faith, prayer requests, Thought on God

Pennies from Heaven

First, thank you to all who are praying. I cannot believe the outpouring of love that my middle of the night heart cry has received. God bless you all.

I wrote this after my father died. God has always made His presence known during the hardest times. Yesterday, as I was getting back into my car after dropping my two oldest at a friend’s home, I found a penny outside my car door that wasn’t there when I had gotten out. It reminded me once more of this story, and I had to share.

Pennies from Heaven
The day my father died was a warm and sunny late spring day.  I awoke
to the phone ringing over and over with my cell phone signaling text
messages simultaneously.  With my heart and soul I knew there was a
problem.  When I finally was awake enough to answer the phone, my
sister calmly recounted the events of the early hours and pleaded with
me sincerely, but sternly, to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
 I at first thought of taking a shower and making the kids breakfast
but then her words sunk in and I quickly dressed and coaxed the kids
to do the same.  I hurriedly called a friend to watch them for awhile
and then piled my two little ones into my car.
After ushering the children into our friend’s home and quietly making
my exit before the little guy noticed, I found a single, shiny penny
next to my car.  I recalled an email I had received years earlier from
my Godmother about a rich man who always picked up every penny he saw.
 One day someone questioned why he would bother to pick up a penny
when he had so many millions of dollars.  His reply changed my view
toward the meager penny forever, he picked them up because they said
“in God we trust” on them.  He said a little prayer of thanks that we
could trust God every time he saw a little penny.  I knew that this
penny was a sign that I could still trust God.
I slipped the penny carefully into my pocket and thought to myself
that I would keep that penny forever because I found it the day my
father died.  He was still alive at the time, but in my soul I knew
that it was only a matter of very short time before he would be gone,
perhaps I had already missed him.  I jumped back in my car and began
the drive to the hospital, praising God for His provision while
pleading for a miracle on the scale of raising Lazarus after four
days.
It had been a hard two years already, yet they had begun on the
ultimate high of my life—the birth of my son.  Our daughter had been a
very high risk pregnancy.  It was a miracle that I was able to carry
her to term, even a bigger one that she was completely healthy.  After
we had her, we experienced a three year battle of infertility that
dragged me to the deepest depths of despair.  The doctor was stumped
and prepared us that a pregnancy may never be possible.  When I had
pushed myself as far as I possibly could go on my quest for another
child, I threw myself at the feet of the LORD and begged for mercy.  I
was okay if His final answer was no, I just needed an answer so that I
could move on.
 By His grace, I conceived despite the amazement of the
doctors and all my hormonal issues disappeared much to their
confoundment.  And so, my Samuel was born and I felt like I had
conquered the world and held a piece of Heaven itself in my arms.
However, the high was abruptly thwarted by my mother’s diagnosis with
stage four brain cancer.  Despite my absolute love for my child and my
longing to just spend endless hours just soaking in this precious
little love, I put my motherly desires aside a bit and tended to my
own mother.  Through prayer and powerful intercession she made it
through Chemotherapy, radiation, two surgeries, and came out on the
other side of cancer—remission.
 My little love had been the glue that
held me together through it all, however when I opened my eyes after
endless months of a complete blur, he wasn’t a baby anymore.  I longed
to have another chance to cuddle and kiss my newborn.  I dreamed of
getting to hold a baby for hours and hours without interruption.  I
begged God to find a way for us to have one more child.  But, I knew
that I had already been blessed so greatly.  I finally realized that I
had two remarkable miracles, I was satisfied, and I had made peace
with the events of Samuel’s first year and praised God that our family
was moving forward again.
Then, much to our amazement, I became pregnant.  I felt as if the
storm was finally over, we had been through the valley and were
heading up the mountainside once more.  However, at ten and a half
weeks the baby’s heart stopped beating.  On the ultrasound screen, I
saw a perfect little face, hands and feet so still and peaceful.  My
heart sank immediately at the absence of a fluttering heart.  The
ensuing miscarriage ripped at my soul.  The emotional turmoil was
matched only by the physical agony of an infection, emergency D&C, and
two weeks of painful recovery.
