Sunday, October 5, 2008

Miracle in Monmouth

I have two friends who keep private blogs. Yesterday, as I read Laura's, I started putting pieces of a puzzle together and realized just how aware our Heavenly Father was of two young girls. It's a sweet story that I hope Laura and Lindsey will forgive me for sharing here, but I think everyone can benefit from it's proof of God's existence and His love for us.

In September of 1992, Zan and I, then six months married, moved to Monmouth, Oregon to attend Western Oregon University. Monmouth was the favorite place I ever lived. I felt like I was in heaven. It was the perfect place to start out as newlyweds and to start our family. We loved and were well loved by our ward and the town was sweet and simple.

During my time there, I was called to serve in the Primary as a Merrie Miss A teacher--the 10 year old girls. Zan was called to teach the Blazer B's--the 11 year old boys. The next year, I was moved to teach the Merrie Miss B's and be co-teacher with Zan. Our groups of kids were combined. I loved serving with Zan. I learned so much from his teaching style. He just plain loved the kids we served. I think every newlywed should have the chance to serve with her husband at some point.

The following year, I was called to serve in the Young Women as the Beehive Adviser and moved up with the girls I had now been with since they were 10. I thought this was interesting that the entire time we were in Monmouth, I was with this group of girls.

In May of 1994, the Primary president passed away. She'd had cancer before we arrived, it had been in remission but returned with a vengeance, and as she was ready (as a single mom of four kids) to graduate from the education program at Western, she passed away leaving, in Monmouth, three of the four children (the eldest was already off at college and on his own at this point). Her youngest, Lindsey, was eleven, and I knew would, in July, become one of my Beehives. I had become closer acquainted with this family as I babysat a number of days a week for a small family that lived next door to them. Their home was also behind and across a parking lot and street from Zan's and my apartment. I could look out my kitchen window and see the front of their house.

I loved Lindsey and was so excited for her to become my stewardship--just an excuse to get to know her better and look out for her a little. As anyone would be, I was concerned for her.

Lindsey's birthday is July 31st. Little did she (or I) know what a birthday present she would be given that year--a present from her Father in Heaven who knew just what His sweet daughter, who'd just lost her momma, needed.

On July 31st of 1994 (Lindsey's 12th birthday), Lindsey and I met Laura, who had just moved to Independence (the town right next door to Monmouth), and into our ward. Laura was twelve. I suddenly had another Beehive. I really didn't know much about her situation, but I knew that her mom wasn't very active at that point and that I had a bit of work to do.

I remember, only slightly, having these girls in the backseat of my car when they first met. It was dead silent back there. I'm not really good at silence, it makes me uncomfortable, so I started the conversation and worked to get these girls talking. Next thing I knew, they were chatting away on their own.

Okay, a little honesty here, I never knew Laura's situation from what I can recall. I knew she lived with her mom in a mobile home park. I loved her mom; she was a great lady, but I don't know if she really trusted me there at the beginning at least that was the vibe I got. I never asked where Laura's dad was. I didn't want to invade her privacy, and I thought that if Laura wanted to talk about it, she would. I don't know that she ever did--until yesterday. I read her blog and was blown away.

Yesterday would have been Laura's dad's birthday. He passed away when she was eleven--shortly before she moved to Independence. From her blog it sounds like he raised her and her siblings alone, so Laura had come to live with her mom just as Lindsey's dad and stepmom moved down to Monmouth to raise her--they, these twelve-year-old girls were living with people they hadn't lived with since they were tiny; they were in foreign worlds. Yet, these girls were in the SAME situation. I didn't know! How could I not know? Why didn't I ask? I loved being with these girls, and they loved being with each other. Heavenly Father met their needs--kindred spirits.

As I read her blog, I thought back to those years. I'm trying to recall (with my extremely poor memory) if I was understanding enough to these two girls who were hurting; who had lost all that they'd ever known. Since the loss of my own mom, I don't know how I could have known until I had experienced it myself. Lindsey and Laura, I love you so much! You were my little sisters, and I hope you were aware, at that point in your lives, how much I loved you. You are amazing young women!!! I'm so happy to be able to read about your lives now that we all live apart. Thank you for taking such good care of each other still after so many years and so many miles apart! You were God-sends for each other.
Suddenly His hand in this situation is so clear to me, and it makes me much is His hand in our lives now? I hope you know he is aware of you ALWAYS.
I stole this from Laura's blog (Sorry, Laura. It just brought back so many memories).


Dolly said...

Wow! That was such a beautiful story to share- with pictures too! Thank you for giving me a great bedtime story to share with my 11 yr. old.

Tonya said...

That was a beautiful story! You are such an amazing woman Julie! I admire you. Thanks for sharing:0)

Laura said...

WOW Julie I was just passing through doing my normal checks of your blog and what do I see? A blog about Lou and I... SO amazing. Isn't it funny how in retrospect we see the effects of the Lord in our lives so clearly? I'm sorry you didn't know about my Dad, I thought you did. It was for sure hard times but you made it SO SO SO much better. It was so nice to feel your love all the time. Linds and I always talk about how grateful we are for you in our lives then... I don't know if you know but Linds and I were the bestest of friends all through out high school, and though we don't talk as often anymore I love her with all my heart!! Thank you so much for introducing me to one of the best people I know. You and Zan brought me such fond memories of a hard time in my life. So much so that I don't think of it as a hard time but good times. Remember when you, Linds and I made that rhubarb pie but forgot the sugar and we tried to get the missionaries to eat it? If not, it was so hilarious!! Thanks for being there for me always. I Love You Julie!!

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