The letter was from my youngest sister, Betty Ann.
My growing up years were spent avoiding Betty Ann because she made a point to hurt family members whenever possible. She tore the head off my beautiful Valentines paper doll when I was in the first grade. She broke my Vacation Bible School sombrero ashtray that was to be a Father’s Day gift. She kicked me in the head from the back seat when I was learning to drive. My mother gave into Betty Ann’s every demand, rather than dealing with what seemed to be a demon that lived within her. She promised to return my sister’s car, but traded it in for a car that became her own. I made her write a receipt to my mother the third time she demanded payment for her husband’s repair of a cattle trailer. If she was not given what she wanted, she simply took it; after all, there were no consequences to her actions.
This was the sister whose letter I was reading one spring day in 1956, while my husband was completing his military requirement as an airman at Kelly Air Force Base. It was a letter of love, explaining that she had accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, and how she wanted this for me, as well. This was an amazing letter that was so very different from thirty years of our sibling relationship that I immediately knew I had to have some of what she had received.
We left San Antonio for Waco on a Friday afternoon. My middle sister, Patsy, and I drove to the home of the minister of Waco Bible Chapel. A Fort Worth seminary student was visiting that night. I explained that I was the one who stood on the stage of Highland Baptist Church when I was twelve years old and told the congregation what I had learned in Vacation Bible School and promptly recited the books of both the New and Old Testaments. I explained that I was baptized a short time later.
As the minister, his wife (also a minister), and the seminary student took turns telling me about the love and sacrifices of Jesus Christ, I knew something was lacking in my life—and not forgetting the significant change in my youngest sister.
As the evening wore on, the seminary student began to tell a story. He said a young boy and his father went hiking in the mountains. During the afternoon outing, the two became separated. It was dark before the father located his frightened and crying son who was on the hill above, outlined by the moon.
The father said, “Son, I can see you. I want you to jump, and I will catch you.”
Through his sobs, the little boy said, “No, Daddy, I can’t see you.”
“Son, I am your father, you must trust me; jump and I will catch you.”
The son repeated, “But Daddy, it’s so dark and I can’t see you.”
The father said, “But, I can see you, Son; jump and I will catch you.”
Believing his father, and trusting him to do what he promised, the little boy leaped into the air and into the loving arms of his father.
It was at that moment that I thought to myself, “If the little boy can take that leap of faith, so can I.” And the angels in Heaven rejoiced that night, as did all those in the home of Judy and John Lane, for I had just become a CHILD OF GOD. I later thanked Him and Betty Ann for the letter that changed my life.
And I immediately felt a strong urge to step outside and to shout from the rooftop for the whole world to hear, “I AM A CHILD OF THE KING.”
Millie Woods is a Christian, soon to be 90 years old. She has four children, five grandsons and a passel of great-grandchildren. She began writing after retirement and has one book published. Her prayers are for the souls of her loved ones, and for every soul on the planet.
This was beautiful. Amen. 💙💜❤️🙏
This was so great. And what a wonderful expression of the difference between just doing “the right things” as a Christian and truly having a relationship with the Lord. Thanks for sharing your story, Millie!