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  • She Told Me... "I Never Knew People in Families Could Actually Enjoy Each Other!"

    I was teaching a class of Teenage girls at church and that year around the first of November I asked them to vote on something. I said, "We can exchange Christmas gifts with each other just as we always do, or would you prefer that I try to locate teen girls in the area who probably will not have a nice Christmas and give our gifts to them instead?" I went on to explain that I had typed out two papers for each one in the class. One small square paper said simply EXCHANGE GIFTS. The other said GIVE GIFTS TO GIRLS. They were instructed to fold both papers in half and cast their vote by dropping their vote into the basket I passed around.

    One by one, I read the votes aloud. I admit I was shocked when every girl in that class voted to give gifts to other girls. So the following day I started my search to find teen girls who may not have a Christmas and it didn't take long to learn about a Girl's Group Home in our small town. The girls, by order of the courts, lived there and attended school from there. I set up an appointment to talk to the House Parents at that home and eagerly told them about our class and their vote. My husband went with me.

    One of the ladies there exclaimed, "Oh my! That's wonderful news!"

    Another said, "Some of these girls do not even have a home to go to. And others, well, they aren't allowed to go home. Still others simply don't want to go back home, even for a holiday visit."

    The first one, who had said our idea was wonderful, went on to say, "Since these girls are mostly considered 'bad girls', the only gifts they usually get are the few we put under the tree for them. That's one gift per girl." I was so excited. I couldn't hardly wait to share the good news with my girls at church.

    I could not contain my excitement, so that same evening I called each girl in my class and told them about the girls at the group home. By the next day, different ladies from the church were calling to say, "That is the most wonderful thing the class is doing. Would it be okay if I make some homemade cookies (and candy, and cakes!) to send along with the gifts?" Believe me, I was getting more excited by the hour.

    I had made arrangements to deliver our gifts one week before Christmas and I was expecting each girl to bring her gift at that time. But that very next Sunday, each wonderful girl in that class brought a gift and they kept bringing them right up to the deadline. My husband and I, as we had prearranged, loaded our car with gifts, candy, cookies, and cakes...all wrapped in pretty paper and tied in a beautiful array of bows. But he and I had talked for weeks about asking the house parents if we could possibly bring one girl at a time to our home for a weekend visit and perhaps go on a family picnic or something on Saturday, then take the girl to church with us on Sunday. These girls -- bad girls; girls without a home -- had become a burden on our hearts and we could not let everything end with Christmas that year.

    We were somewhat let down as they explained how things had to be, if we were given permission to allow them in our home and in our care. The way it was, we would be given a background check. We, my husband and I and our four children, would be 'investigated'. Meaning, they explained, that our neighbors, friends, coworkers, our childrens teachers, etc. would be asked questions about us. And if...IF...we passed, we could NOT probe into the lives of the girls. We would not be allowed to ask them why they had ended up in the group home, or what they had done or anything like that. It seemed strange that we had to be investigated, while not being allowed to pry into the girls lives. But as I already explained, these girls had become a burden on our hearts, so we filled out forms and answered questions and started the process to qualify. When we went back home, we explained everything to our four children, three boys and a girl, three of them teens also. They said they wouldn't question the girls about anything, and I knew them well enough to know they would not let us down. Not intentionally anyway.

    Finally, after a few weeks, one Friday afternoon in late January, we headed to the group home to pick up our first weekend visitor. The house parents had explained to the girls that they would be allowed to visit one at a time, and that they were to abide by our rules. Not go anywhere unless one of us was with them. And, they would be going to church with us. Then after church on Sunday evening, they would return to the group home. If there was any problem of any kind, they would forfeit their next turn.

    That's how we met Kathy. Kathy was our first visitor from the group home and she was so excited just to go somewhere. She jabbered all the way to our house and was beside herself to sleep in a twin bed in our daughter's bedroom. "Oh, WOW!" she squealed, "What a pretty bedroom!" I heard my daughter explain that I had sewn the blue and white checked ruffled bed spreads and matching drapes at the window. And that we had bought her white French Provincial bedroom furniture from a neighbor who was being transferred to another state. "Mom and Dad got the whole set for only one hundred dollars," she blurted.

    I smiled as I thought, Girl, you are a blabber mouth, telling someone how much we paid for used furniture.

    At the supper table later I asked Kathy, "You did bring something to wear to church on Sunday, didn't you?" Back then ladies and girls wore dresses or skirts to church. It was unheard of for them to wear pants, but that was all that Kathy had brought. It was all she had. So after we finished eating, we loaded our four kids and Kathy into our station wagon and we headed into town to buy material so I could sew a skirt for Kathy. She helped pick our the material, material with multiple colors that she could wear with different tops.

    Back home, I measured and cut out the gathered skirt so I could sew it on Saturday morning. Kathy was so happy to have a skirt. "I've never had a skirt or a dress that I can remember," she told me as she tried it on and modeled it for us. Every time after that, Kathy came for her weekend visit carrying her skirt and showing me the different colored tops she could wear with it.

    I ended up sewing skirts for each girl that visited with us. It became a weekly ritual for a while to load up everyone in the car and go shopping for material. And each of the girls always brought their skirt with each visit to our house. On Saturdays, we carried on as usual with the same old activities we were used to doing as a family. Sometimes we went to the mountains on a picnic, a hike, took old inner tubes to the mountain streams when it got hot weather, and once in a while we went to a movie or to something that was going on at church.

