Hope and Faith and Parenting

By Reba Phelps

It started as a normal and peaceful day at work. Everything just fell into place. I was looking forward to an uneventful afternoon as well. No one had practice after school. Supper was already prepared and waiting in the crock pot. I heard rumors that no one had homework. It was a Thursday so that meant Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal would be part of my routine. This particular evening promised to bring even more peace when I arrived at home.

Once I entered the house everything appeared just as it should have. The aroma of supper filled the air. Even the dog was calm and taking a nap. That peacefulness lasted all of two minutes and came to an abrupt stop when my youngest came running in the kitchen anxiously proclaiming that the oldest was in her room crying her eyes out for no particular reason.

It was still early in the evening so whatever was causing the tears should surely subside before my favorite Thursday shows came on.

When I entered her bedroom she was sitting in the middle of her bed holding her Bible. She is a fair skinned person so when she cries it always looks ten times worse because of the contrast of white skin and red eyes. I approached her while trying to rationalize what the emergency could be. With them most sympathetic voice I could muster I asked, “Why are crying and please don’t make me miss Grey’s Anatomy.”

Between breathless sobs she told me that she had been reading the book of Revelations in the Bible and it appears that she, nor her family, is going to Heaven.

I stared at her blankly for what felt like hours and slowly began backing out of her bedroom as if I didn’t hear what she said. Maybe this was a bad dream. I didn’t make it to the door before she noticed me trying to disappear.

She said, “Are you listening to me? We are not going to Heaven. They’re only letting in 144,000 people and this is world-wide!”

My first plan of action was to remind her that she has not only one but two grandfathers who are both preachers and this is one of the perks of being a preacher’s kid and preacher’s daughter-in-law. Please refer to one of them for the tough spiritual questions and let me know what they say. She quickly advised she’d already called both of them and there was no answer.

The ball was back in my court.

I am quite sure that I was sweating profusely as I tried to explain without a shadow of a doubt we were all going to heaven when that time comes. But, homegirl had me doubting myself. I have always deemed my oldest child as the most spiritual person in our home at the time and if she was this concerned there had to be merit to this fear.

Reluctantly I took her Bible and tried to explain that possibly she misunderstood what she read. I joked with her about being blonde. I tried all of the parenting tricks to try and calm the situation. It seemed as if my youngest one was eagerly awaiting her fate as well. I frantically tried calling both preachers again. Where could they be on a Thursday night? Don’t they know it Grey’s Anatomy night?

With no hope in sight I had to wing this one using my own faith.

I started by having her show me what she read. I then read it aloud. I read it super slowly just in case a preacher grandfather decided to return a call and take over the volatile situation. My daughters are very smart and quickly caught on that I was stalling and really didn’t have answers that were verifiable.

It was at this moment, precisely 7:04pm Central Standard Time, that I prayed a silent internal prayer for wisdom to help both of my daughters make peace with what we were reading. We read and reread the passage many times and came to the conclusion that the 144,000 were the 12 tribes that each contained 12,000 people but no where could we verify that they were the only folks invited through the pearly gates.

As parents all we can do is hope we are making the right decisions. As parents we have to have faith that everything we sacrifice and strive for will pay off in the end. As parents we have to pray for them daily and teach them the right path. Even, if it means missing Grey’s Anatomy to spend time as a family exploring our faith and hoping for the eternal reward.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him”

Hebrews 11:6