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The Day I First Believed

I was eight years old, over four decades ago and I remember this event as though it was yesterday. It was a beautiful but cold and blistering winter day in the city of Detroit. Snow was falling moderately, but the wind was ferocious. My siblings and I were engage in some play activity when I was suddenly summoned by my mother and told to go to the store to purchase a loaf of bread and a few other items. Begrudgingly, I took the five dollar bill, dressed in my insulated snow suit and left for the store which was about six blocks away.

On the way, something terrible occurred; the five dollar bill blew out of my hand. I ran to try and catch it but the blowing snow blinded me and I lost track of it. I was panic stricken. After all, money did not come easy in our family. My father was deceased and my mother was keeping us together as best she could by herself. Even at the tender age of eight, I understood what losing five dollars meant and it hurt me to have to tell my mother that I had let the money escape from me.

But the biggest hurt came when I did tell her. She did not believe I was telling her the truth. I was devastated. I did not understand why she thought I was lying. I was deeply wounded and it became important for me to try and prove my innocence because my mother's trust meant everything to me. The problem was, I did not know how.

That night, as always, I got on my knees to say my prayers. This prayer was different. Usually, it was the typical "now I lay me down to sleep?" and asking God to bless every relative and friend I could think of. But on this night, I cried as I asked God to make my mother believe me. I told God that the preacher said He knew everything and could do anything and since He knew I was telling the truth, He just had to somehow make my mother know it too.

Miracle on Maplewood St.

The next day, the Detroit News carried headlines and an article about the plight of a paperboy who had customers' money blow away from him after he had made collections in the blowing and drifting snow. After reading this, my mother came to me and apologized for not believing me. She stated that if it could happen to the paperboy it could happen to me. My joy knew no bounds. My mother believed me! God had worked a miracle. He really did know everything and could do anything.

It was at this moment that my faith journey began. No longer was it what the preacher said, it was what Saundra knew.

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available in July.

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Blessings to all!

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