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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 1Timothy 5:8

"Mrs. Kime? This is Alma Stanley. Would you please meet me in the back yard?" Mrs. Stanley was a good neighbor who lived just beyond the garden fence.

Albert and Pernniah Kime had begun rearing their youngest daughter’s children after her death. Jack, age nine, was the oldest, then Bev, Merry and little Billy, age five-months old. As the precocious little guy grew, it took the entire neighborhood to keep Billy safe and to spare his grandmother any stress. She was sixty-seven and Grandpa Kime was seventy-seven when they began rearing the second family. Their decision came quickly. Of course they would take in Helen’s children.

That beautiful summer day, Grandma Kime met Alma in the back yard. "I don’t want to frighten you," Alma began, "but Billy is in a hammock over our heads. He seems to have strung a rope out the attic window and somehow attached it to the top of the maple tree. He seems to be causing a traffic problem on the highway out front. People are slowing down to see what Billy is doing up there, three stories off the ground. I really hate to worry you."

Little, four- foot ten and a half inch Grandma Kime looked high over her head and there was eight-year-old Billy, laying in the old hammock with a stack of comic books across his chest. Huge ropes Grandpa had made from twine that had been bound around stacks of newspapers, anchored the hammock to the roof peak and the tree top.

"Billy Rapp, you get yourself down on the ground this minute. I have pies in the oven," she demanded sternly as she started back toward the back porch. "Thanks Alma," she added as she hurried back into the kitchen to monitor her seven pies, one for each day of the week.

When Helen died, an old family friend in Illinois wanted to take Jack and Beverly and a church family spoke up for Merry. They were fine people, but, as good as they were, that simply wouldn’t do. It didn’t matter that the Kimes were old enough to be the children’s great-grandparents. The only thing that mattered was that they loved them and they were willing to provide a home and a presence of family for them.

Today, families are also up a tree. They have forgotten to put people before play, love before self, togetherness before things, and family before emptiness. First Timothy tells us, those who put self before family is worse than unbelievers. Let these days before Easter be a time to put your house in order.

Don’t leave your children up a tree. Let them know you are there for them, regardless of separation due to war, heavy work load, divorce, and other signs of the times. Love your children into a lifelong, deeply rooted feeling of belonging. Let us pray:

"Father God, you are the head of the family, the very core of life. Family is at the center of your heart. We worship you and hold your name as Holy and unspeakable, except in healing, loving tones. Please include me in your family just as one of your children who needs a home. Safe with you, I will be better able to do your will. I ask you, oh Father, to heal all the families of the earth. Our children are losing a place at the family table and many children are growing up in hunger, hungry for love and hungry to belong. I ask for your peace to fill all families and return them to your loving arms. Forgive me when I have not provided encouragement to help mend a broken heart or a torn family. I lift up these families to you, in the name of Jesus, your son. Amen."

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."
Copyright 2012 Doris Gaines Rapp

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