A Little Extra Prodding by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Proverbs 2:2-5: … making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; … if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.                                                                                                                                                                                         

At my granddaughter-in-law’s baby shower, Sonya joined us at our table.  We introduced ourselves and asked how she knew the mother-to-be. She was an open book, energetic and delightful.

As part of our conversation, she mentioned living with her daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids which somehow morphed into an in-depth discussion about her Ecuador mission trips with her husband.

She had no idea when she was going back because her spouse died of COVID last year, and it wouldn’t “be the same without him.”  We sat there, stunned.

I asked questions about her husband’s death and heard details that brought tears to our eyes.  Once he went into the hospital, she never saw him alive again.

Later on, Sonya and I had time alone.  I asked more questions but heard something I never expected.

Her husband worked for the post office but never believed in the tax system, so for 12 years he refused to pay what he owed the government.  He spent what he made, had no life insurance, no I.R.A. or bank account, no hidden surplus of cash.

Sonya had worked in day-care but never made enough to pay the bills. Soon after her husband’s funeral, she learned that she would have to sell her house to avoid foreclosure.

Her daughter and son-in-law bought her home and allowed her to live with them.  She had her car, her clothes and nothing else.

Sonya had been told that if she worked, the government would be the first recipient of what she made.  Was it worth it?  She would end up with very little cash.

I sat, shocked at what I was hearing, praying for the opportunity to tell her that she needed to pay back her debt. Lord, help me, I said silently, but all I said aloud was, “And you weren’t angry?”

“I was livid.  I had nightmares about him.”  Sonya continued by saying that the month before this baby shower, she went to lunch with a Christian friend with whom she shared her anger by saying, “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s debt.  It’s just not fair.”  Taking her hand, the friend replied, “You mean, what Jesus did for you?”

Wow!  It never crossed my mind to express my thoughts the way Sonya’s friend did.  The words pierced Sonya’s soul, and she knew it was a message she needed.  No matter what it took, if it was right for Jesus, it was right for her.

At the end of our conversation, Sonya and I hugged, and I left her with words of encouragement.  I told her to approach the women’s ministry leader at her church and ask to address a women’s group to share her testimonial.  She definitely had the personality, and there were so many life lessons that every woman needed to heed:

1.  Understand your family finances, and never allow your spouse to  convince you to be involved in illegal activity.

2.  Educate yourself so that you are self-sufficient, should the need arise.

3.  Pray for a Christian friend who gives godly counsel.

4.  Love Jesus enough to follow his lead, even when it costs you something.

Sonya was excited about the possibility of using her tragedy to help someone else.  Her transparency allowed for this to happen…even if it did take a little extra prodding to get her there.  My prayer was answered…just not the way I expected.


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