Just Be My Child (c)

Life can be a bowl of cherries! However, for a lot of us it is thought of as
just the pits!
In 1981 that is the way, I felt about my life.

God used two situations to force me to look where I was placing my confidence.
The first was in my mother who had failed me in that she died.  The second was
in my husband of 28 years.  He no longer wanted to be married to me.  My
confidence was shaken to the very core. Even an attempted suicide failed.
Life for me was the "Pits".  

With all the human props pulled out from under me I was forced to redirect my
focus if I was to survive.  For the first time in my entire life of 40 years,
God had my full attention.  I began to focus on God.  I mean really focus.   At
this point in my life, I knew the only thing that I could really count on was

Everything I knew about God from the Bible was true.  Jesus Christ loved me
enough to allow his arms to be stretched out and nailed to a cross and there
He took my place.  All the sin of my life was placed on Him the day He was
crucified.  He was the only one who had not failed me!

In September 1981 during a revival, the evangelist preached a message, "Who
are you?  He gave an illustration about an Eagle who sat on a nest with four
eggs.  Two hatched and the eaglets decided to go down the mountain to see the
world.  They found a bunch of wild turkeys and lived with them for a while. As
the eaglets grew they discovered that they did not look like the turkeys nor
did they really want to eat what they ate. 

So they decided to go back to where their nest had been to see who they really
were.  As they approached the summit of the mountain a full-grown eagle took
flight and began to soar into the wind.  That was when the eaglets realized
who they were.  The point of the message was:  "Are you trying to live like a
Christian when you are not really a true believer."  Over and over the
evangelist would ask,  "Who are you!"  That phrase kept repeating itself in my
mind over and over again.

The next day, September 18, 1981, I was driving down the road and rethinking
that message and that illustration of the eagles.  All of a sudden, I realized
that I was in that same situation.  I did not know who I really was.  I was
certainly a displaced person.

The tears began to flow and I talked to God out loud.  "God, I do not know
where I am going, my life is a mess, and I certainly do not know who I am!"
At that point God spoke to my heart and said, "Just be my child."  It sounded
so simple.  No pressure to be anything!  It was a call to give up my feeble
efforts of trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. 

All I had to offer God was brokenness and strife.  In my eyes, my life was the
"pits."  Yet here was his call.  Imagine the God of the universe extending
such an invitation to me. "Just be my child." 

In tear stained cheeks, driving down the highway, I said, God I have nothing
to offer but if you want me I will be yours.  Take control of my life.  I
cannot handle it myself.

At that very moment, I felt as if I had been bound in chains and immediately
those chains fell off.  I was free!  Free from the bondage of sin.  I felt so
wonderful.  Now I just knew everything would be fine.  But everything was not
okay.  Many lessons had to be learned.  God is the perfect parent and He began
my training as His child.  I call it "God's Boot Camp."  It is hard!   But it
is worth every tear we shed, every lesson we learn, every hurdle we go over!
God never wastes any of our sorrows.

After the divorce, I was very bitter.  God had to dross that out of my life.
Psalms 37 literally became my guide to live by.  I clung to every promise in
that chapter.  I had to pattern my life after the commands and the results
were up to Him.

Psalms:  37
1. "Fret not thyself," because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against
the workers of iniquity.  
1. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green
2. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land and verily
thou shalt be fed. 
3. Delight thyself also in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of
thine heart.
4. Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him and he shall bring it to
5. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgement
as the noonday.
6. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him.
7. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath…. (KJV)

From September 1981 until this day I can tell you God has truly brought the
verses of this chapter true in my life.  Time does not permit for me to share
at this time the stories of the University of Life in which God has trained
me.  We will save those for another time.

There is one story I would like to share with you.  It is a story of a
17-year-old girl who went on a date; there was liquor involved and a baby
conceived.  When her mother found out about it, she prayerfully considered the
alternatives available.  Marriage was not an option.  That would have been
another mistake for the boy and girl were friends but not in love. A home for
unwed mothers was too scary for the young girl who had hardly even been out of
her hometown except to visit grandparents in other states.  Abortion was
certainly not an option. This was a life created by God and far too precious.

The decision was made to find suitable adoptive parents. Through their Pastor
a couple were located and a direct adoption was arranged.  The heartbroken
mother put her only daughter on a train for the long ride from Ohio to Tyler,
Texas to live with the couple until after the baby was born.

The lovely Christian couple was 34 and 39 at an age where any adoption agency
would have turned them down.  Direct adoption was an answer to prayer and a
fulfillment to the longing in their heart for a child of their own.

