All Alone by Penny Rice
(Originally published in the New Life Zoa Free Paper)
My body trembled in fear as I heard my mother scream for help from the bathroom. I ran as fast as I could, but being only eight years old, I tripped several times up the steps to my grandparents’ apartment. They rushed back with me and found my mother sprawled on the floor, unconscious. When the ambulance came and she was put on a stretcher I kept calling to her, hoping she’d wake up–but she just lay there white and still. Then several days later I found out why. . . she was dying of cancer. My whole world was shaken. Five years earlier my father had left us to shift for ourselves. Now my mother would be gone, too.
At the funeral, the pastor took my hand and assured me that God would take care of me. I nodded my head, but I couldn’t see how He would take care of me. For the next ten years, I wondered even more if God loved me. I seemed as though He were playing games with me–just when I would settle down to living with one set of relatives, something would happen and I would be sent to live with another set of relatives. I developed a growing fear that no one really understood me. My pillow was often wet with tears of bitter loneliness.
What I did not realize was that God was leading me through these trials and tragedies to make my heart hungry and open to Him. Then when I was broken and felt so alone, He revealed the plan that He had for my life. At a small junior college, He led me to a serious-looking sophomore named Larry Rice. It did not take me long to see how devoted He was to God and how he really cared about people. God had sent me someone who could understand me and the loneliness in my heart began to dissolve. Many of the doubts and fears in my mind about God were answered and I began to trust more and more in Him. Three years later, Larry and I were married and we put our whole future in the Lord’s hands saying, “Send us wherever you want us to go!”
With a few more circumstances at work, He brought us to St. Louis to become founders of New Life Evangelistic Center. Each day is full of reaching out and sharing the love of Christ with people. God could have chosen anyone for this work, but He chose a frustrated, lonely girl from the suburbs of Chicago who had no idea what it meant to serve God. Now the tears that sometimes wet my pillow are tears of happiness and gratitude that God would reach down and give my life a purpose.