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I have ransomed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. . . . . . . Isaiah 43:1-2

        Beginning at nine years old, all I ever wanted in life was a big family. I thought I would have nine children, one each year. (I would not have believed it if someone had told me I would eventually have twenty-six!) I made endless lists of names, and drew diagrams of the bedrooms they would need, and where I would put the beds! I spent years at these happy and confident plans! I just about memorized a baby care book I had. I spent money I found in the road on baby powder, just to know what it smelled like! I remember once setting my alarm clock in the summer, to 2:00 A.M., and waking up, to hold my baby doll with a bottle, dreaming about what it would be like when my real baby woke me at such an hour! Beginning at age thirteen, I had short-term live-in babysitting jobs. Then I spent much time at all the stores' baby departments, dreaming of what clothes and furniture I would buy for my own baby, and buying a few for the future I felt was soon to be.

        It is very important to note here, that I was deeply blessed in having godly parents, and was taught of the Lord from birth. I became a born again Christian at seven years old. My parents taught me utter and complete faith in God, which was the greatest gift of my life.

        I was engaged at sixteen, and married at seventeen. My greatest hope was to have a baby, but to my great surprise and dismay, no baby came. The next year was long and sad. Beginning at age eighteen, I became a foster parent. We were able to get a license because my husband was much older than I. When we asked for a baby, they said that everyone wants babies, but would we consider one with a handicap? Well of course! What could be more natural? A baby was a baby, handicapped or not. I just wanted a small person, to love and cuddle. God had brought me in contact with various people with severe disabilities in my life, and so I did not hesitate, and my husband was willing. The sweet babies who came through our home were all the more appealing and interesting for their unusual problems. I am certain that it was God who put the desire for motherhood into my heart so strongly while I was still a child. And I am certain that it is He who gave me every single child I ever was given, through birth or adoption. My cherished foster baby Julianne became my own child years later, when I was able to adopt her. But first, after three years of longing, came my precious first-born, Noelle. Then God blessed me with a precious second-born, my son, Kyle. And then, quite suddenly, my marriage dissolved. Though my children were my pride and joy, I had never expected to be unable to give them a daddy.

        I was very deeply distressed at this time of my life. My dearest dream had been derailed. I could not believe that God meant for me to only have three children. But how could I know the answer? I prayed that God still had children out there, who needed me, even though I could no longer give them a daddy. One parent is better than no parent. Perhaps God intended the rest of my children to be those who might not otherwise have any parent at all. Surely He did have children like that for me! I loved my three children, and continued to pray about the future. I was comforted by the verse: "Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him". I Samuel 1:18         The Bible verses on this page have very deep meaning to me. God has spoken to me through them many times over the years. Most are in King James version, but some are in NIV. I would like to share them with you.

        Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7 * * * And Jesus said unto them ... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed ... nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17: 20a, 20c, 20d * * * Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Isaiah 43: 5-8 * * * I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters. Isaiah 43: 15-16 * * * For God has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5 * * * Enlarge your house; build on additions; spread out your home! For you will soon be bursting at the seams! Isaiah 54:2-3 * * * Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4,5

        I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own home those who are helpless, poor and destitute. Isaiah 58:7 * * * And if, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded. Matthew 10:42 * * * Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 18:10 * * * He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV * * * I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 * * * God setteth the solitary in families. Psalm 68:6

        For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, said thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, said the Lord thy Redeemer. Isaiah 54: 6-8 * * * And again and again I kept running into these verses: Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25: 40 * * * Jesus said: "Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." Luke 9:48 * * * Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matthew 18:5 * * * Comfort the feeble minded, support the weak. I Thessalonians 5:14a * * * There couldn't have been any clearer answer to my prayer. Not only would I be given children, but God would bless me, and bless us all!

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23

        And God did continue to bless me with children, and drew me closer to Him as the years went by. Every child was such a tremendous gift, and I rejoiced like Hannah: "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him." I Samuel 1:27 I still praise God and thank Him for each child, while praying for the ones still on earth, nearly thirty-four years after the day my first foster child was laid in my arms, entrusted to me.

        As life went on, my two most frequent personal requests of my Heavenly Father was to be given strength, and patience. At times I was given a child who presented unexpected and great frustrations. But because so much prayer had gone into each adoption, I believed that each was the right one. Many times I asked God to show me the reason. And in time, He did. After all, God never said life would have no frustration or exhaustion. And how would I grow in grace with no trials?

        In general, I believe I was and am a cheerful, loving mother. I was consistent, strict and as fair as I could be. I wasn't the best housekeeper, but I was very good at organizing my family. My greatest goal was to help each child develop to their full potential, and become the most capable, and happy adult they could be.

I was not a perfect parent. My greatest trials in life have been exhaustion, and my own self. I so yearned to be perfect for the God I loved so much, and could not. Lack of sleep was the hardest thing. Daily life did not exhaust me. My life, my family exhilarated and fulfilled me! But a prolonged lack of sleep could break me down. Much grief and prayer was about this very thing. * * * Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Oh turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give Thy strength unto Thy servant. Psalm 86:15,16 * * * For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee. Psalm 86:5 * * * Knowing that God forgave my sins when I asked Him to, comforted me beyond measure. I always believed that things would improve, and God would give me the resources needed to cope. And things always did improve. Many times I remembered the verse: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

        Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee: . . . I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. Isaiah 44: 2a, and 3-4 * * * Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 * * * Jesus promised: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight. Isaiah 45:2 * * * For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 * * * A powerful verse rarely quoted, applies to my love for my children: "for love is stronger than death". Song Of Solomon 8:6b And it is. For even after my child has died, our love continues. For all eternity, we will be together in Heaven, loving each other still, and with the purest love of all.

        It's been a wonderful, rewarding thirty-three years of parenthood, and I fully expect to have at least thirty-three more. I still love nurturing, and I still need to be needed. My children continue to amaze and delight me, particularly their personal walks with the Lord. Every one of them who is able to understand, is a born-again Christian. That is the greatest joy of my life. Three are married, two are parents, one is a teacher, one is a police officer. I am proud of every one. My daughter Skyla, who is in a wheelchair, is married, and runs her own household with no help. That is a career to be proud of! To God be the glory, great things He has done! My most frequent prayer is a joyous exhalation: "Oh Lord, my Lord, how magnificent is thy name in all the earth!" * * * "I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name forevermore." Psalm 86:12.

  Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord, he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100

What a marvelous promise this is . . . "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children" Isaiah 54: 13

In love and gratitude to my Heavenly Father, I share this part of my heart and life.
2004 Rosemary J. Gwaltney