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A Love From Above
youth service had been fun! Several of the kids Denise
knew from high school were there, mostly girls, but a
few boys. Of course, Roger was in charge. He wasn't
actually called a Youth Director, but in effect, he was
one, since he taught young people's Sunday School class
and was also the leader of the youth services. He was
really perfect for it since he was young too, Denise
thought, and knew how to have fun with the rest of them.
But, he also knew how to command respect and obedience,
which was essential to a good leader of any kind, she
They had opened the meeting with prayer,
then sang several contemporary worship songs, had a
brief teaching, very informally, with everyone sitting
in a circle, and had open discussion on 'peer pressure
vs Godly conscience'. The refreshments, provided by
alternating parents in the church, were then
There was a short time left for a game,
Roger said, afterwards, in which the majority voted for
a 'sword drill'. Roger explained to Denise that it was a
game where scripture verses were called out and everyone
tried to be first in finding the actual verses, and had
to read it aloud, as proof. The one who found the most
scriptures first, during the time allowed, was the
winner. Of course, Roger was keeping
Denise was so embarrassed! She hardly knew
the books of the Bible, much less which one was where!
She made a promise to herself, and to God, that she
would study hard to become familiar with His Word, and
where to find it!
But no one dared mention that
Denise had not succeeded even once, she supposed since
she was new in the group. Thankful for that, she went
with the others to the Bible study in the main
auditorium, surprised that she found Roger walking along
beside her. She was even more suprised when he sat down
beside her as she found Nana and Papa's pew.
'in-depth' Bible study, led by the Pastor, was
interesting, but left a lot of questions in Denise's
mind. Man, did she ever have a lot to learn. Well, she
probably would be learning the rest of her life, she
told herself, refusing to get bogged down in the details
of the things she didn't yet understand.
process of exchanging greetings and good-byes after
church, Denise overheard Papa inviting Roger to go to
Todd's ballgame with them. Oh, that's tomorrow night,
Denise realized. hoping Roger would go. He was fun to be
with, and such a sincere guy, so different from
She heard Roger comment that it sounded like
fun, and that he would enjoy going. Denise caught Papa's
eye and gave him an approving smile.
By the time
they arrived back at the farm, it was already bedtime.
And Denise was feeling sleepy and tired, so they all
went right to bed. Denise was thankful for a clear
conscience and the peace and joy of the Lord as she
drifted off to sleep.
A loud, continuous
'beep-beep-beep* aroused Denise, as she realized it was
time to get up, if she was going to get any studying
done before going to the hospital. But she felt so
tired! She could sleep another hour, she decided, and
start the Bible study program tomorrow. One more day
won't make that much difference, she reasoned to
herself. But, her conscience was sharpened, and she made
herself get out of bed, get into the shower in order to
get awakened thoroughly. She had made a promise to
herself and to God, and she was going to keep
Awake and alert, now, she sat at the small
desk in her room. She hadn't heard anyone else up yet,
and was glad, as she still felt a little awkward about
reading and praying. She read, beginning with the Gospel
of St. John, Chapter 1, as Papa had suggested some time
back. She wasn't sure she understood it all, but she was
She remembered how Roger had
talked about 'putting on the armor', so she turned to
Ephesians 6:13, which was marked for her. Reading
through it once, she started her confession as Roger had
instructed her, paraphrasing the sentences to make it
Denise still didn't understand all that
Roger had told her about putting on the armor of God,
but she did realize it was to prepare her for spiritual
battles. Having done this, she began to just talk to her
new heavenly Father, thanking him for the priviledge of
being His child, and asking to be taught his
The day well begun for Denise, she heard
Nana and Papa stirring in their bedroom. Looking at the
clock, she put other things aside and began to dress for
When Denise finally got to the nurse's
station, she noticed all the nurse's busily talking in a
group. She wondered what was going on. Maybe a new
patient, she thought, although it was seldom that one
was admitted who could cause this much
When they saw Denise standing at the
window, Denise noticed the excitement increase. "What's
the deal?" she asked curiously.
wouldn't believe who is in Joanie Weston's room. She
looks just like you! I thought you'd gotten your hair
cut when I saw her! I couldn't believe my eyes when I
found out it wasn't you, after all!
curious, Denise had to investigate. Surely, they were
exaggerating! But, when she opened the door to Joanie's
room, she looked at Pam, who, with short, curly,
strawberry blonde hair, sky blue oval eyes, and long
dark lashes, looked just like Denise's mirror image,
except, perhaps a little older, more
The girl stared at Denise,
evidently thinking the same thing, Then the two stared
at Joanie in disbelief.
"Pam, this is Denise.
Denise, I've told you about Pam. my niece. I'm glad you
two could meet. As you can see, you two look an awfully
lot alike. You both look very much like my mother, Pam's
grandmother. She passed away several years ago." Joanie
hesitated, looking down for a moment. Then, looking up
again, continued, "I've got some pictures, Denise, if
you'd like to see them. I suspect that she is your
grandmother, too. I hope you're not disappointed if it
proves out that you're my daughter!"