The day before I found that precious penny, was only the second time I had
seen my father in nearly three weeks, I never dreamed it would be the last
day I would see him.  I was in shock, I text messaged friends and
asked them to pray and pray hard.  It all seemed too terrible to be
true. I kept thinking I must be wrong, this will pass.  But in my
heart I knew the truth.  It hadn’t been what my sister said, but how
she said it.  The calm, metered tone of her voice said more than any
words could convey.  I could feel in her voice what she wasn’t saying
and the weight of her knowledge of an unfolding tragedy that she could
not allow her brain to absorb yet.  She was caring for our mother as
her husband and our brother tended to our father at the hospital.  She
had called and sent me a text message when the ambulance left our
parents’ home, but it had been the first night I had slept in nearly
three weeks.  I am usually a light sleeper, but this time I slept
right through it.
When I arrived at the hospital, my entire family was there.  We sat
crammed into a room that was more like a closet waiting for a doctor
to talk to us.  A nurse finally came out and told us we could go in
soon but cautioned that he was very sick.  Moments after she left we
heard the beeping of machines and the announcement of a code blue in
room 420—our father’s room.  We all knew what had happened, but still
held out hope that we were wrong.  Less than two days earlier, Daddy
had gone for a “routine” prostate biopsy.  A twenty minute procedure,
took his life only 36 hours later.  He developed a case of sepsis and
was beyond any earthly means of medicine.
As we gathered at my mother’s home later that day, my husband, Drew,
and I dawdled and debated on when we should tell our kids.  We decided
to let them play and have fun as long as we could before breaking the
news.  Our God-sent friend kept our two through breakfast, lunch,
snacks, naps, and dinner while six months pregnant and tending to her
own three children.  At six o’clock Drew finally picked up the
children.  He sat them down and explained what had happened, our
daughter’s only concern was who would take care of Grandma.  The kids
agreed that they wanted to go to Grandma’s—we had given them the
option—and so the two came bounding in.  We tried to keep things light
and as my husband flipped Samuel upside down in a tickle monster
frenzy, pennies fell from his pockets.  More pennies to remind me to
trust God.
I saved those pennies and decided to give one to each grandchild along
with a photo memory book of their grandfather.  However, the pennies
didn’t stop there.  In the weeks that followed I found countless
pennies all over the place—on my countertop, in the laundry, in the
diaper bag and my pocketbook, in shoes and on the ground, in grocery
bags at Shoprite, the bathtub and dresser drawers.  Each a reminder of how
good God is.  The pennies all told would not even amount to enough to purchase a cup of
coffee from Dunkin Donuts , but I know that when I prayerfully accepted
each one another brick was laid in my mansion in Heaven.
Just after my father’s death, I heard people questioning how God could
do this and whether there even could be a God.  But, truly this was a
act of free will.  My father, of his own free will, chose the doctor who
performed the procedure and this doctor—who we have discovered does
not have a good track record—chose of free will to not take certain
precautions.  I think the bigger question is how could God give us
free will?  Why would a God who can simply speak an entire universe
into majestic being, give people free will to single handedly destroy
it?  Why would the God who formed Adam with His own hands and filled
his lungs with His own breath, who knew each of us from before the
beginning of time, then give man the free will to take a life out of
rage or desire or convenience?  God did not do this, but He has been
there through it all.
I praise Him for the little girl that He gave to me for almost three
months who peacefully died and rests now in Heaven.  I praise Him for
my mother’s conquest of cancer and the outpouring of love that we have
received and continue to receive from friends throughout her battle.
I praise Him for the 34 years I spent with my father and the chance
to see him and kiss him goodbye one last time before he passed.  I
praise Him for the eternity that I will spend with my daughter,
Ashley, and my father, and all those loved ones I hold only in my
heart now.  I praise Him for my two little miracles that are snuggly
asleep in warm, safe beds.  I praise Him for a country that was
founded by men who trust God and allows me to worship, praise and
trust Him any way I want. I praise Him that I have a family who is
willing to stick together in good times and bad no matter our
differences.  And I praise Him for pennies from Heaven, a wealth that
I neither created nor deserve.

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