As my last re-run before getting back to regularly scheduled posts, I wanted to share something that happened last year, but perhaps means more to me this year due to some significant changes in my life.  But I’ll get back to that at the end of the post.

Originally Published August 11, 2011.

Ali has an absolutely precious Sunday School teacher named Miss Bobbie. She is about my parent’s age, has grandkids the age of my kids, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

…yet she still has the energy, somehow, to wrangle and teach a group of four year olds every other Sunday – and constantly be bubbling over with joy, loving every minute of it.

She has taken on her cancer and resulting chemotherapy as a mission field – she is constantly looking for ways to share God’s love with all of the other people that are with her receiving hours of chemo treatments.

As part of this mission, she uses her Sunday School craft time to allow the kids to write letters and draw pictures for the other chemo patients. She has an amazingly organized system – she hands out the cards, remembers who got which child’s card, remembers a fact about that patient, and then writes that patient’s name and information on an index card to send home with our kids to pray for.

Miss Bobbie’s love for people both humbles and inspires me.

We’ve been praying for Miss Judy Green for several weeks. Ali has enjoyed making cards for her and never forgets to pray for her before bed. She probably doesn’t understand the term “cancer”, but she does understand that Miss Judy Green is sick, that her cards make her happy, and that her prayers make a difference.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an unexpected box in the mail from Build-A-Bear. They occasionally send me items to review to see if I’m interested in giving them away here, or just to give Ali to try out. But this time, they sent me a stuffed teddy bear as a part of their “love.hugs.smiles.” campaign, and all they wanted me to do was give it to someone who could use a smile – no strings attached.

Immediately, I thought of Miss Judy Green.

Then I dismissed it as silly – what grown woman wants a child’s toy?

Upon further deliberation, though, I decided that it would be good for Ali, so we set out decorating the “Bear Condo”.

Ali literally spent hours painstakingly and perfectionistically coloring the box.


She wrote “Miss Judy Green” across the top,

And, even though she’d been working on it for a week, she still put the last finishing touches on it right before we walked out the door for church.

She really wanted to take the bear to the hospital and march it into Miss Judy Green’s room, but I did my best to explain that we couldn’t do that. So she delivered the bear to Miss Bobbie, and then began the impatient wait for Miss Judy Green to receive her gift.

One week went by, but Miss Bobbie only teaches every other week. Two weeks went by, and she couldn’t wait to ask Miss Bobbie, “Did you give my bear to Miss Judy Green??”

“No, not yet – I haven’t seen her again.”

On Monday afternoon, Ali and I received a phone call from Miss Bobbie.

She had chemo that morning (and still amazingly had the sound of boundless energy). When she arrived, she had asked the nurse if she could get Miss Judy Green’s mailing address. As there are hundreds of people in and out of the chemo treatment room, she doubted that she would run into her again.

The nurse skeptically said that she would have to contact the patient, ask for permission, and get back to her later.

I have a feeling that Miss Bobbie’s exuberance may have pushed the nurse into starting the process right then. And as she was checking for her contact information, she said, “I’ve got better news: She’s going to be receiving her treatments with you today!”

As it turned out, she was sitting directly across from Bobbie. She explained her delivery and gave the bear to Miss Judy Green.

…who happens to be a retired elementary school teacher and adores children.

…and who happens to collect teddy bears.

Divine appointment.

Her face lit up as she told Miss Bobbie that she would be sleeping with the bear that very night, and she was going to name him ChemoBear – she needed a new friend to help lift her spirits during this time.

As Bobbie told me this story and relayed Miss Judy Green’s excitement and emotion over her gift, I realized that none of it had been accidental.

Ali had not accidentally gotten assigned to pray for Miss Judy Green.

Build-A-Bear had not accidentally sent me a bear to give to anyone I wished.

I did not accidentally think of Miss Judy Green.

Miss Judy Green had not accidentally been scheduled to get chemo on Monday, directly across from Bobbie.