Pam, then turning back to Joanie, Denise said, "No, I'm
not at all disappointed, Joanie. I've been pretty sure
ever since that first visit, with the birthdates being
the same. It's a real relief to me, to know that I was
loved, especially by someone as sweet and nice as
And in a moment of impulse, Denise leaned
forward, and hugged Joanie tightly. Joanie returned the
embrace lovingly, as Pam watched, speechless. It was a
happy time. Tearful, but brief, as Denise had to get
back to work. Promising to return as soon as she could,
she left the room.
Almost dazed, very happy, and
still amazed at the likeness of her cousin, she made her
rounds with the same smile and attentiveness that her
Before leaving the hospital that
day, Denise, Joanie and Pam had a good visit, exchanging
addresses, phone numbers, and made promises to exchange
photographs. Denise hugged them both, promising to visit
more tomorrow, then hurried off to get ready for Todd's
ballgame. It was about fifty miles away, so they would
have to leave early.
"Oh, Denise, honey, you're
not gonna believe what the Lord has done!" Nana
exclaimed, as Denise walked through the kitchen door on
arrival. I got a phone call from Belgium today! You
mother called to talk to me!"
"Is Dad OK? What
happened? Why did she call?" Denise questioned
anxiously. She knew the feelings Mom had toward Nana, so
it had to be something really important!
Honey, the Lord is so good! You know that we've been
praying for your mom and dad for years, that the Lord
would open their spiritual eyes, and reveal His love to
them. Well, Dorrie said something about getting 'Peter
and Paul' for tour companions this last few days, and
apparently, they ministered to them. Anyway, Dorrie
called just to ask me and Papa to forgive her, and said
that she was so sorry, and that she had been so wrong
about everything! It was a different girl that I talked
to today, Honey, a girl I knew a long, long time ago!
Praise the Lord, our prayers have been
"Nana, I don't know what to say. Are
you sure that's what she meant? You know, she was pretty
set in her theories. Are they still gonna be home this
weekend?" Denise asked.
"No, in fact, she asked
if I would go ahead, and help you get your school
shopping done. This couple that they got hooked up with
asked them to tour the Holy Land with them, so they're
gonna be a few days late. But, I'm just thrilled. I
can't wait for my little girl to come
Denise grinned shyly. She couldn't believe
her grandmother was talking like that about her mother!
But, who would ever have thought that a trip to Europe
for her parents could bring so many changes to their
lives, hers, Moms and Dads! Yes, it had to be an answer
to Nana and Papa's faithful prayers!
while later, riding in Nana's older, but luxurious car,
Papa drove by a farm not far from his own to pick up
Roger. "Papa, I didn't know Roger lived out here! I just
assumed he lived in town!" Denise said
"Oh, yeah. He's been living out here
ever since the Alexander's moved off to Houston. I'm
suprised you didn't know it." Papa responded playfully,
looking at her in the rear view mirror.
take Roger long to come out. Nana offered to let him sit
in front, volunteering to ride in back with Denise, but
Roger insisted it would be a pleasure to share the seat
with Denise, and had everybody laughing. Denise caught a
pleased glance between Nana and Papa as Roger climbed
into the backseat.
"Well, hello, Denise. How are
you, tonight?" Roger asked playfully, as the car
returned to the dirt road.
"I'm just fine, Roger.
How are you," Denise responded, laughing. "You know, I
thought you lived in town all this time. I didn't know
you had bought this farm. That's really a nice
"Bought? Did you say I bought it? I wish!
Actually, I lucked out and got a chance to lease it. But
it is a nice place. Hopefully, I can buy it
Papa asked, interrupting the
conversation, "Got any new calves yet? They're about
due, aren't they, Roger?"
"Yeah, I got a new one
this morning, a little Angus bull. Got four more due
sometime this month." Roger answered.
neat, Roger, can I see the calf sometime?" Denise asked,
"Hey, you, back there! I've got
some calves and you haven't even stepped out the door to
see them!" Papa reminded Denise.
fair. Papa! Your calves are half grown and they're not
cute like newborns!" Denise defended
Nana was laughing continuously at this
friendly bantering. But, the conversation eventually
lulled, and Denise's mind began to wander.
would be a strange weekend, she thought. Mom and Dad
wouldn't be home this weekend, after all. And it would
be her first weekend without Jon to think of, and plan
for. Life would never again be 'normal'. Jon would be
coming home on weekends, but not coming to see her. It
would be really strange. She hadn't changed her mind
about Jon, but still, it would be strange seeing him in
town on weekends, and not being with him.
what was it going to be like when Mom and Dad did come
home? If Nana was right, and they had changed their
minds about the Lord, then things were really gonna be
strange! But, good, she concluded. Perhaps, then, they
wouldn't be disappointed about her decision to follow
Christ. She could hardly believe so much had happened
since they left for Europe-it had only been five
She had found out about her 'real' mother,
and loved her, and met her 'real' cousin, whom she
immediately liked very much, and believed they would
probably be great friends.
