Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A teacup and tablecloth

There's a tea cup in my china hutch from a woman named Zula Cott. Zula lived in Springfield, Oregon when the Beve's parents were young and living on M Street right near her house. She was already old then and took a shine to this tall, stately young couple, popping out kids. By the time the Beve came along, the 4th in five years, she was praying for those larger than average children. But what am I saying, average? The Beve and his brothers and sister were so much bigger than average their mother was once called up by the local theater owner for sending the Beve down with only 75 cents to get into the movie, when the 12 and over price was 1.50. Beve's beautiful and always honest mother told him a thing or two. The Beve was 9 years old. Yeah, those kids were tall, alright. When the Beve got his Eagle scout in my Dad's troop, he towered over my 6' tall dad. Beve was all of 15 then.

But I've gotten off track here. Their height can do that to a person--mesmerize you. It's just so overwhelming, especially all of them at once. Beve, at 6'7", is the shortest male of the bunch. And I think old Zula Cott was a little mesmerized by this family of giants, even back when only the parents were tall, and the four kids were just 'young punks' as their dad liked to call them. And Zula? She loved Jesus, loved Him so much she wanted the whole world to love Him. So she prayed for Beve and his family. I guess you could say she prayed them straight into Jesus' family. The towering giants moved away from Springfield--away from M street, away from Zula Cott. They moved up to Eastern Washington, to the Palouse. From one University to another, so the Beve's parents always called themselves "Webfooted Cougars" (which struck a chord with me, because 15 years after they moved northeast, I moved southwest to Eugene, and finished my education where they'd begun theirs). But no matter where they lived, Zula never stopped praying for those tall children, never stopped asking God to draw them into His family.

Ten years later, Beve, then his siblings each in their time, opened their hearts and lives to the King of glory, invited in the One who was seeking them. And they have Zula Cott to thank. A little old lady for whom nothing was in it but jewels in her crown. But come to think of it, that's plenty!

And right across the street, as the Beve was coming into the Kingdom, I was living in a house with two parents, five siblings and one blind grandmother. And my grandmother also loved Jesus. By the time my grandmom moved in with us, I knew Jesus. I loved Him. But when I think of someone praying for me, I think of her, down on her knees beside her bed late at night when I came home from wherever I'd been. No lights would be on in her room, of course, but I could see her in the streetlight, and always said goodnight. "Goodnight, honey," she'd say, and go back to talking to Jesus. Talking to Jesus about me, about my siblings, about all those she loved--praying them into the family of God. But all the years before--all the years of my childhood--she'd been praying as well. In fact, I'm willing to bet that all the years of my mother's childhood she was praying for my life too--before I'd taken a breath or had a name. With every tablecloth she croqueted, every quilt she quilted, every pie she baked, she was praying for my life--and the lives of my also unknown siblings. And, though she only met one of them and only as a very tiny baby, she prayed for the lives of my children. Because she was a pray-er. First, last and middle, she lived her life in prayer.

I woke up this morning thinking of these women. Thinking of these old women saints praying us into the Kingdom. Thinking of the rock solid truth that behind every person standing in His presence is someone else on their knees who prayed them there. There were tears on my face without my even knowing I was crying, thinking of the centuries of people in the Kingdom because people pray. Not because people go or do or speak, but because they pray. No one comes to Christ unless someone is praying for them--I honestly believe that. If you're in the Kingdom, someone prayed for you.

I lay a fancy croqueted tablecloth on my table, place a red, cream and gold teacup on it, and sit down for a cup of tea. Invite Jesus to join me as I thank Him for these women who gave me such gifts. Will you join me? Who was it for you? Who do you have to thank?

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