We moved in, and soon after, neighborhood kids began showing up. Mark and Travis, from down the street, spent hours with Dan digging for crawdads, or riding bikes on the railroad tracks, although I didn't hear those stories til many years later. Our middle daughter, Leslie, was in first grade when we moved in, and between her mobile koolaid stand in the back of the red wagon, or selling stone soup to the neighbors, plays performed on our back patio, or pet grooming in the basement, she attracted a lot of kids to our house. One of those was another Leslie, who lived at the end of the street. We went to church with her family, and our lives criss-crossed at various points.
Leslie's family home wasn't graced with pet hair, so spending time in our home was a stretch for her. Our golden retriever might as well have been a pit bull, in her eyes. I still remember the day she was able to sit on our sofa, the dog in the middle, and a Leslie on each side.
We moved from that home when both Leslies had just finished 8th grade. Years have passed since. Our Leslie has grown up, and become a mother. So to receive this email a few days ago, from the other Leslie - it was one of those moments when time just stops. I began to read, then slowed down, way down, and started over. This email was one I'd print out and save.
"I've felt a longing in my heart for several years now to write to you and thank you for leading me to Christ. You probably have no idea what a significant role you played in my decision to become a Christian.....as our Sunday School teacher, you taught us Truth and told us weekly what it meant to be a child of God. You convinced me to go to Centrifuge with Leslie and Allison, which was where I made my decision. And you showed me, every time you welcomed me into your home, what it was to be a Christian wife and mother. I am so grateful to you for opening your home to me, allowing me to be friends with your daughter, and showing me how spectacular it is to be a child of God... I love you and your family dearly!"
This was during the period of our lives that chaos reigned. Rather than a perfect home, ours had animals being adopted or buried, mountains of laundry, arguments over homework, halloween costumes, calls from teachers or principals, forts under the pine tree, Brownies and Cubscouts, groundings, temper tantrums, Awanas; our family life was very normal. I can't tell you what a blessing, what a gift from God it is to hear now that somehow in the middle of all the day-to-day stuff going on in our home, He was able to show Himself to a little girl who visited our home.
I still remember the first time Leslie spent the night at our home, her first "sleep-over" other than relatives. She and our daughter were upstairs in the bathroom, playing out a scene from some childhood book, and our Leslie slipped a metal nail file in the top opening of the light switch on the wall, attempting to enter some magic land. In a flurry of screams and little feet running down the stairs, as the power went out in the entire house, they explained to me that the nail file had burned off in the wall, and still embedded in the light switch, sparks were coming out of it. Thankful the girls were not electrocuted, and scared to touch the light switch, I phoned my husband at work, who gave me instructions on how to deal with the problem. (He's an engineer and they come in darned handy sometimes!) The girls, thank the Lord, were wearing tennis shoes, and had been knocked on their rears, literally. That was better than landing in heaven. Thank you God for keeping both Leslies alive that day, and for letting us be a part of "Leslie R", as we fondly called her, come to a saving knowledge of you. We're pretty grateful for both!
And if you're a young mom out there, feeling like the last thing in the world you need in your house is one of the kids in the neighborhood, take heart. God may be doing wonderful and mysterious things through you, of all people! If He used me, he most certainly can use you. So open the door, pour the koolaid (although we outlawed red in our home), make some rice krispy treats, and love on those kids He sends through your door. You just might get an email, somewhere down the road, that will absolutely melt your heart, and bring back some misty memories to boot.
posted at 8:00 AM