“Mom, what’s a cell?” she asked on the way home from church, evening service, sun was setting.
I gauged my words, tried to chose those that would make most sense to her, “They are the smallest pieces in our body, you can only see them through microscopes, but build up all our parts.”
I waited for a deluge of follow up questions, but just heard “Oh,” after a long pause. Waiting, “What happened to Ruby’s cell?”
Baby Ruby lives near us and each time Maria sees her, Maria can’t contain herself and compliments her beautiful lips, her round, wise eyes. Baby Ruby has cancer.
“Ruby has something called cancer and it makes her cells sick. Baby Ruby has to go to the hospital and have the doctors work on her. But something special is that Ruby’s whole, big family, and friends pray and pray for God to heal her. And when they hand her to the doctors, they say, ‘We have been praying for you and praying for this time for Ruby and we are thankful for you,’ and the doctors think, ‘What, that’s weird, I’m a doctor, you weirdo,’ but they tell them anyways. And just this week, her doctors told her that what happened to her was closest thing to a miracle they have ever seen.”
“Oh,” Maria responded calmly. “What is a miracle?”
“Well…” I try to think of the right words she would understand, “A miracle is something that God makes happen that people can’t explain or maybe doesn’t even make sense. God can make miracles happen when we pray and talk to him, He loves doing that for us.”
Looking at her clasped hands, her expression didn’t show excitement at the prospect of miracles, because she was thinking of another time, her first prayer she ever muttered.
“Mom,” she said in a small voice, cars whizzing past us in the opposite direction, “One time people told me about God. When I was in the orphanage, when I was littler. They brought a book and showed us pictures, and I was like, ‘What? Who is that? I never heard of him before.’ I saw him on a cross. No one told me, I didn’t know about him. And then I started to pray. And I kept praying and praying.”
“What did you pray for?”
“I was praying for a family. But then I gave up and said, ahhh nevermind. Because it was too long, I was praying for so long.”
“You were praying for a family in Russia?”
“Yeah, when those people told me about God, I never heard of him before,” she mentioned again.
“And then you got one!” I smiled.
“Yeah!” she smiled now. “After you left that first time, all the kids were asking me to take them with me, especially Katya, they were like, ‘Maria, please, we want to come, we want a family, too!’ But, I just told them, no.”
“You did?” I smiled, I had cried enough tears over that thought in the past that I can casually engage now.
“Yeah,” she smiled, “I told them, that they are my mom and dad, so, you know?”
I nodded to her.
“I am glad you prayed,” I told her. “We prayed for you, too.”
“Yeah,” she told me, her spirit so much lighter now,
God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. Psalm 145:14
Please pray with us for baby Ruby.
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