Dining Rooms & Garden Treasures


Last May, while out in the garden planting more sunflower seeds, I was talking to God about my mom. She was in her fifth month of defying the doctors’ prediction of having only weeks to months to live — at the most, six months, they said.

I knew they were wrong. After she had broken a hip, I heard God tell me that she would live and not die, that it wasn’t her time to go Home yet, which was different from my dad, who went Home after battling lung cancer when I was a young teen.

With my mom, I witnessed a miracle. She had been in intense pain, but as soon as a Catholic Charismatic deacon prayed over her in Jesus’ Name, the pain left immediately and her back straightened. Nurses ran around telling everyone it was a miracle, and the doctor at the rehab facility wanted to know if she hid pain. To this day, Mom has not needed to take a pain pill after leaving that place.

Back to the garden. While planting a seed, I looked back at her house, the house I came home to as a newborn.

“Lord, I had always wanted to build Mom a dining room.” It’s always been one of my regrets, but finances never allowed for it.

My mom grew up very poor. Her parents were sharecroppers, and the house they lived in with Mom’s brother and sisters would be classified as a shack to most people. Their little house had dirt floors and the windows had no glass or screens, just wooden slabs to pull down over them.

And the one thing she’d always wanted was a dining room. She never had a formal dining room. Even this old house now only has a space in the kitchen for meals.

One of the only times I saw my mom shed a tear was when we were driving around town several years ago, and she pointed out a neighborhood she liked, and told me that she and my dad were going to purchase a house there, one that had a dining room, but he had gotten transferred to Germany instead. And so they rented this house and came back to it later.

Back to the garden again. After I talked to God about it all, I felt His Presence so strongly and sweetly. I felt He was right there beside me. I then broke up new earth along the fence, but my shovel hit something. When I bent down to get rid of the “rock,” I instead pulled out a spoon. It was a piece from my mom’s set of tableware. For a while, I just stared at it. It just seemed so odd.

Many years ago, the fence had beautiful wild white roses growing over it. My dad had planted them, but later years, my mom had dug them up because of too much maintenance. Maybe the spoon somehow ended up there during a lunch break while planting, or after one of our summer backyard picnics.

As I dug again, the shovel hit something else: half of my dad’s old Diners Club card. And then I found some old siding from when the house was first built.

And then I ran inside and cried a little bit. Because although I didn’t hear an audible voice, what I heard in my spirit was this: “Your mom may not have had a dining room here on Earth, but don’t worry. In Heaven, she’ll have the most beautiful dining room with a feast that never ends. And not only will I be there waiting for her, so will your dad.”

It was truly a magical moment in so many ways. A healing moment. A reassuring moment. Alone in the garden, but not alone at all. Jesus was with me. Jesus is with us — with all of us who want Him. And that makes all the difference.

One year and one month later, I still have that spoon and diners club card, and still with the dirt on them, in a clear plastic bag. It’s reminder of God’s goodness.

And Mom is still here with us. We went outside today and I pointed out the three cucumbers growing, and the peppers and eggplant, and all the new little sunflowers growing along the fence – that will, by the end of summer, be about eight feet tall.

If someone ever tells you there’s no hope, don’t believe them. There is always hope. And if the answer doesn’t go the way you want, like with my dad, just know there’s a reason, and one day, if you keep trusting Him, and keep building your faith in Him, He’ll make it all work together for good somehow.  He always has the last word, and He always will.

P.S. — I hope you find your own kind of spoon, Diners Club card, and tile someday too…