Monday, December 24, 2018

The Gift

Gifts don't have to come in the form of a beautifully wrapped inanimate object. Some of the most wonderful gifts are God's blessings bestowed upon you at a time when you least expect it.
He was not a Christmas baby and did not come to us in what some would consider idyllic circumstances; but, he is definitely a blessing to our family...

Approximately 12 years ago, our youngest son was excited about being accepted by a prestigious Christian college in East Texas. It was a dream that my late husband and I wanted for him, as well as our other kids, who had gone on to seek careers in their choice of fields. But this young man­- he was the one (it seems) whom we were on our knees for ALL the time. He was the one who ‘tried our patience.’ The one whose parents, the teachers knew by name because we LIVED at the school, for one reason or another. The one who was spoiled and got away with murder, as his siblings whined about him.  You know--that ‘one kid’ in the family. But he was also the child we thought we would never have because doctors gave up on him. The child they suggested, in so many words, we should abort. They said because of high-risk factors, I would not carry my pregnancy full-term. But God! 
Losing his dad at 15 was hard on him, on me, his siblings; hard on all of my family. And then one day, while he was still in high school, it was as though a lightbulb went off in his head. He said, “Mama, I am the man of the house now and I’m going to make you and Daddy proud!” Wow, my eyes teared up. He was growing up and he was determined. He graduated high school and initially went to a community college, as I’m sure he did not want to be away from home and me. Although in high school, he played sports, played piano and had other interests, his true passion was singing. So when he decided to go away to college, I was ecstatic.
He pursued and studied music. His siblings and I encouraged him to keep his focus. He was able to tour the United States with the college’s prestigious ‘Summer Tour Acapella Chorus.’ This group of talented students, from all parts of the US, toured, sang, and at the same time had to keep up their GPA to perform.  These were very proud moments for the family and me, to see him flourish.  One of his tour stops brought him back home to Texas, where he introduced us to a young lady from the East Coast, who sang with them. They were BOTH beaming!
Finally, that day came! He graduated from college.  It was the fulfillment of a dream. We celebrated because we knew his dad would have been very proud of him. The world was at his feet! Then, weeks later, with a bewildered look on his face, he made an announcement to us. “I’m going to be a father!”  I thought, WOW! I shook off initial shock and said “It’s going to be okay son. I know you are overwhelmed right now, but it will work out.” And it did. Through it all, even I had to find strength in my ‘go to’ scripture, Philippians 4:13 KJV- ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’  Finally, we were given a beautiful healthy baby boy. The blessing in ALL of this is that an extraordinary angel was watching over his young parents. This child was born on a very special day--his grandpa’s birthday, January 4th. How befitting!  As the only grandchild, he gives this family more reasons to remember him and celebrate the season with gratefulness, never forgetting he would not be here to carry on his grandfather’s legacy, had we listened to doctors and not trusted God.

And now at nine years old, when I asked him the question, “What should I write about this month Dominic? This article is supposed to be about the Christmas spirit.” He immediately responded, “Write about ME, Nemo! You always said I was a gift from God.”


PJ Payne

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