Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IM’s, etc) (11/04/10)
TITLE: Badge #316
By Anita van der Elst
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“Prayers for Nora,” she read the title, her voice slightly quavering. “Oh, this is the best thing anybody could’ve done for us. What a great way to share with Nora as she gets older, how all these people prayed for her when she was so sick!”
Lisa and I had compiled the messages posted by friends on Kristia’s Facebook wall over a six-week period. These well wishes and prayers had encouraged Kristia and Toby during the week that their two-year old Nora was hospitalized for a serious lung infection, and for the five weeks while on continuous IV antibiotics at home. Printed out, there would’ve been twenty-three pages.
I thought back to about a year previous when Kristia explained to our women’s small group how she had decided to overcome her reluctance to join Facebook.
“You know about my childhood,” she reminded us, “how my mother was very abusive and refuses to acknowledge her mistreatment of me to this day. Even after Toby and I were married, she continued being abusive towards me. When she refused my request to meet with us in family counseling, I realized it was time for me to ‘divorce’ her and my step-dad. It’s been very hard for me to not have a mom to go to with my questions and concerns, especially now that I have two little girls, and,” she patted her beach ball of a tummy, “with this third one coming.”
Our heads bobbed sympathetically.
Kristia revealed more of her story. “I haven’t seen my biological dad in twenty-four years. But from the time he and my mom divorced, when I was only a year old until I was ten, I spent weekends and vacation time with him. Then he disappeared from my life. I was not given a reason why he was gone.”
She sighed deeply.
“I’ve always wondered what happened. I’m wondering now if maybe I can find him through Facebook? That’s happened for other people, right? Also I have three younger half-sisters that I loved very much. Do they even remember me? Well, I believe the Lord is leading me to look for them.”
She paused again and looked around the group. “Would you pray about this with me? That if it’s the Lord’s will that I find my dad and my sisters, that they’ll show up on Facebook?”
Of course we agreed to pray.
Only a couple weeks later, her face glowing, Kristia excitedly shared with us.
“First thing I did after I signed up on Facebook was to do a friends search. I typed in my dad’s name. Wow! There were a lot of guys with that name! But I scrolled through and then I saw it—his picture. He’d changed some but then I looked at his eyes.”
Her own blue-green eyes sparkled, “‘Those are MY eyes,’ I thought. No mistaking it, we have the same eyes! So I sent him a private message, saying, ‘I think I’m your daughter. I’m not expecting anything from you but if you want to contact me, I’m here.’ And he did! Like, within hours! He said he and my sisters have been looking for me too and they all want to get together with me as soon as possible!”
Joyful tears flowed as we celebrated with Kristia this answer to our prayers.
After reuniting with her dad, Kristia’s mystery was solved. She said, “Dad told me that my mom was behaving towards him in ways that drove him crazy, which I can understand quite well now. So he chose to stop all communication at that time—a decision that haunted him all those years. But God was reminding my dad of me each and every day. In his job with the sheriff’s department, after he left me, the badge number he was given was 316. My birthday is March 16th!”
A coincidence? We don’t think so.
A number of visits have occurred now between Kristia and her long-lost family. Their many comments posted on Facebook chronicle each visit; photos of smiles and hugs reflect heartwarming affection. Her three girls delight in playing with their cousins. It’s easy to see they’re all related.
That song about God having the whole world in His hands runs through my mind as I look at Kristia’s Facebook wall. I’m revising it a little. God has the whole cyber world in His hands too.
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