The following was adapted from a talk delivered on January 20, 2019 at Christ Chapel Bible Church in Ft. Worth, TX. Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
READ the Comments… for the ‘rest of the story.’
Imagine a baby in the womb – warm and safe. It’s a little boy. He’s not aware of the outside world. He just knows he’s safe.
Meanwhile, his parent’s marriage is falling apart as brokenness and selfishness drive a wedge between his mother and father. The fighting intensifies into a crisis.
With the little boy in her womb, the mother goes to her doctor filled with hurt and fear. She asks physician to get rid of the little boy she is carrying. The doctor replies, “I will not do that.” He sends her away. The little boy doesn’t know how close he came to death that day.
As the fearful young mother leaves the doctor’s office alone, Something inside her changes…
She chooses to keep the child regardless of what happens with her marriage. She whispers to herself, “He is mine! He is my little boy. Come what may.”
And so the little boy is born into chaos and brokenness. His parents divorce but the fighting and turmoil will continue for years to come.
A few years pass by and the little boy begins first grade. The first weeks are a struggle because he gets out of school hours before his mother gets off work. She juggles work and picking him up from school. It’s not working out.
One day when the mom picks up the little boy at the church where the school bus drops off the children, she sees a little lady looking after the children on the playground. She is older, kindly and not quite 5 feet tall. The mother introduces herself and points out her little boy on the playground with the other children. She says to the little lady, “Do you see that little boy playing over there? He is mine.” The mother tells the little lady of her struggles picking up her little boy after school.
The mother asks, “Would you be willing to look after my little boy until I get off work?”
“Of course, I will look after him.” responds the little lady with a warm smile.
And God quietly sends a missionary into the lives of the little boy and his mother.
The little lady cares for him, prays for him and loves him. She shares Jesus with the little boy. In the midst of the chaos and struggles going on around him, the little boy has an anchor.
Years pass and the little lady encourages the little boy to make a decision about Christ and be baptized. He does and there is great joy – at least for a little while…
The little boy gets a little older and leaves home for boarding school far away. The little lady continues to pray and intercede for him. She sends him letters encouraging him and reminding him he is loved by God. He visits her when he’s home sometimes.
Time and distance grow between the boy and the little lady. She is growing old but she never ceases praying for him day and night.
The boy begins to wander into the shadows and valleys becoming enchanted with darkness. Now, he is at college far from home. He becomes entangled in snares and brambles of sin. The boy meets a girl on his dark path. They have a relationship and she becomes pregnant with their own child.
THE BOY HAS CHANGED
He has grown selfish, hard-hearted and filled with fear, shame and anger. He persuades the girl to kill the child in her womb. And with the death of his child at his own hand – something inside of the boy dies too.
From far away, the little lady senses trouble. She launches salvos of prayer into the very halls of heaven. But, no answers come into the life of the boy.
Time passes as the void left in the boy’s life is flooded with more darkness, shame and destruction. The boy attempts to remain afloat pursuing worldly pleasures to sedate the pain, as he tumbles into the abyss.
And one day, the little lady who had prayed and prayed for the boy dies and goes to the Father in Heaven. Still, no answers in the boy’s life… Did the sustaining prayers die with the little lady?
Many years later, the boy has fallen into a deep pit in the valley of shadows – exhausted, ashamed and lost. He believes the only way out is to die by his own hand. After all, it is what he deserves.
THEN, SOMETHING CHANGES
In the boy’s darkest moment, mighty God shuts the mouth of the roaring lion. He stays the hand of the enemy and declares, “This one is mine!”
Into this dark valley of shadows, the good shepherd seeks and searches for the one that wandered off. Over the mountains and through the valleys and brambles he finds the one he is searching for. He stoops down and lifts up the lost sheep. And he returns it to the fold with the others.
Do you see that sheep laying torn, bloodied and exhausted so very close to the good shepherd’s feet?
Can you see him resting there?
The good shepherd with wounded hands binds the wounds of this sheep. The shepherd looks into the tired and tearing eyes of the trembling sheep and whispers, “I have a plan and purpose for you. From the time you were in your mother’s womb, I watched over you and protected you. I love you more than you will ever know.”
A light dawns on the horizon of the boy’s life. And so the boy limps and stumbles down a path toward God.
Now imagine a magnificent morning in heaven. Absolutely glorious. The little lady goes up to worship and praise the Father with the multitudes. The halls of heaven fill with God’s glory. An angel steps forward to announce that the little lady’s prayer for the little boy has come up for memorial before the Father – a prayer from decades ago – that God would bless, protect and use the little boy.
And so the Father in Heaven listens and sends forth a gentle rain of answered prayer into the life of the boy.
I am that boy.
I STAND before you today under that gentle rain of answered prayer – to bear witness to what Jesus Christ has done and proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom to the nations.
Dearest Friend, You are loved by God. You are created in His image. He sees your pain and affliction, and extends a hand of mercy, forgiveness and peace. Won’t you take hold of that hand? Can’t you see there is no sin beyond the forgiveness through Christ?