After the birth of her child, the young girl went to live with the lady's
sister until she was able to travel back to her home.  She never saw the baby,
she never even knew whether the baby was a boy or a girl.  

The girl came home.  Her family never spoke another word about what happened.
The young girl was left to suffer silently within her own self the sin, the
guilt, and the shame of it all until that day September 18, 1981, when God
asked her to be his child.  I was that young girl.

This happened in 1959 --Thirty-nine years ago!  It was a hard decision to make
but the best for all concerned at the time.  Having lived with the couple, I
was confident the baby would be loved, cared for and raised in a Christian

There was never any question in my mind.  I always knew in my heart that if
and when the time came that we should meet, God would let me know it.  When my
mother died in 1981 I found the torn corner of an envelope with the return
address of the couple.  I kept the address but did nothing about it until
September of this past year.  I searched through the Internet and found the
name and address of the couple in Tyler, Texas to see if I could locate them.
Both of their names came up on the screen but at a different street address.
I did not do anything at that point.  I had to be sure this was of God.  Too
many years had past. 

The thoughts came back to my mind over and over again.  Not nagging thoughts,
just a gentle nudge that kept coming back.  Finally I felt that for some
reason it was time to contact the couple.  I talked it over with my husband
and my children.  They were all in agreement that I should. 

On November 17, 1998, I wrote to Louise and Bill Hale the couple who adopted
my baby.  I sent pictures of our family and what had happened to me during the
past 39 years.  Ending with the question that perhaps they could tell me why
the feeling to contact them was so strong.

The weeks went past and no word.  Every day I asked my husband, "Ralph did I
get any news from Texas."  "No Merle, I'm sorry.  Just be patient." 

On December 18, 1998, we went to the Spartanburg Downtown Rescue Mission to
help with the Christmas party.  While we were away from home I received a
phone call from Mary but she did not leave her name or a phone number.  When
we got home Ralph checked his e-mail and there was a message. Regarding
Merle's e-mail to Louise and Bill Hale in Tyler, Texas.

Talk about emotions.  Mine were running wild at that time.  I wanted to hear
but was afraid at the same time.  When he opened up the letter that was the
first time I knew what my baby was. It was signed your daughter Mary.  

She spoke of my "long awaited letter."  She had tried for eighteen months to
find out about her heritage and me.  She also explained how Louise had laid
the envelope aside thinking it was advertisement.  She has cataracts and does
not see very well.  That very day Louise woke up with a bad headache.  Usually
she would have gone back to bed.  Instead that day she prayed and asked the
Lord to help her do what she needed to do that day.  That was the very day she
opened a stack of old mail and found my letter.

That evening Mary tried to reach me by phone but I was out for the evening.
She wanted to talk with me personally and did not leave her name or number.
In the e-mail she gave me some information about her family but not a phone
number.  The next morning I could not sleep and rose up early to see if I
could locate her phone number through the Tyler phone directory.  While I was
on she came on too and sent an instant message to me and asked, "Mom is that
you?"  We sent messages back and forth for a while, finally she said get off,
I want to call you.  I want to hear your voice."

That afternoon Mary sent a family portrait via the Internet.  Can you imagine
the feeling I had when I first laid eyes on the child I had never held in my
arms?  I laughed, I cried, I walked the floor.  All the emotions I had not
allowed myself to feel came at once.  She was so beautiful and she looked so
much like my mother and my other children as well as myself.

This is truly a gift from God.  Only one element out of place and we would not
have been able to ever locate each other.  My mother had died, my father moved
and now the phone where he stays is not in his name.  I had married twice and
moved several times.  It was virtually impossible for her to have located me.
Bill died in 1989 and if Louise had remarried, I would not have been able to
locate her.  And if both had died I would never have known if I was searching
for a man or a woman. 

Truly God has performed a miracle in our lives to bring us together at this
time in our lives.
What a wonderful Christmas this has been.  Even though we were not together,
just the fact of knowing that we found each other.  It was all in God's timing
and to his glory.

Life may seem like the "Pits" to you but it does not have to stay that way.
God too is looking for his children.  As you read this story he is extending
an invitation.  He calls to you.  Come to me, just be my child!  I love you
and want you to be with me forever. 

As you have read the story of how God made Himself so real to both Mary and I,
we hope that you will be touched and hear His call.  To be His child is a call
to be adopted into God's family and is a life long commitment. Do you feel him
calling to you, "Just be my child?" What will your answer be?

1999 Uplift Ministries

Merle L Parnell

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