Of course, Denise
hadn't shared this story with anyone. Perhaps, if she
prayed about it...
Denise hadn't seen Amanda,
Jon's little sister much lately, but she did miss her.
Maybe, during the week, when Jon was gone, she could
still spend some time with her. She wondered if breaking
up with Jon would affect his parents' feelings toward
her. Hopefully they would still like her, especially,
since they were good friends with Mom and
Interrupting her thoughts, Nana asked Denise
how things were with Joanie today.
haven't gone to meet and visit with her. I have
continued to pray for her, though." Nana
Denise leaned forward in her seat to
answer Nana. "She's probably going home tomorrow. She's
out of traction and the physical therapist is teaching
her to use crutches. Her niece from Colorado came down
to stay with her for a while after she goes home. I met
her today, and she's really nice. I got Joanie's address
and phone number. We've agreed to stay in touch," Denise
said, wondering what Nana would think if she knew the
rest of the story.
"That's good. It sounds like
everything has worked out well for her. Look! There's
the ball park! It sure is crowded." Nana continued,
changing the subject.
They just had time to get
seated on the bleachers when the game started. Todd's
team was up to bat first, and Roger, Papa, Nana and
Denise joined the crowd in cheering.
The team was
playing good, with two runs already in when Todd's turn
came to bat. The tension was mounting! And he struck
Yelling, "it's OK, Todd", his family
responded as if he had done great, anyway. "Better luck
next time around!" Denise heard others calling to her
little brother, too.
The visiting team soon had
their turn outfield. Todd was playing first base, and it
was soon plain to see he knew his job. And he was
Roger and Papa left for the concession
stand during the second inning, returning with a lot of
goodies to munch on. Then it was Todd's turn to bat
again. This time, he got a good hit at the second ball
thrown, but by the time he got to first base, they had
it! He was out, again, but the runner on third base got
home, so it was not a total loss. The score so far was
10-3, in Todd's team's favor.
The next inning
went even better for the team. Todd got three players
out on first base, ending that round, then, up to bat
again. This time, Todd hit a good ball, getting to
second base before his ball was secured. The game
continued and the tension mounted during the fifth
inning, when the opposing team scored four runs! The
hour and half game ended with a score of 10-7, Todd's
Everyone in the stands were going
crazy, Denise noted happily. And she was one of them.
She was so proud of her little brother. It was a real
shame that Mom and Dad couldn't have been here for the
They sought out Todd immediately, pounding
him on the back, telling him he played a good game.
After congratulating the players, finding, and visiting
briefly with Grandma and Grandpa Whitaker, they began
the trip home.
The engine purred along in the
darkness, as Roger leaned toward Denise. "How are things
with your boyfriend," he asked quietly. "Needed any
rescuing lately?" He smiled, jokingly, but in the dim
light of the car, Denise could see him watching her
"No. And you won't have to worry about
that, anymore, Roger. I broke up with Jon, Sunday, right
after church. "
"Really? How do you feel about
that, now, Denise? You seemed to really care for
"I thought I did, Roger, but I found out
that the love I had for Jon was a selfish kind of love.
I enjoyed his attention, and he made me feel good.
But, it doesn't compare at all to the love and security
that I've found in the Lord! I've never been happier,
Roger! And, though I wish it could have been different,
I know that Jon and I just couldn't have made it over
the long haul! But, I know now that my Heavenly Father
knows what I need, and I believe that He has someone
better for me.
"I'm so glad, Denise! Your
grandparents and I have been praying for you a long
time. He has sure answered our prayers! I'm very proud
of you", Roger said, the sincerity showing in his eyes.
"And isn't it wonderful that your parents have come to
the Lord! That's quite a miracle, from what I
understand. But, you know, our God doesn't just work
with individuals, he works in families!"
it really is fantastic. I was really worried about how
they would accept 'the new me'. But, I guess there's
gonna be a lot of changes around our house, for all of
Denise remembered all the times she had
sat, and listened to Roger teaching Sunday School
lessons. And the time he rescued her after Jon had
pushed her out of the car, leaving her in the middle of
nowhere. She remembered the time her patient had died,
and Roger comforted her. And the times he had spent
praying with her, and the recent Bible studies. The Lord
had used him to help her, to try to reach her many
times. He hadn't been there every time she needed help,
but God had.
Her God, her Lord! He had loved her
even when she wasn't walking with him, wasn't trusting
Him, didn't even believe in Him, but He had been there
all the time. What a love! A love that would never hurt
her, or leave her. A love that would last
"Roger," Denise said softly, as she
gently layed her hand on his, "thank you. Because of
you, I've found the love I was looking for. I've finally
found what really counts! A love from above!"
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