Virginia J. Flo
First Mercy Then Grace
Care for the children they are God's gift!

It was now evening and all of the afternoon chores were done. Samuel did complete his work in tilling the new ten acres that hadn't been tilled for sometime. Ruth cleaned her ten chickens and they were now safely in the refrigerator. With the exception of the one she kept for tomorrow's chicken soup they were all wrapped carefully ready to deliver to customers on their next egg route.

Supper was over, the table was cleared and Ruth removed the tablecloth so Samuel could do his bookwork. This was a ritual that took place once a week. It was important to stay on top of their finances. Money was tight and making certain their cash flow was staying in the black was very important.

As Samuel worked his way through the bills and looked at his milk check and the money from their egg route, he said to Ruth, "All we need is just a little more each month and we could make it without such a struggle."

At that comment Ruth perked up and came over to the table and sat down next to Samuel. She began to talk getting more excited as she went.

"I have been talking with some of the ladies at church, Samuel. They said that there are people from farms in our area that are taking in foster children from St. Paul. There seems to be a feeling that getting some of these children from troubled homes into the country could help them. They need to get away from the big city to a more simple life, which is what we have. Samuel, if we were to take a child or two we would get paid for it, which could help us financially. We have such a large house with so many bedrooms that remain empty most of the time."

"Wait, wait a minute Ruth", Samuel replied, "We haven't spoke of this before, when did you hear this? Who is telling you this?"

"I was speaking to Pastor Hadley and his wife. They thought it would be good for us to have another child in our house. Maybe it could even be a boy. She was starting to talk faster trying to get every word in before she knew she could get cut off. Samuel wasn't saying no so she was encouraged. She was trying to give him some selling points that might interest him.

Samuel sat in his chair for a while speechless. Where was this coming from, he thought? Was this Ruth's way of dealing with losing the children she did? Perhaps it was. He also felt a loss and emptiness in not having all the children they wanted. Would this work for them? Not the money, but filling their void. Maybe it could.


All Ruth could think about all evening was how it would be to have more children in their house.  As she put the girls to bed the same thoughts were still in her mind as she had so much love to give these children she couldn't even explain it.  As she tucked them in Martha said, "Mommy, why are you so quiet?  Are you sick?"  "Oh no", Ruth answered back, "I am not sick.  I am just thinking about how wonderful you both are and how great it would be to have more children in this big house."

Now Martha too was quiet pondering all that she just heard.  Most of this was way too complicated for Rachel who was just waiting to say her bedtime prayer.  "Let's say our prayers now, OK?" Ruth suggested.  And, so the two girls began to pray, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. And this I ask for Jesus sake."  Each and every time Ruth heard these two little ones pray that prayer, she felt the comfort in knowing that the Lord had taken care of her little ones who didn't make it into this world.  What a fitting reminder to have this special prayer recited each and every evening by her two young daughters.

As Ruth watched her two daughters fall to a sleep, she wondered if the gift of having foster children was God's new act of grace.  Her faith was strong and both she and Samuel were willing to take in these unknown children. She was certain they were in need of the love and kindness both she and Samuel were capable of giving.  Although their lives together were full of struggles, she knew when they put their lives into God's hands the outcome was first mercy then grace.