Now, to make this more interesting, for a moment, imagine what it would be like to KNOW you can show up at a given place and time to receive a real life miracle. Anything you ask, let's say, would be given to you as long as you publicly voice your wish and then dare to believe you will receive it.
North Cleveland Church of God began announcing their Miracle Sunday service several weeks before Christmas; the official date was set for the morning of January 25, 2015. The first time we heard about the event, Lydia and I instinctively grasped one another's hands tight. We'd never heard of Miracle Sunday before, and we were totally IN! So, in response, we began counting down the days. And talking about it. A lot. Three specific things were on our list:
1. Hope and Charlie to begin speaking words
2. Natalie to be set free from Reactive Attachment Disorder
3. Hope's heart to continue to function normally
The build up was nothing short of incredible; honestly, our excitement became nearly tangible. Electrifying. Nothing would stand in our way of receiving a miracle. Or so we thought.
Mid-day on Saturday, less than 24 hours before Miracle Sunday, we received a text message from the special needs class leader who teaches Hope and Charlie each week while we are in the worship service. She was sick. UGH! And wasn't going to be at church. I read the text out loud to Lydia, just before bawling like a big baby. We tried to find a babysitter, but with such short notice, couldn't make it work. It seemed like Miracle Sunday was out of reach, but unwilling to give up hope, I came up with an idea.
The pastor of North Cleveland Church of God lives near us, so I wrote a letter to him, explaining our situation. I ended the note by stating the three miracles we are believing and faithing for, adding our offering, and then asked him to lay it on the altar for us in our absence. Caleb and Lydia insisted that they be the ones to deliver my words to the pastor's door. How awesome is that? This had officially become a top priority for each one of us.
Now, this came with a bit of risk. Pastor Maloney could've peered through the peephole in his door, and upon seeing two teens who were total strangers to him....refused to answer. Or, hiding behind a wall, he could've pretended to not be home. But that is not what happened. Far from it. The pastor swung his door wide open and welcomed my children into his home with open arms. He read my note, talked with Caleb and Lydia, prayed with them, and then his wife got on the phone and found a qualified person to lead the special needs class so we could place our miracles on the altar. So we could be there, in person, for Miracle Sunday. And let me tell you, even an army of one thousand angry baboons armed with baseball bats couldn't have held us back. They might have broken a few bones, probably ALL of mine since Caleb and Lydia can both outrun me, but nothing could've broken our spirit (hahaha!) You get the picture.
At the beginning of this post, I asked you to imagine a scenario where you could be guaranteed a miracle. A guarantee is a powerful thing to possess, isn't it? Well, that is the opportunity I believe my family was given when Pastor Maloney swung that door wide open. I wonder if he realized how pivotal his role would be? But isn't life that way? One person's faith begets another...and another...and another. It must be amazing from heaven's point of view. Can you see the angels looking over my shoulder as I wrote the note? hear them cheering on Lydia and Caleb as they marched up to that door? and then jumping up and down and shouting 'Hallelujah' as Pastor Maloney went to his door to answer? I can see it. But the culmination had to be when the pastor's arms were open to embrace Caleb and Lydia. In that moment, the Lord Himself opened his arms to them....to my family....and said: "Yes, come on in and let's get started on that miracle business." It sounds nuts, right? But as crazy as it may seem, I believe God is ready to do something extravagant in my family this year. That He is ready to astonish us with how wide and how long....how high and how deep....His love is for us.
This past Sunday morning, we took our requests to church and sealed our faith with God. It wasn't a bargain...a deal...a gamble...or a trade. We weren't naming it and claiming it...or blabbing it and grabbing it. Placing that card on the altar, with our miracles listed, was simply an act illustrating that we were willing to dare to accept the gift offered to us by the Almighty....the Creator....the One who holds my family in His hands and Who cares for us each and every day as we trust Him. He's gotten us this far, so why not trust Him for more? For nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible with God!