up with him and he had a heart attack.
It was a scary time, but I remember makin' my way into the chapel in the hospital. I lit a candle for daddy, and pleaded with God. I begged him to spare daddy's life. I loved daddy so much I would've given anything to see him healed. While I was prayin', daddy was in delicate 'open heart' surgery. A couple of my sisters found me in the chapel and we cried and prayed together. About the time they were sewin' daddy up, momma walked into the chapel and we all hugged and prayed.
God healed daddy--and saved him.
After that crazy time, daddy changed. He started goin' to church with us whenever he could. And he prayed--oh, that man prayed and interceded for us kids.
"Have mercy, O God, on my children. Watch over them, Lord."
There are still tear stains on the altar at church.
We had almost 20 extra years with daddy. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I thank God for savin' him.
I remember daddy would take one of the grandbabies in his arms and rock her to sleep. He would sing a church song as a lullaby:
"What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus"
(Words & Music: Robert Lowry, 1876)
Later, daddy started gettin' real sick with the 'black lung'. Coal miners get their lungs filled with coal dust and it takes a deadly toll on their bodies.
Daddy's body started failin', and he became very weak. He had just days to live, if that. By then, my brothers and sisters were livin' far away but they all came to visit daddy. One-by-one, he had us come into his room. He reached to each one of us, and as we held his hand, he prayed a blessing on us.
"Promise me now... you will live for God. Serve Him. Love Him. Go to church."
"I promise, daddy, I promise."
I went to the chapel in that hospital and tried it again. I begged God to spare my daddy. I have to be honest, Hannah Lee, I got mad at God. I stomped my feet and yelled.
"He's only 67! Why, Lord, why is he leavin' now? He's too young! Way too young."
The answer was 'no'. My daddy went home with the Lord--he died in faith.
That was 20 years ago and now my momma is facin' death from cancer. Watchin' her get sick is bringin' back all those memories of daddy.
And his blessings--and our promises.
Most of my family is still not goin' to church--but my daddy and momma's prayers live on! I see God workin' in all of our lives. I heard from one sister that my brother recently started goin' to church! Miracles are startin' to happen -- not just for my brothers and sisters, but for their precious children and grandchildren.
Finally, Hannah Lee,
I promise to live for God so you will live for God.
I promise to serve God so hopefully you will serve God.
I promise to love Jesus so you will love Jesus.
I promise to go to church and take you with me, so when you grow up you will want to go to church for yourself.
I will keep my promises to daddy--for you. I love you so much, and I know Jesus loves you so much--
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