Jeff was in his chair and I was on the corner of couch closest him. Watching a documentary on Malcolm “X”.
It was an interesting program, but my attention was elsewhere.
I was having an argument with God.
My husband was an unbeliever at that time. He sat beside me, staring at the television–oblivious to my inner turmoil.
We’d had some conflicts over issues of faith in the past. I’d tried all the tools in my box of dysfunction to get him to church. Only to be met with heated opposition.
It wasn’t until he suggested divorce that I paused my tactics.
“I can’t be the man you want me to be,” he said. “Maybe it’s best to just end this.”
Jeffrey was in kindergarten, Teddy second grade. As a child of divorce, I had not even considered this an option.
I decided to change my strategy.
From that point on, he was all God’s. No more manipulating, guilt-inducing silences, or angry judgments.
It never was up to me anyway.
So we had come to this point of don’t ask, don’t tell. Issues of faith were not discussed. There was this huge part of my life that I could not share with my husband.
The most important part.
But on this particular night, while watching a documentary on Malcolm “X”, God asked me to breach that silent chasm.
Pray with Jeff.
Pray with Jeff.
And the argument ensued.
You know how he feels about this, Lord. He’ll get angry with me. He’ll refuse to do it. It will disrupt this semblance of peace we have been pretending to have.
Pray with Jeff.
He was persistent.
The thing was, the following day, Teddy had a doctor appointment that both Jeff and I were anxious about. I sensed that God wanted me to pray about this with my husband.
Taking a deep breath, I quietly reached for the remote and turned off the television.
My husband looked at me questioningly.
“I’m going to ask you something, and it’s very important to me.”
He began to look nervous.
“If I asked you to pray with me, would that be very hard for you?”
“Yes. It would.”
His jaw hardened and I felt the opposition coming on.
“I’m going to ask you to do it anyway.”
He began his protests, but God provided a way.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lucy Mae enter our space. She looked dolefully up at me and the Holy Spirit prompted.
Scooping her up in my arms, I moved over to share the oversized chair with my husband.
Without words, I offered Lucy’s paw to my husband.
He grinned sheepishly, chuckled self-consciously, and took her paw between two fingers.
It was the beginning of a new nightly ritual. Every evening after that, I offered Lucy’s paw to my husband, and the three of us prayed together.
Jeff remained skeptical for a long time. But gradually, his heart began to soften. Over the next several months, I watched God work a miracle in our lives as my husband tentatively took baby steps toward Jesus.
I shared this story with a friend while walking this morning, and the miracle of it washed over me anew. Our lives have changed drastically in last few years. Jeff is now the praise band leader at our church. My boys now look up to their father as a spiritual leader.
God could have accomplished this amazing feat any way He desired. But He chose to give me the precious opportunity to be involved. Through a simple act of obedience and the help of our precious pet.
I will be forever grateful.
Happy Birthday, Lucy Mae. You make our world a sweeter place.