(For the ‘rest of the story…. read the comments below)
Photo of the Little Boy and the Little Lady
Note: I must credit imagery captured about the lost sheep was inspired by FW. Boreham’s “The Pasture Green a Journey Through Psalm 23”. The imagery of answered prayer as a “gentle rain” was inspired by O. Halesby’s book, “Prayer”. I highly recommend Boreham and O. Halesby to fellow pilgrims. They will enrich your life beyond measure.
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Mother would be blessed and humbled by this amazing story of the powerful impact she had on you. As her second daughter of the (4) Janie Girls… today we have all wept as we read this beautiful memory of her…..lots to share.. would love to catch up… best… joann
Jo Ann, it is such a blessing to hear from you and your sister! I didn’t see this coming LOL! What a joy. As you know, your sweet mother meant a great deal to me and still does. The older I get, the more significant her influence becomes in my life and in the life of my family.
I wrote down your number from your reply but removed it from your comment (since this is a public blog). I hope you don’t mind. However, I will reach out and reconnect with you soon.
Thank you and may the Lord richly bless you.
Hello Dear Lance,
I’m the third daughter of “The Little Lady” and was blessed along with my three sisters to call her Mother. I know that she loved you like a son and she would often mention you and say, “Keep him in your prayers!” She was an avid prayer warrior with a deep and abiding love for her Savior that she loved to share as your story so beautifully depicts. Reading this has inspired me to re-acknowledge the power of fervent prayer and know that we may not see the answer to every prayer we pray but that does not mean it is not answered! What a blessing to know that you are in full time ministry sharing the gospel and helping the broken hearted. Mother would often quote Eph. 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be the glory!”
Laurie, thank you for your kind words. As I mentioned to Jo Ann’s comment above, you mother was a blessing in my life. Her prayer, encouragement and wisdom from all those years ago have shaped my life and the ministry God called me to. Therefore, sweet Ms. Ellis legacy is influencing others to this day.
I echo her words and prayers into the lives of my children. There is little doubt, they both know the Lord in part because of your mother’s influence and prayer.
And yet these are the outskirts of His ways…. 🙂
Thank you and blessings!
February 6, 2019 4pm
I am Ola Fay Denman Heflin,the youngest sister of Mrs. Janie Ellis, the Little Lady in your story, who so faithfully continued in prayer for you as long as she lived.
Laurie shared with me your story of “The Little Boy and The Little Lady” Laurie asked me to read it to the end but wait until I had read it all before scrolling down to see the pictures.
I am blessed to live at ‘Eagle Crest Villa, an Assisted Living Facility in Azle, TX. While waiting for my breakfast to be served in the Dining Room this morning, I opened my iPhone to check my incoming mail and there was Your Story.
I did not recognize your name, Lance and was quite surprised to see that my sister Janie was ‘your little lady’. Thank you, Lance for sharing this with all of us.
I am the last of the four The four Denman Sisters. We were blessed to be a close knit family with loving parents. Laurie refers to me as the Family Historian because in my writings I try to preserve our family heritage.
My sister, Janie was precious as you know. I admired her, because she seemed to know more about God’s Word than the other three of us. We four were brought up in a different denomination than than Episcopal. Janie always kept her Episcopal Prayer Book and her Hymnal close by and she would share some of that with us.
Janie never talked to folks other than her girls about her friendship with you, but she did share with her girls. She loved her work at the All Saints Episcopal Church School. She loved working with the children. That included you, Lance.
Your story prompted what I posted on Facebook today. I had asked God to direct my mind for what I would post. The subject was already about Prayer and sure enough that is what I wrote about because of Your Story. I’m listed on Facebook as Olie Denman Heflin if you want to check that out.
So my Dear Sister’s prayers not only reached forward as you stated, for another generation, but reached back to those before her. I delight in Our Lord. I love Psalm 37, especially Verse 5 which says, “”Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart,” which I understand to mean ,He will give us the Desires that we should have.
May you continue faithfully in your walk with the Lord, Lance. By sharing your story you have brought blessings today to some other ladies, both younger and older. Here is an electronic Hug from the Janie Girls Aunt Olie .
Forgive my delayed response. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment. I’m so glad to make your acquaintance and to know Janie’s sisters. What a remarkable twist to this story.
God is quite a genius in how he weaves lives together in a beautiful tapestry of threads. I am thankful to connect with you all in this stage of life. I didn’t ever consider that the story would reach Ms. Ellis’ family members.
My God bless you Olie. I hope we can arrange to meet soon. As we don’t live very far from each other.
Hello Lance, what a beautiful story of Gods faithfulness. When I first met you, I thought you hilarious. I also new that there is always a story or stories behind joking , laughing and mischievous. However, I always prayed for you, I knew God had you. No one has a perfect life. I did believe that everything we go through good or bad is by Gods design. Having personally experienced Gods life tapestry one can see His BIG picture. Take care friend, Corée BTW, I still have the stuffed Koala from Australia. Lol! My daughter loved it!
*I DO believe
What a wonderful post….You are remarkable kind friend!!