It’s almost time for the 2022 AFR Spring Share-a-thon, and I am already excited. During each biannual Share-a-thon, I am always so blessed by the kind words and testimonies of our supporters. It is like a big three-day family reunion.
I never fail to walk away from each Share-a-thon with a special blessing. Once, I answered the phone and heard the voice of an old friend. Another time, I got to hear such sweet comments about my latest article or book.
Listeners often ask if they can pray for me. Those prayers bring me to tears, especially when God directs a caller to pray for a deep need I had not shared. But the most humbling calls are from those who have faithfully listened, supported, and prayed us for more than 40 years. We will never know the true impact of those prayers until we reach heaven.
One of the most life-changing calls I ever answered was during our Fall 2020 Share-a-thon. To be honest, it was a very unusual Share-a-thon because our nation was smackdab in the middle of the pandemic and a very divisive presidential election. Financial times were tough for lots of Americans. So, we had no clue if listeners would be able to call in and support us during those dark days.
Have no fear! Our listeners set call-in records during that Share-a-thon. We were reminded how big and strong the family of God really is!
It was also in that Fall 2020 Share-a-thon when God gave me one of the sweetest, most unexpected gifts of my life.
I answered the call from a sweet listener who was just a few years older than me. After she made her pledge, she asked if she could pray for me about anything specific.
“My oldest granddaughter is getting her driver’s license,” I remarked with a laugh, “That thought adds significantly to my prayer time.”
She asked her name and the names and ages of all my grandbabies. As I replied, we began to discuss our mutual love for our grandchildren. She explained that hers were in high school, college, or starting out in adult life.
She confessed that when they had first begun leaving home, it was hard to stay in touch with them and to really be a part of their hectic lives. Plus, it was concerning to her that the world’s pull on them was growing stronger. They were pretty much on their own, making important life decisions. They needed their family and faith in God at this time, more than ever.
Back then, she started praying and asking God to help her to continue to have a Christ-centered impact on their lives. He gave her the answer to her prayers through the most unexpected idea – technology.
One Christmas, when they were all together, she told them that over the next year, she was going to text them each one Bible verse per day. Her text would not include commentary, just the Word of God. She also assured them they did not have to reply; it was just her way of loving them every day.
After a while, her grown grandkids began to respond. Not every day, but often, one or more of her grandkids lets her know just how timely that verse was for their lives. Maybe it helped with a job problem, encouraged them right before a big exam, or addressed another pressing issue. But before long, each grandchild let her know they looked so forward to her simple daily text.
“That was several years ago,” she said as she finished her tale, “and I still send it out faithfully. They would revolt if I didn’t.”
I thanked her for sharing that idea and said I just might try it with my granddaughter. We prayed, and I hung up the phone and went on to answer my next call. But little did I know what a treasure she had deposited in our lives.
The next week, when we were celebrating our granddaughter’s birthday, I told her about my conversation with an AFR listener. I asked it would be alright if I sent her a daily text with a Bible verse since she was now an “adult” driver.
My granddaughter smiled and replied, “Of course, Yaya, that sounds like a good idea.”
That was 18 months ago. In that time, over 550 verses have gone out to my precious girl. That’s over 550 gifts that my money could never buy for her, 550 treasures that she can use in her everyday life, and 550 pieces of a priceless inheritance that she can pass on to the next generation. Truly, she has been given over 550 Words of Life from the only One who can give her life.
Some days, she never acknowledges a thing. Some days, I get a smiley face or pulsing heart emoji. Some days, I get a short text. Now and then, I get a longer text – or a phone call telling me how that one simple verse impacted her.
Regardless of her response, God’s Word is going into my grandchild’s eyes, her mind, her heart, and her spirit. And the best part is, that God guarantees those verses, His Words, cannot and will not return void. He has given His promise that they will produce life in my sweet granddaughter.
It’s a gift that keeps on giving, day after day, year after year, generation after generation.
In fact, a few months back, another grandchild got his driver’s license, and now, I send him a daily verse as well. And there are three more grandbabies behind these two who will one day get a license to drive and a daily verse from their Yaya.
I only wish that I could thank that sweet AFR listener from our Fall 2020 Share-a-thon. I wish she could know just how much she gave me that day 18 months ago.
Who knows! I may get to answer her call again during our Spring 2022 Share-a-thon! But if not, I do know for sure that I will be given the privilege of talking with many other AFR supporters, and I cannot wait to see just what God has in store for us on April 19-21.
After all, our God is full of surprises and blessings – and miracles. My granddaughter and I can attest to that truth, one text at a time.