Six years passed. Me & Bubba faithful to God and to our church. During this time God grew me spiritually both in my private time with Him and in service and worship through my church.
When Pete & I had faced our trial, I had told the Lord I would honor Him for what he had done for us. I had also found a need to pray for all the members of our family, that came from my rainbow experience on Dam B. He blessed my feeble efforts in a mighty way!! I was honored to get to share what he had done with my MIL and FIL and they rejoiced with me in that. I saw all three of Pete's sisters and a sister-in-law come to Christ and join a church. Another sister-in-law started coming to church with me every chance she had.
I started back to work during those years and He allowed his light and love to shine through me there, as well. I saw promise and hope everywhere, even as the burden in my heart for the unsaved grew. As Bubba grew older, he learned so much of scripture and spiritual things! We could converse and rejoice together...what a special time and blessing! But my heart was heavy for him for all the times he was so torn between whether to help his daddy or spend time with him or to go to church. He balanced it all as well as any child could.
In 1998, feeling victorious and full of hope and faith in all God was doing, it seemed only right to celebrate His faithfulness and our bliss with one more child before we grew too old. It seemed everyone in the family was so excited! Pete being the baby boy in his family, us being in our late thirties, all lent itself to a sense of joy and celebration.
We were blessed with the most beautiful, perfect baby girl. She slept in my arms and I began to call her my Snuggle Bug. I would often sit on the front porch to nurse her and rock her. Many times I used these quiet moments to pray. One day, when my soul was very burdened over the fact that Pete still didn't know Christ as Savior, I was filled with the assurance that my whole family one day would be a Christian family, a Christian home, and that this happy baby was proof of it. Hence, Bug was my joy.
One day after coming home from Church, Bubba come and told me that he had prayed and accepted Christ in the woods near our home. God is true to His Word! Thank you precious Savior! We all saw Bubba baptised. But Bubba was the only one standing with me the day Bug was dedicated to the Lord. Me and the kids were faithful to church...but Pete still wouldn't come with us. He began to fall back into old habits that had always caused discord and pain in our home.
More and more, after we had moved to Caneyhead with the passing of Pete's father, I began to feel led to move my letter to a church home in our community. Bubba and I began to visit Wiley Mae Community Baptist and soon felt that's where God wanted us both. After coming there, God began to deal with me and lay on my heart to start a children's church program there. I did and it flourished for the size of our little assembly. Well, it flourished in children...not in workers. Save one or two.
Pete's health issues began to raise their ugly head. We lost Pete's mother and my closest confidant. That led to an ugly bought of depression for me. Still, God granted me the strength to continue. Then, finally, a couple come forward to help with Children's Church. What a blessing I thought. But he wouldn't listen to anything I tried to tell them, wouldn't take a Sunday off to gather with the members in Morning Worship....torn between setting things right and causing discord or harming a new Christian's walk I simply withdrew from service in that area.
Yet, still Bug was the joy filled, happy baby. The effervescent child with a heart of gold, that tried to give her money away because she didn't need it. The soul that loved young and old just the same. That was blessed with a special way with creatures great and small.
Pete's health problems became steadily more apparent. I decided to go back to work on a part time basis to help our suffering income and to force me to get back out around others and out of myself. Over the next four years things just got darker and darker. I pulled away from the fellowship of the church, seldom going. Between work and increasing demands at home and a growing feeling of helplessness, my private time with God next began to suffer.
Where was God's promise in all of this?!?!!!!! Lord, I believe you...still.........but I'm just too damn tired to continue on my own. I'm tired of being the strong one, the faithful one, the dependable one. You can bet that Satan knew exactly how I was feeling. And he was more than willing to dangle in front of my eyes a false offer of escape. A pretend way to start over. And it wrecked havoc in all our lives.
But for once in 25 years of marriage it did cause Pete to sit up and take notice. To declare his love for me and to show me sides of himself he had always kept hidden. It was while we were still in the midst of this storm that Pete and Bug both decided to start attending church. I was surprised and happy...but not about to get my hopes up.
Yet, somehow, some way that I still do not know or understand, Christ reached Pete and saved him and claimed him for His own! Little precious Bug also made a decision for the Lord! Bubba, who had been through the angst of the turbulent teen years found a sweet young girl to take as his wife and had the privilege of leading her to the Lord and I had the privilege to be in the House that day!!
Now, my walk is still not fully recovered from where it had been. My steps are still not as steady as they should be. The fellowship I share with my Lord is still not yet where it has been but I'm still "pressing on the upward way, new heights I'm gaining every day; Still praying as I'm onward bound, Lord plant my feet on higher ground."
So, I leave you my friends and those who drop by with this one resounding truth:
God is ALWAYS FAITHFUL, even when we aren't!!!
Barbara In Caneyhead