Early in 1983 Walt and I attended a Life in the Spirit Seminar. Some of you who were there may be reading this. Praise God what beautiful memories we share! We were taught about the charismatic gifts, and were prepared to be prayed over for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. For the first time in my life, as I was praying, I heard the words I uttered come into my brain, "Baptize me in the Holy Spirit and give me a baby". Now what I mean is, I had no prior thought to saying the words "and give me a baby". I'd often said words without thinking, but I was usually mad and I definitely had the thought and just hadn't had the filter on to contain it! This was different. I verbally expressed a desire from deep in my heart and it bypassed my brain and came out of my mouth. Then I heard it and processed it in my brain. That was cool to say the least. But was I going to suffer for asking such a thing? In the past when I made a goal that was hard to reach, it could bring a lot of stress. You know, like "I want to be the best mother in the world." Hopefully I didn't hold onto this idea for too long. The stress was terrible and the burden was all on me to make it happen. The beauty with my asking for a baby that night, was that the answer was "yes". It was given as a gift of faith. Somehow I just knew that God was going to make it happen and I could literally let go and let God! I never worried about how it would happen or when. I just knew from that moment on that it would. We looked into adoption. We went to doctors. We were given no encouragement and then Mary Virginia, named after her two grandmothers, was conceived anyway. And on January 30, 1985, in a horrible ice storm in the beautiful family centered city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mary was born and her Dad swaddled her and her three big sisters left school to come meet her and my mother flew in from New York and it was a glorious time. (How's that for a long sentence?) I tell you this because I love telling of the kindnesses of the Lord. (Is 63:7) Mary was the miracle I asked for. Faith was the gift God gave with it. Both gifts are precious and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the icing on the cake.
So Mary is 30. Yikes! She is more like me than my other three gems. It's scary, actually. She just posted on her blog this morning how she created a new system to make her menu planning quicker by putting all her meat in the freezer in a shoe box to make it easier to find. Wow. Honey, I know where you get this from and I think you just passed me up. I have shoe boxes in the closets and drawers, but so far not in the freezer. I like it though. Good organization means a lot to me and obviously Mary.
Mary was far enough behind the other girls to be kind of a family mascot. The older girls had started getting into their activities and Mary's younger years were spent in gymnasiums looking at Katie do gymnastics, or at the football game watching Katie and Bethanne in the band, or the basketball court watching Melanie play. I didn't realize how much she missed that we did with the older girls until she was almost grown. The poor thing didn't get to see any of the famous Disney movies. Apparently we viewed them in the couple of years before Mary was around or at least "up". You know we would put the baby "down" and have family time with the older kids. Oops. Sorry, Honey. But is was fun being the mascot, right?
Mary lives life to the fullest, loves with all her heart, and has no fear in her when taking on a new challenge. I thank God for her everyday. In August she will have her second child and our 21st grandchild and all I can say is: Thank you Lord for letting that desire from my heart come out of my mouth in 1983. Your loving kindness is awesome! Happy Birthday Mary Virginia! You've added so much to our life!