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Archive for the ‘Grandchildren’ Category

~ Written by Viki Rife

At 16 I graduated high school and got a job at a local hospital. One of my responsibilities involved making sure the radiologists had film cassettes loaded with new film.

One afternoon I got a call from a radiologist who was using the portable x-ray machine in the operating room. He needed more cassettes. I was to meet him in the scrub-room to deliver them.

When I walked into the room, my eye caught sight of the steel counter to the left. To my amazement, it contained five or six dead infants in various stages of development. I remember one had black wavy hair. My first thought was, “how could that many stillbirths occur in one day in our small town?” My teenage mind was horrified.

Just then, a nurse came out of the OR. She saw me staring over at the counter and frowned. “I don’t know why people can’t clean up after themselves,” she grumbled. She went over to the counter, grabbed a trash can, and with one quick move swept all the little bodies into it. Then she pulled out the bag and tied it shut.

I remember thinking, “How will the parents know which child is theirs when they’re ready to bury them?” My mind absolutely could not absorb the fact that the recent ruling of Roe vs. Wade had anything to do with it.

I hid the trauma deep inside and never told a soul.

But my heart was left very vulnerable when it comes to baby deaths. I grieve them with an intensity that has always seemed more than what the average person does. When my own granddaughter died in the womb the week before her due date, I was absolutely numb for two months. Something painful was stirring. It took me a while to figure out what it was. It was the memory of those beautiful dead babies.

Finally, as part of grieving my granddaughter, I allowed myself to examine the incident from so long ago and started processing the emotions that surround it. I was eventually able to share that operating room experience with my husband and a few trusted friends. They have been balm to my aching heart.

I thought I had worked through the trauma. Then last month a couple very close to me lost their baby at 25 weeks. The mother was induced, and I waited in the hallway while the baby was delivered. I saw the doctor leave the room, and a few minutes later a nurse came out carrying a tied trash bag.

The memory from that long-ago day hit like a fist to the stomach. I ran to the bathroom to throw up.

At that point I realized that my horror of living in a society that throws away its children is never going to go away. Thankfully, I soon was able to go into the room and see the baby in her father’s arms. She had not been in that bag. Her tiny body was being treated with dignity and respect by her grieving parents. And, in a strange way, I found the scene comforting. Parents should care that much about their child.

We cannot change our society, no matter what laws we pass. New York’s recent legalization of full-term abortion is only a symptom of our disease of devaluing human life. May God’s people go to our knees in prayer for our society, and may we reach out to help people see the God in whose image they’re made!

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~ Written by Viki Rife

A few weeks ago, when I wrote a blog about keeping wonder in Christmas, I had no idea that a new kind of wonder awaited our family this season. The morning of December 22, my father slipped away from us into his Father’s waiting arms.

Christmas will never be the same for us. Yes, we grieve, and most likely there will be some grieving each year at this time. There is a big hole in our hearts. But overriding the pain is a confidence that the baby in a manger came to defeat death.

The hole is not forever. Our dear daddy—pastor, missionary, school administrator, chaplain, husband, father, grandfather, and all-around lover of God—was a work of grace. He is now experiencing the wonder of Heaven. And even in the pain, we are experiencing the wonder of peace that passes understanding.

Our family is entering a new season of life as the new year begins. You might be, too. May we all spend this new year focusing on the wonder of God’s amazing grace at work within us. Have a wonder-full year!

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~ Written by Cassie Rayl

“Can I pray for you two?” He asked while his hands, shaking because of Parkinson’s, grabbed both of us without waiting for an answer. As we do every time we go see my husband’s grandpa, we gladly agreed. Grandpa’s eyes filled with tears as he turned scripture into prayer, and prayer into a blessing over our lives.

He tagged onto the end of his prayer, “Jesus, they’re doing great things, um, this man and his wife. Just bless them. I love them so much. Amen.”

Then it was my turn to tear up. Parkinson’s and age have slowly been taking independence away from this man who has adopted me as his own because I married his grandson. His memory has slowly clouded out names and other important information. In so many ways, the frustration alone could have filled him with bitterness and anger.

But it doesn’t. Instead, those things make him press even more deeply into love and faith. It doesn’t matter that he can’t remember our roles in ministry. It doesn’t matter that he can’t remember our names. In that moment, he wanted Jesus in our midst, and nothing was going to stop him from being the tool Jesus used to bless our lives.

Grandpa didn’t have to know everything, he just had to know the Master.

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~ Written by Viki Rife

The shooting of students in Oregon last week shook me to the core. It could have been my grandsons. 

I was very aware of that because of a conversation with them earlier this summer. Anytime they visit, they usually climb in bed with us when they wake up and we tell stories to each other. That morning, I decided to tell the story of a man imprisoned in Russia for his faith who saw amazing answers to prayer. 

When I finished, the six-year-old said thoughtfully, “If anyone says they will shoot me if I love Jesus, I’ll still tell them I do.”  

“What made you decide that?” I asked him.  

“B (his nine-year-old brother) told me I should always stand up for Jesus,” he answered. 

I turned to B. “What made you decide to do that?” I asked. 

“Well,” he explained, “I was wondering about it, so I talked to Mom and she agreed that I should.” So, these little guys have already decided how they would handle it. And although they aren’t in college, school shootings are unfortunately not limited to colleges. Yes, it could be them. 

A side of me screams, “No!” But the rest of me screams, “Yes! Yes, take a stand for God. Make a powerful statement that He is worth dying for.” 

To you moms out there, may God help you as you guide your children. I never had to have that conversation with my children. But the world has changed. This is now their reality. We can’t shield them from it.  The only thing harder than encouraging your children to take a bullet for Christ is encouraging them to encourage your grandchildren to take a bullet for Christ.

But we need to consider what it would do to a child who truly believes in Christ to live with the knowledge that they had denied Him. I would not put that burden on them. So I would make sure to give them the freedom of knowing that if they believe in Jesus, I will support their decision. They have a right to stand up for Him. 

If we want to raise kids with backbone, we have to start now. 

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~Written by Viki Rife

You really have to understand people to be a Little League coach. During a Skype conversation with my grandson last weekend, I asked him, “What position are you playing in softball this year?” He answered with a forlorn face, “Outfield, but I’d rather be at second base.”

I’m pretty sure I know why his coach put him in the outfield, based on a game I watched when we were visiting them. My grandson begged to be at first base, and the coach let him. The first time an opposing player hit the ball, my grandson started cheering.

As soon as the other player arrived at the base, my grandson, who is extremely extroverted, started a conversation with this boy he didn’t even know. In no time at all, they were standing there swapping stories like old friends, both with their backs to home plate. Pretty soon another player hit a ball, which went right past first base as each coach shouted to get his player’s attention. It was pretty obvious my grandson’s heart wasn’t really in the game.

Sometimes I think I do the same thing. My Coach gives me a chance to play a key position, but I get distracted doing what I want to do. The opportunity to contribute to the team passes me by. I could have noticed that someone was grieving. I could have seen that chance to take food to a family. I didn’t drop the ball–I never even reached for it. If I don’t want to play outfield, I need to learn to keep my eye on the ball

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