ChemoBear was meant for her, because God doesn’t just like to do huge things in our lives – He goes out of His way to orchestrate multiple people, events, and even corporations just to send tiny reminders of His grace and His love right when we need it the most.

And the privilege of Him allowing Ali to be a part of that gift and see how she can touch other people’s lives – what a priceless treasure.

Miss Bobbie has finished her treatments and is in remission.  I do not know Miss Judy Green’s status, but I pray that she also is enjoying normal life again.

My Dad leaves on Monday to go to Memphis for cancer treatments for his Ocular Melanoma that was discovered in August.  He will have a plaque attached to his eye, which will be made of gold and contain a radioactive seed that will be focused at the cancer.  He and my Mom will have to stay in Memphis for a week (because his radioactive eye will be tracked by Homeland Security and disallowed to cross state lines), and then the doctors will remove the plaque.  The purpose of this treatment is to keep his cancer from spreading.

Although Ali has been praying for Pop to get “all better” for months, I have been afraid to use the “C” word with her.  However, re-reading the above post brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of the positivity of a child, the faith of a child, and the encouragement that a child can bring.  Such as this note that Ali chose to write during one of her quiet times, on this quite appropriate note card that she managed to find on her own:

So last night, I told Ali that Pop was going to Memphis for cancer treatments.

Her response was, “What even IS cancer? I’ve never known what that means all my life.”

— leave it to an adult to forget that kids don’t have their same traumatic associations with words.

But whether she understands or not, I’m glad she knows.

Because children have power.

Children’s actions have power.

Children’s prayers have even more power.

…and I personally think that God really likes to show off for children, just like He did for Ali and Miss Judy Green.

40 thoughts on “Tiny Bits of Grace.

  1. What a great post. I’m new to your blog so I had not read the original. It is a great reminder of how awesome God is.
    Will definitely be praying for your father, and you and your family.

  2. Hugs and prayers your way, and safe travels and healing for your dad. Praise God for all his grace and mercy!

  3. “all my life” – I love it when little ones say that!

    Praying for your father’s eye and for your mother’s resilience.

  4. Kids are amazing. They always seem to show us God’s power especially when we don’t see it right away. I will be praying for your family.

  5. Praying for your family. Your original post was touching; the addition makes you stop & realize what an amazing God we serve. Your mention of divine appointment makes me recall your post about precious James from several years ago. I don’t think I ever thanked you for your amazing words of comfort, so I am,doing that now. Thanks so much for using the gift of words that our God has given you. It blesses me immensely.

  6. This made me tear up. Thanks for re-posting (I’ve never seen this one). I’ll be praying for your dad and family.

  7. Praying for your dad and mom, and for the rest of you too. I agree, childrens’ prayers are powerful things. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10

  8. I needed this post today. I did not see the original posting. This post made me cry and smile all at the same time and made me remember what I believe in. Thank you! Your family will all be in my prayers.

  9. Just like the above post said, this post made me cry and smile all at the same time. God does orchestrate wonderful moments in life. If we allow ourselves to really see the life around us we can without a doubt see God’s hand at work in our lives in the smallest of details. Children have an amazing way of looking at life and illnesses too. The power of prayer is amazing as well. You are raising a very kind and wonderful little girl who is already doing amazing things in her life.
    Cancer is something that hits home with my family as well. In April 2010 my aunt was diagnosed with aggressive terminal cancer in three areas of her body. She underwent one of the most intense treatments of chemo therapy they offer. She went into partial remission. Two day before this past Thanksgiving her cancer came back. Again she went through treatments and currently is in partial remission again. She knows that more than likely it will be cancer she loses her life too, but she truly lives her life to the fullest. Her faith has been incredible and her belief in God and her faith is what has sustained her. She reminds me so much of your friend Miss Bobbie you described. When my aunt went through Chemo this time, we sat down with Ava to talk to her about my Aunt having cancer. My aunt is like a grandma to Ava since my Mom has had Alzheimer’s and is no longer able to be there for Ava in that way and Ava’s other grandma passed away of cancer when Ava was just 2. My aunt didn’t make it scary or sad for Ava, she just explained that she was very sick and that she had to take really strong medicine and that made her hair fall out and sometimes she didn’t have the energy to do a lot of things when she had to get this medicine. But that she was going to fight her illness as long as she could. Ava then asked her if she was going to die and my aunt responded with well not today I’m not. Then they put on bandana’s and played Chemo “pirates”. To a child who was 6 at the time I think she handled telling her in just the right sort of way. My prayers are with your Dad and you and your family as well. I also pray we can one day find a cure for a disease that robs us of so many precious lives each year.

