Tag Archives: life purpose

Life’s Surprises That Mean Everything

Although it’s been more than twenty years since I taught first grade

the memories of those children  continue to fill my life with joy and meaning.

I will never forget that unexpected meeting that I had a few years ago.

It was a seemingly ordinary day that I drove my car to the service station for an inspection.

While they worked on my car that day I sat reading a book.

Suddenly the door flung open and a tall, yes very tall man strode in.

I watched while he stepped over to the counter and began talking about what work needed to be done on his car.

Ordinary. Very ordinary.  At least it seemed  so to me.

I went back to reading my book.

All of a sudden I heard a deep  voice.

“Miss Brani?” I looked up and met the eyes of this big man.

“You remember me?” he asked with a chuckle as he came towards me.

I put my book aside and stood up to greet him rapidly studying his face.

His more than 6 foot presence dwarfed my small body.

“Marcus? Is it you?” I asked and he went right on laughing seeming to enjoy this moment with his first grade teacher.

He scooped me in a giant hug.

Amazing to see your students grow and become almost bigger than life.

Waves of pride flooded  over me as I took in his laughter and joy.

We talked for a while and he caught me up on his life.

He was happy and doing well. I couldn’t have wanted more for him.

Yes, the boy who sat in the first row in the back had discovered satisfaction in life.

It was a shining moment that glistened with joy.


Well a few years later I heard that my boy had been tragically shot and killed.

I wept when I heard the news.

All too soon his life was ended.

But then I thought back to that meeting on that ordinary day at the service station.

I remembered that hug and his joy in telling me how well he was doing.

Deep down my heart was glad that I had had that encounter.

For  long time I could not write about it. It was too priceless.

My boy, yes he will always be my boy,

had learned what really mattered in life.

That mattered more to me than if he had lived to be a hundred.

Yes, wGracie October 2014hat more could I, his first grade teacher, ask for?






Shining Moments

Growing up my books were my friends. Frequent moves often left me without

a friend and feeling lonely. Yes, I was the one standing on the outside in PE class longing to be picked and chosen. Time after time the PE teacher just shook his head and assigned me to a team.

The loneliness could have been excruciating but it led me to explore the books on the shelves of our home.

Everything was there.

   Adventure stories


       I read the Sherlock Holmes books with delight.

   Fiction- stories that took me places that I could only dream of

   Non fiction

But most of all I was drawn to the biographies.

   I can still remember my delight upon finding the thick book on the life of Madame Curie.

   That gray book was thick for a twelve-year-old

      but I was drawn to read page after page of this fascinating woman’s life.

    I’ll never forget my sadness upon finishing it.

Another book though that was a shining moment experience for me way back then

 was about the life and martyr of John and Betty Stam. It was a thin book. The print was tiny I had to read it slowly.

    It told the true story of the Stams who as a young couple went to serve the Lord as missionaries in China.  It dawned an ordinary day in Tsingteh as they ate breakfast and cared for their baby daughter. But that day their lives and that of their daughter fell into the hands of the Communist soldiers. It’s a story that will move you deeply and although they were martyred that day so many years ago, the life of their baby girl was spared.

  Their deaths in turn electrified Christians around the world.

   Reading their story planted a glimpse of understanding in my young heart of the sufferings that sometimes happen to Christians for the cause of Christ.

   Betty Stam’s prayer is written in my Bible today.

    “Lord, I give up all of my own plans and purposes,

        All my desires and hopes

          And accept Thy will for my life,

        My all utterly to be Thine forever.

      Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit

       And use me as Thou wilt,

        Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost

        Now and forever more.”


It was and is today

   the prayer of my heart

   providing a daily Light to all my moments.

Many years ago

   I glimpsed the cost of being a follower of Jesus. My heart was filled with love for Him.

   It became the prayer of my heart.

     and with that prayer is joy indescribable

  that will never fade away

giving to me a life that shines.


Shining Moments

Have you ever had a whacked out day?

    A day when things seemed to go wrong from beginning to end?

A day when the coffee cup spills…

   You receive a message telling you

        that you just made a big mistake…

And you can’t even renew your Norton protection on-line

Cause the internet keeps cutting off.

Or you hear from that one person?

A day when  up means down

   and bad looks good

       and never means sometimes

            and love seems sadly missing.

These are the days when I cling

    I truly cling to the Truth

         That God is Love

             And His Mercies are forever

That He is Present no matter what we see or can’t see

That He is greater than anyone

           or anything

                that comes upon us.

That nothing

    absolutely nothing can separate us from His Love.

       Romans 8:38-39.

As those words wash over my weary heart

   and sink deep within my soul

       I remember that day

            when I walked the long hall

               turned right into the tiniest of rooms

                 and met a large Russian nurse in white.

Into my longing arms she placed a little baby girl

   with eyes of brown and dark curly hair.

We were left alone in this room for what seemed like hours.

I marveled that God loved me so much to give me this precious baby girl.

And I began to sing

    Very slowly at first

        “Jesus loves me, this I know…”

               Oh I know it honey. I  really know it.

         “For the Bible tells me so.

           Little ones to Him belong”

           They are weak ….and so am I… Yes, so am I.

                 But He is strong.”

And while I danced with her in this small windowless room

   it was as if a chorus of angels joined with me.

“Yes, Jesus loves me.

  Yes, Jesus loves me.

   Yes, Jesus loves me.

   The Bible tells me so.”

And that truth holds

   No matter what kind of day we have.

He was. He is. He always will be

  The One Whose loves never fails.

Count on it, my friend,

Count on it.

And let your heart rejoice.