I really do not know exactly how to begin this story except by saying, I’m sure everyone has relatives that for one reason or another you have never really gotten to know very well. Some relatives you probably have never known. Such is the situation in this story for me.
Growing up in the country with my Aunts and Uncles living down the road and across the field was a wonderful time in my life. Having these relatives around me helped me to get through my younger years. They furnished the love I needed to survive in a home were love was not displayed a lot.
All of my relatives have passed away except for a very few, one of which is my Aunt Elsie that I have never known very well. Growing up, I was never allowed to go over to her house very much because my mama always had some chore or something for me to do. She felt I didn’t have any business going over there, although sometimes as a little girl, I would sneak over there for a few minutes but not very often.
Both of my parents have gone on now to be with the Lord and now I find myself without any family. What family I did have decided after my mama died that they didn’t want to have anything to do with me. The only thing that I can figure is that when they are around me, they feel convicted due to their chosen lives.
I have prayed to the Lord, wishing I had family. I have prayed about the family that walked away from me for going on 3 years now, hoping that maybe they would realize that what they feel is not me convicting them but a much greater power.
I sold the home place which was a very difficult thing for me to do since that was the house where I was born and raised. I came to the decision to sell after much prayer because I could not keep my home up in one town and maintain my home place some 65 miles away. I kept the farm land which I rent out for crops to be grown.
Since selling the house, I had surgery, which left me incapacitated for a while. It could have been a very depressing time in my life but thanks to the Lord that he provided me with a lot of visits and cards from people. One card in particular was from my Aunt Elsie. It was such a sweet card not to mention the little girl on the front reminded me of myself. I was so touched. She had heard from a neighbor in the community about my surgery and wanted me to know that she was thinking of me.
After healing from my surgery which was the first of October, I headed back up to the home place to transplant some rose bushes that my mama dearly loved. I was going to bring them to my house and set them out in my yard. When I arrived, I stopped to visit one of the ladies in the community that I refer to as Aunt Helen (actually she is not related to me except in the Lord). She told me that I should wait until it got a little colder and they became dormant so they would not die. I agreed to do what she told me because she raised rose bushes. In fact, she was the one who had given my mama the ones I had come to transplant.
After visiting her for a while, I left and proceeded to my home place so that I could tell the guy who bought the house that I would not be getting the rose bushes today. I took a detour around the block and drove by the house of one of the family members that had walked away from me. Their front door was open and there was a part of me that wanted to stop and the Holy Spirit said, “No, don’t stop, you don’t need this in your life”. As I drove on down the road I told the Lord that I was just sad because I wanted to have relatives that I could talk to and be close with. You know, someone who knew my mama and daddy. Someone who I could laugh and cry with.
Driving down the road I passed the house of my Aunt Elsie who I never really got to know and I saw my cousin Jimmy outside cooking what looked to be a pig on the cooker. There were a few cars in the yard and I wondered what was going on. I figured it was such a pretty day that they must be having a cook out.
I continued on down the road and pulled into the yard of my home place to visit with David, the guy who had bought my house. I told him about delaying the rose bush transplant for a few more months and he was fine with that decision. I left his house and proceeded to go visit the lady who rented my farm for a few minutes before heading back to my home. As we sat talking, I mentioned that I saw Jimmy out in the yard cooking a pig and she said that it was my Aunt Elsie’s 80th birthday and all of the family was there to celebrate.
When she said 80th birthday, the card my Aunt had sent me flashed before my eyes. All of a sudden I felt like I should at least go over there and wish her a happy birthday. After all, she had thought enough of me to send me a card. It had been so long since I had seen my cousins that I knew I would not recognize them. When I pulled into the yard, there were so many more vehicles than when I first came by that I wanted to turn around and leave but I didn’t because it was too late, I was already there.
I parked my truck and proceeded to go into the house. People were everywhere. I didn’t know a soul. Finally, I saw my Aunt Elsie out on the back deck with her walking stick in one hand and her daughter Merle with her other hand helping her to walk (or at least I thought it was Merle, I really wasn’t sure). My Aunt seemed so happy to see me. She said I had really made her day. She made me feel so special, on what was her special day. Then another lady came out the door and said my name. I had no idea who she was. She told me she was Janet. Janet was the oldest of Aunt Elsie’s children. She then took me inside to see Lou, my other cousin. Lou didn’t recognize me and I surely wouldn’t have recognized her. It was really good to see everyone.
By this time, I felt that I should leave because they were getting ready to eat and I didn’t come to eat. Next thing I knew I was trying to get out of the door to leave but someone was standing in front of the door and I couldn’t get out. I tried to go another way but people were crowding in on me in order to join hands to have prayer before eating. I was stuck. There was nothing left for me to do but take hold of the person’s hand on each side of me and bow my head.
As I stood there listening to this young man pray such a sweet prayer, I thought how wonderful it was to know that this family knew the Lord. This was something that I never really knew about them. After the prayer, I thought, “Now I can leave”. Wrong again. My cousin Lou came up and introduced me to her husband who was the man next to me blocking the door. Then came Janet handing me a plate. Next thing I knew Janet and I were sitting eating and talking. It was wonderful.
We were talking about mama and daddy and she was telling me about the time I was born and how she used to look at me in the bassinet and how she always knew that I was a special child. We finished eating and gathered around the piano and started singing hymns that my Aunt Elsie had indicated in the back of the hymn books as being her favorite ones. It was wonderful!
As I was leaving, my cousin Janet hugged me tight and then looked me dead in the eyes and said, “We are your family Ellen Ann and I love you unconditionally”. I felt the Lord put his arms around me at that very moment. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and I left to go home.
I arrived there that day at approximately 2:45pm and did not leave until just about 7:00pm. I was so full of joy when I left that the trip home did not seem long at all. After reflecting on the day, I realized that the Lord answered my prayer. He allowed me to have family who also belonged to him. I thank him and praise him this day for continuing to give me the desires of my heart. It is awesome to me that I made the trip that day to transplant a couple of rose bushes when in all actuality the only thing transplanted was me.
Won’t you allow him to give you the desires of your heart? All you have to do is delight yourself in him and ask him.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son can bring glory to the Father, You can ask for anything in my name and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
Editor’s note: Praise the Lord!