Book Blog - Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth

Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth Part 1 – Chapter 5 – The Desires of My Heart

Chapter 5 – Copyright 2023 – Carla J. Wood

The Desires of My Heart

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you (that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart), ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
John 15:7 AMP

I don’t know if I consciously applied this verse in my next year of life, but I did know that every perfect gift came from God. I believed if I wanted something to happen in my life and it was what God wanted to do for me, it was very likely that God would love to have me ask for it to grow my faith as I received his desired gift.

God answered multiple prayers in the next year, sometimes with “no”, many times with “yes” and “in time”. He started with a prayer for my friends in my Campfire Girls group. I wasn’t sure where my friends were regarding faith, but I was acutely aware that everybody needed to hear the good news of Jesus. At church we had a visiting evangelist who was an illusionist – he would perform “magic” tricks that were object lessons about Jesus, and he shared the story of God using these and flannelgraphs with black lights. So, praying for Jesus to touch their hearts, I invited my friends to go with me to the nightly services that were held for a week.

One friend, accepted Jesus that week, thrilling my heart and expanding my faith. Jesus answered that prayer with a yes! Seeds were planted in other hearts that night and eventually God got ahold of all of them as I prayed for them for years afterward, showing me that “in time” answers were precious and exciting. It was so amazing, years later, to connect and find out how God had worked in their lives. That whole experience taught me that our job is simply to be faithful in planting the seeds with love – that it is God who does the work of growing in his time. Those girls are still precious friends.

~

With our faith growing, my sister and I decided that maybe now, in the spring of my fourth-grade year, it was time we pray for the baby brother I had wanted for quite some time. I was old enough to know that God doesn’t just give you everything you ask for, but I felt pretty strongly about a baby, even sensing it was God’s plan that we should have a little boy to love and hold.  I knew that Carolyn and I would really enjoy helping my mom with a baby, too. So, we prayed every night that if it was God’s will, he’d send us a baby brother – a real life “living doll.” In the back of my mind, my parents’ arguing concerned me and I also thought a baby might be just the ticket to help them be happy again.

Shortly after fifth grade started that September, just five months after we started our baby prayer requests, Mom and Dad sat us down with a very serious look. We thought we had done something wrong. But instead, they told us… that in May we would have a baby brother or sister. It’s likely that the entire state of Washington heard Carolyn and I jumping and screaming, “We knew it! He answered our prayers!” We then informed our parents that it WOULD be a boy. Mom and Dad were shocked at our enthusiasm, and we told them we had been praying since April for this surprise baby – well, not a complete surprise to us!

May came quickly. One day we arrived home from school to find that we indeed had a baby brother. “Our Matthew” was the greatest blessing our family had in a long time and was far better than any baby doll. I fell completely in love and couldn’t stop looking at him. Carolyn and I both thought we had died and gone to baby heaven. My Campfire Girls group even held a surprise baby shower for me, where I got to open the gifts! I felt so grown up and so loved – so blessed to have this precious answer to prayer.

~

The unique spiritual/emotional part of this answer to prayer is how God used Matthew to help me grow in a huge way. I was becoming a woman rapidly – already 5’7” tall and eager to be a surrogate mother for my baby brother. I wanted to be with him all the time and make sure he was happy. Our whole family fought to hold him. He was the joy our family needed in that season of life.

Mom struggled with postpartum depression when she had to go back to work the following month. She hated leaving Matthew and already had emotional struggles on top of hormone changes. One night, Dad asked me for help that would continue each night for weeks. I slept in Matthew’s room that summer and got up for his nighttime bottle feedings. It was so special having this sweet baby I’d prayed for to cry for me. I’d change his diaper after getting the bottle started in the kitchen and help ease his cries for food. Feeding him was the most satisfying experience I’d ever had with a baby. I even loved burping him and didn’t mind him spitting up. I felt loved, needed, and grown up with a new kind of love I hadn’t experienced before.

After about a month of these long nights, I was beginning to drag. One early morning in particular, Matthew had already been up at 2:00 and his screaming had me up again at 4:00. In 1973, feeding a baby formula was a little more complicated. I poured liquid formula into the glass bottle, set it in a pan of water, and waited for that to boil, hoping I didn’t get it too hot. All this time Matthew was still screaming. At age 11 ½, without enough sleep, worried about waking my parents, I was crying, telling God, “I just can’t do this anymore!”

Moving toward the sink to get some tissues to wipe my tears, I noticed a Bible verse we had posted in the kitchen –

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

The words from that verse immediately gave me strength. I quit crying, got the bottle, and fed Matthew with renewed peace. It was a couple weeks after that when he began sleeping through the night. My first life verse was established in that kitchen. I began to believe I could truly do all things with Jesus.

Many years later when I gave birth to our first child, Shawn, I was not nervous about being a mother. Peace filled my whole maternal experience because I had learned so much about having a baby through helping raise Matthew. (You can be sure I nursed my children; I was not going to mess with any bottles!)

Matthew has continued to be a blessing to me throughout my life and grew to be a wonderful husband and father himself. His love and support have proven especially strong since losing Taylor. God knew I would need him now as a best friend, even back in 1972 when he prompted me to pray for a baby brother.

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