  10. I’m keeping your Dad in my prayers. This was a beautiful thing to read and it brought a smile to my face. You’re so right…children’s prayers are a powerful thing.

  11. As a somewhat newer reader of your blog, I was very much enjoying reading these re-runs you have been posting…but this one just takes the cake. We recently found out that my mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and she has been having a hard time dealing with this…as have we. But, we are praying and will keep praying because, as your lovely story reminded us with tears of joy in our eyes, God has a divine plan and if we just trust in that plan, who knows what wonders can come from it. Not just for ourselves, but for others, like Ms. Judy Green, as well. God bless you and Thank You for the spiritual lift as well as the smile you brought to my and my mother’s faces today.

  12. As, Rachel. So glad you shared this. Harry told me about your dad a couple of weeks ago. We love him, dearly. And your family. We will be praying for all if you.

  13. ” . . . children have power.

    Children’s actions have power.

    Children’s prayers have even more power.

    …and I personally think that God really likes to show off for children”

    I love this and I believe it too! I’m quoting you to my friends!

  14. I didn’t even have to re-read this post (though I did) because I remember every detail of it from the first time I read this story. Love it. Love Ali’s faith and enthusiasm. And can’t wait to hear how God works in your dad’s life through his cancer treatment. Keep the updates coming on your dad’s status.
    (and what?! Homeland Security?! How very 007 of your dad!!) :)

  15. You know….as serious as the treatment is for your dad, I did have to smile at this thought–“only your dad could manage to have something that would necessitate monitoring by Homeland Security….” And it being Gold on top of that…

    In all seriousness, we most definitely are praying for him and your mom as they continue on this journey. Praying for the doctors and medical professionals as well as they take care of him. May God not only give them wisdom but sound judgment and steady hands. May both of your parents sense the Lord’s presence and be at peace.

  16. I love hearing stories of God’s grace in action. Children are one of the most amazing conduits of it of His love. God bless your dad, I hope he does well!

  17. I will definitely be praying for your father and for all of your family during this time. I loved what you wrote about children’s actions and prayers having power. It reminded me of William Wordsworth’s poem “My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold.” In it, he says, “The Child is Father of the Man.” Although he’s talking about a child’s view of nature and how children see wonder and beauty in nature more than adults often do, I think the sentiment applies to life in general as well. Children see the world without the jaded cynicism adults do. We could all learn to look at life through childlike eyes.

    Like some of the other readers, the post made me cry, too. But it also reminded me how lucky we are to have a God who does orchestrate the little events of our lives, not just the big events. Like the saying I keep seeing all over Pinterest, the little things often aren’t just the little things.

    During my Dad’s illness, he keep reminding all of us, “God is sovereign, and His grace is sufficient.” This belief and his attitude helped all of us so much. I think your story is also a prime example of the sovereign nature of God.

    Prayers are going out for you and your family.

  18. made me cry. it’s all kinds of amazing when you realize God truly just interacted with you and your kids in a way that *matters*! isn’t God good? I love, love, love when God blesses my kids and I with moments like this! :) This was my first visit to your blog(pinterest!), but I shall return!

  19. Beautiful post! I love it when God does things like this. I pray your father’s treatment is successful and you have many God-moments along the way.

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