    One Sunday as we were all gathered around our long dining room table, eating and joking around and laughing, Kathy (out of the blue) made a statement that took us by surprise. She waited until the laughter had died down and it had gotten quieter, then said, "I never knew people in families could actually enjoy each other and have fun together!"

    One of my boys, not thinking, asked, "You mean you and your family don't have fun together?"

    And Kathy replied, "Oh heavens, no! I used to steal money from my Mom's purse so I could run away again. She was always bringing home her drunk boyfriends. And they'd end up making passes at me. And I ran away and ran away, but the police would always find me and take me back there. But finally, I took her car keys and drove off. So, then when they caught me, they sent me to the group home. I don't ever want to go back there.

    "But, its funny. I can't hardly wait for my turn to come here. I feel like I'm part of the family, a real family, when I'm here." She said several of the other girls felt the same way.

    Never in my wildest imaginations did I think we would ever see Kathy again when a year or two later we sold that house and moved to another county. We'd had to stop getting the girls because it was too far to drive. We all missed them. We had all really enjoyed having them at our house.

    But one day a few years later our phone rang. I picked it up and said. "Hello."

    "Miss Judy?"

    "Yes, this is Judy."

    "Well, you probably don't remember me. My name is Kathy. I used to visit your home from the girl's home where I was living."

    "Of course I remember you, Kathy! I'll never forget you. How are you doing?"

    Kathy was calling to invite us to her wedding. She was going to marry a man who was going to school to become a minister. "Miss Judy," she said, "I just want you to know that I want a home and family exactly like yours. I am in church all the time. I have several skirts now and dresses, too, that I've bought to wear to church. I love church and I love the Lord, and I'm a Christian now, Miss Judy. I just want to see your family once more, and I hope you can come to my wedding. It was your family that showed me that people can be straight, and be Christians, and still have fun. I will never forget you all."

    Kathy was a beautiful, radiant bride! But I do need to add that it is we who will never forget Kathy.

    Titus 2:1-5
    1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
    2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
    3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
    4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
    5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. miepie's Avatar
      miepie -
      Oh mawma, what a beautiful story again! I can just imagine you standing there with open arms for the girls from that home....... You gave them a home for the weekend and I can just imagine you sewing beautiful skirts for those girls........
      What a reward to see Kathy like a beautiful bride on her weddingday!
      Thanks for sharing this....... once again you gave me goosebumps, like you do with every article...... Keep on sharing them, I love to read them!

      Love you very much,
    1. bc3n1's Avatar
      bc3n1 -
      Judy, when I saw that you had written another article I said, "Hot dog! I get to read an article about Judy's family and their life as ambassodors for our Lord." You need to write a book for your family on earth and the family of God. Blessings to you for sharing with us all.
    1. Daniel's Avatar
      Daniel -
      Great story! Great ministry! Thanks for sharing.
    1. moonglow's Avatar
      moonglow -
      Oh how lovely that you were able to do that for those girls! And what a lasting impression. Now sadly I have heard even foster parents cannot make their foster children attend church with them..

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful and inspiring story with us.

      God bless
    1. Diggindeeper's Avatar
      Diggindeeper -
      Mieke, thank you! I tried to give you a Rep comment, but I have to pass some around before I can give you any more! I forgot to say that we did not do anything differently when the girls were visiting. We still went right on with our nightly family devotions and prayer that we did each night before going to bed for the night. We still said our prayers at each meal. Just went on with life as usual.

      We really missed them when we moved too far away to keep having them over!

      Thanks too, bc3in1, Daniel, (although we didn't know it was a 'ministry'. God just gave us a burden for those forgotten girls!) and moonglow! May God bless all of you!
    1. jayne's Avatar
      jayne -
      I just love reading about things like this.

      We NEVER know the impact that we have on other people. Matthew 10:42 says that even just a cold cup of water is significant.

      Who would think? A few weekend visits. A homemade skirt.

      A changed life.

      May we all be more cognizant of what we do with and for other people in the Name of Jesus Christ.
    1. ilovethelordjesus's Avatar
      ilovethelordjesus -
      Thanks for sharing. God has plans for each and everyone of us!
    1. Ta-An's Avatar
      Ta-An -
      Why do you have to make me cry again??
      Love you!!
    1. Dizzytimes7's Avatar
      Dizzytimes7 -
      Thanks for sharing that story. I stopped everything to finish reading and it really was wonderful how it ended.

      God Bless you all for your unselfish lives!
    1. miepie's Avatar
      miepie -

      Thanks anyway for the not given reps!

      I just want you to know that I always send your articles to Charles as well by email and he always loves your stories too!

      Love you very much,
    1. protea's Avatar
      protea -
      This wonderful testimony is the result of a person/family's obedience regarding a burden which our Father gave them. They became instruments through which God worked to bring love to those 'bad' girls. Your 'cups' overflowed with love into the 'saucers' so you could pass it on to girls in need. Who indeed can resist the love of God ? Thank you for sharing this real life story !
    1. Jeanne D's Avatar
      Jeanne D -
      How did I miss your wonderful writings. This really touched my heart!
      God has truly blessed you with a wonderful gift.

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