I Can Only Imagine

By Reba Phelps

My friend, Sandra Williams, has a story of generational blessings and no one can tell it better than her. She lived it and so did her daughter and granddaughter.

I don’t really know how to start it off so I will just tell the story.

In 1979 I was divorced. I found myself as a single mom of a three year old. I was working as an Office Administrator at Kisatchie Legal Services. The job did not pay much so I had to take a second job working at Fred’s. I also worked on my lunch break and weekend nights at my dad’s restaurant, Blake’s Drive Inn, to support myself and my daughter. In 1980 I was offered a better paying job at the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, but because the courts were not kind to me only awarding me $100 a month in child support, I continued to work weekends at my dad’s and holidays at the store. It was a struggle but I was blessed to have a very supportive family who helped out as much as they could.

My daughter loved to play softball. She started playing at the age of six with Dixie Youth. Little did I know that being on the softball field every Tuesday and Thursday would prepare her for a promising future. She continued to play third base all through high school. She was known as the home run hitter. She made 1 st team All District every year and was even the Cenla Player of the Year her senior year. I began to worry how I would pay for college (of course she did not want to go, she wanted to go to technical college for cosmetology).

I said,“No we will find a way, you’re going to college, you can go to cosmetology school later, but get your degree first.”

My worries were coming to an end as I suddenly had the opportunity to temporarily lease my house to some friends who moved from New Orleans. Needless to say I was in debt over my head and charging whatever I needed to just get by. I thought this would give me a chance to send my daughter to school and catch up some of the overdue bills. I asked my mom if we could move in with her for a while. My mom agreed.  I moved in and leased my house. Even though I was embarrassed having to do this, I realized it was the only way to save my house, so I did it. My mom made me feel welcome and I still have no regrets.

My daughter’s efforts and God’s mercy paid off in a big way. We were contacted by a few coaches who wanted her to play softball. When she received a full scholarship offer to Northwestern State University our prayers had been answered. She also was an excellent student who received an academic award and Tops. I did not have to pay anything for her to attend college. She received her degree without any loans to pay back. Now, that is what I called blessed beyond measure.

My friends from New Orleans stayed a little longer than planned. At the time I did not think of it as a blessing to have to move back in the house with my mom, but it really was a huge blessing in disguise. I was able to help her pay down her bills and I was blessed enough to have saved enough money to move back into my own house. I was even able to have some much needed renovations, buy new furniture and appliances (since all of mine were stolen from my storage house). Life was not easy but as a single mom I was determined to do whatever I needed to do to ensure my daughter’s future. God took care of us.

Another blessing was my granddaughter. My daughter got pregnant her senior year in college. Because she was a softball player the baby stayed with me. When my daughter finished college she moved away, then came back for a while and moved to Texas. The plan was for me to keep the baby until she got on her feet, but because we did not have family to help out with the baby it was just better for her to stay with me a while so she wouldn’t have to spend most of her life in daycare. Well, the years went by really fast and the next thing we knew she was going to elementary school, then junior high and high school. She followed in her mom’s footsteps and started playing softball at the age
of 5. Can I say history repeated itself in a good way? She was blessed to earn an athletic and academic scholarship to Southern University to play softball. She graduated in 2019 with no student loans to payback. She is now attending graduate school at Southern University.

So life is good. Yes, I had to make a lot of sacrifices for my family, but I have no regrets and would do it all over again if I had to.

Because of my blessing I try to be a blessing to others in whatever way I can. “I lift my eyes unto the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2

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13 thoughts on “I Can Only Imagine

  1. I can only say, I wish I knew Sandra, she proves that with God all things are possible! May God continue to bless you, your daughter, granddaughter, and all future generations! We need more people like you today! Sandra, thanks for letting Reba share your beautiful story! Hopefully one day I will meet you in person!

  2. Sandra, I always knew that you are a good person. Inspiring story may God continue to bless you and your family.

  3. I grew in the same neighborhood as Ms. Sandra. I also played softball with her daughter for years. It was always a blessing to experience her kindness and see an African American face at the Sheriff’s Office. Ms. Sandra always served as a true inspiration to me growing up. Congratulations on getting your story out there!

  4. Great article! Sandra I recall working with you at the store mentioned during that time. From there you became an encouraging friend. As I remember, almost 40 years ago your little girl was the beautiful flower girl in my wedding. I have known you for years, and you’re still the same as you were back then; a hard worker, intelligent, kind and good hearted, willing to help, and dependable.

    Simply, you are blessed because you are a
    blessing to others. Thank God for people like you Sandra!

  5. This is truly a testament to your character and the person we know u to be. I spent majority of youth and teenage years in your presence. And into my adult hood. That smile and always willing to help and assist friends and family when needed, was what I and so many saw. Never did u let the troubles out shine the light u projected. Much respect and admiration

  6. That a wonderful testament to how with trusting God everything will work out . Glory to All Mighty God. Glad you shared your Story.. You never know what a person has been through.

  7. Thank you Natchitoches Parish Journal for asking her to share her story. Our family thank God for putting such a great example of strength, resilience and determination in our lives. She didn’t have it easy but she never complained or quit. Her daughter and granddaughter were and still are her number one priority. She gives of herself unselfishly to our parents and everyone else in the family in need.She is so deserving of the best that life has to offer.
    Congratulations to my Best Friend and my Sister,
    We love you,

  8. Beautiful story. Yes you are truly blessed. God can do anything and everything, He does not fail.

  9. This is such an inspirational story. Thank you for sharing it. Nothing is impossible with God!

  10. GOD IS FAITHFUL! Single parent or single grandparent does not mean less…. I was ask so many times, “How do you do
    It…” I put on My Face everyday (like my Southern mom would say) and put one foot in front of the other (like God told me to do)! It meant Parenting with God and that totally became a BLESSING!

    • Beautiful and she is Beautiful inside and out ,I never was a single parent but I praise all of the Single Parents because they are Mother and Father , may God continue to bless you Sandra Williams

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