I find myself amazed at the answering of a prayer a decade after it was first sent to God. Sara Dee Roberts Barry is my favorite cousin. To begin my story I will say she recently gave herself to the Lord. She is the black sheep. I am the white angel. Yet we are sisters.
At the young age of 29 Sara has been married three times, lived in numerous cities, sent to many different high schools and has three children. This day she is happily married living her husband and two young boys. Her daughter lives with her grandmother. I could rustle through all of her trash, but that is not important to my story.
Sara grew up in a family of five children. Those children grew up to live the type of lives we think we should lead... One got her Masters and is happily married with a baby on the way; one lived out her dream of marrying a sweet Southern man and raising two young boys; one has four "perfect" children and a "perfect" wife; one has three children and married his sweetheart. Then there was Sara. Her parents are probably the most saintly people I know; they are also my godparents. She grew up thinking because she was adopted that she was not Adams blood and the world owed her something. Instead of letting us love her she ran from us her entire life.
I worshiped my cousin from a very young age. Though she is the black sheep she could walk in a room and the entire world stopped for her. She has a magnetic personality. I was envious. No matter how perfect I was or what I accomplished even to this day... Sara was more interesting. The world began to doubt her when we were teenagers and the family seemed to turn against her wishing and wishing she would behave. I stood beside her. I always saw the potential and I knew she could use the magnetism for good. She would get angry when her mother spoke about God and she would yell we were all Bible Beaters. My mother didn't want Sara to come visit me. Sara took me to my first party. Sara let me smoke my first cigarette. Sara bought me wine coolers at age fifteen. I followed her around like a puppy. Then truth hit me.
I remember a time laying in bed crying to God about Sara when I was about fourteen. I told Him I wished she would grow up and find Him. I wanted her to see what I saw in her eyes. It took God twelve years to answer my prayer. God doesn't live in our time limits.
Sara would bounce back and forth. She would be on the right track. She was married. Once. Twice. And I thought with a beautiful baby girl and a family her life was set. She tricked me into believing her. I always fell for it. Her little girl, my angel, then was forced to live with Bill and Donna in West Texas. We all knew it was for the best... Then she got married the THIRD time and life seemed truly set. She was so happy... and then she let me down more than anyone can imagine. She hurt our entire family and thrust her marriage into shambles with her actions. She lied to me for six months on end after we talked numerous times each day. My Dad gave up on her. The whole family seemed to throw in the towel. I prayed for a long time and finally found myself able to move on from the pain. Sara was my sister. My family. It's hard to keep getting thrown in the mud and walking. We continued to pray.
Sara did turn around her life and actions before she found God, but she was always questioning them. She wanted to be alone. She wanted to run from everyone and everything that loved her. It was easier than facing reality. Her reality was the fact the world owed her something and the world wasn't living up to her expectations. But, her expectations weren't enough for God. So this summer she attended a Walk to Emmaus and life changed forever.
When she returned I listened as the bitter fell out of her voice. Her mind was filled with love. Her webpage filled with Bible scriptures and passion. Some question if it is just fire for God that will blow out... I don't. She finally found what I have seen my entire life. God was always right there. She ran. He carried her. She changed her married life and her family life and her entire life. It amazes me to speak to her today. She has always been my sister giving it to me like it is; loving me despite my faults; knowing me better than my own dad. But, she is different now.
God waited so many years to answer our prayers. He let her fall apart. He let us all hang on that fraggled rope of hope we had for our loved one. It amazes me how God does answer our prayers. It amazes me even more that it isn't in a time frame. I want it now now now. God wants me to wait. Sara began rebelling at age twelve. Though her parents were firm believers and amazing people there was NOTHING any of us could do, but discipline her and love her. God put her through all of those trials...and here she is today. Of course she isn't where she wants to be spiritually and her family puzzle is not yet perfect. It's all in the works.
The times when we thought our prayers were hitting the ceiling... God was patiently telling us to wait. Just wait.
So today as we pray for things we want right now... We remember this story. God took a rebellious young woman and threw her in the fire while we prayed... Maybe she threw herself in that fire... but, we remember if God could take those ashes and turn them into the beautiful creation that stands before us today... Nothing is impossible. Nothing is in our hands. Nothing is hopeless.