The Hard Way…Usually Makes Us Stronger


I received a letter from my nephew and I was so blessed. Troubled since his youth and not having any father figure or communication with his mother, he was almost destined to fall into the hands of evil.

Now incarcerated my mother and I have been his only source of communication. I’ve prayed for him since he was young and had always felt a deep compassion for him.

He has two young children of his own and now he told me in his letter that his son came to visit him and shared some words that hit him very hard; “I need you to be a father to me.” He shared that prayers really do get answered if you believe and have faith!”

Then he blessed me so much as he said, I am lucky to have an aunt like you. Your cards and letters mean the world to me. You don’t even know how much.”

This was just part of the letter, but the rest was equally powerful as I witnessed the change in him that God had been working through the time he had isolated him from the world and its corrupt inflence and then at this last visit from his 8 year old son. How he was able to see a mirror reflection of himself and the fact that he did not want to allow a life like this for his own flesh and blood and now to see the consequences of his actions.

I thought of how powerful love is. Simple gestures. Cards and letters. His own mother, my sister does not write to him. This has always made me sad and I know one day she will give account for this.

I remembered one day years ago when my ex husband had a man working for him. He was an ex convict. He had been in prison for a number of years for killing a woman while driving drunk. I thought how sad to have spent this many years behind bars and yet this man didn’t seem to show much remorse for his crime. He also seemed to still be in bondage to drugs and alcohol. His justification was that he had found out later that the woman was also drinking and that is why she was in the road when he hit her. I wondered at how hardened a mans heart could be and yet, the prison system tends to make a man worse when he goes in than before he gets there. Only God can bring a man to repentance.

My ex husband called to tell me that he was bringing Munroe home from work that day. “Oh, by the way, it’s his birthday,” he said. “Oh, I’ll go get him a cake,” I said.

I ran out with my three year old daughter and we picked out a birthday cake. I prepared a dinner and waited for them to arrive.

As we sat and talked and this is when he regaled me with the tales of his prison time and why he really didn’t deserve what he got, “because he was the scapegoat for Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers.”” And they were clearly out to get him,” I thought now would be a good time to end the chatter and get the cake out.

I went into the next room with my daughter and she was all excited. We lit the candles and as we started walking into the room singing Happy Birthday to You…Munroe stood up and ran into the bathroom! I was so startled I had no idea what had just happened. I looked at my ex husband and said, what did I do? Of courseĀ  he didn’t know either.

A few minutes later, Munroe emerged, a little embarrassed, eyes all red, and I was surprised. I didn’t think this guy could cry. He said, almost like a little boy…”I’m sorry that I did that. It’s just that, I never had a birthday cake.

“What? You never had a birthday cake? How could that be?”

“He then began telling me that his mother just never celebrated his birthday,because she was too busy with the men in her own life and he was very bitter. Now everything was starting to make sense to me. The hardness of his heart. The reason for his addictions. The little boy that was hurting was bound up inside by a lifetime of wounds and this birthday cake was a sign of love that he never had.

The Lord was reaching out to Him in love through a birthday cake.. He knows what we need and when and He will send someone to speak to us or touch us at that time in our hour of need.

Years later, we went to meet Munroes mother before she died, to mend their relationship. He needed that forgiveness.

Munroe died as well, just a few years ago. A young man, yet years of alcohol abuse took its toll. But he knew the saviour before he left this earth and the forgiveness His cleansing blood could offer. And it was all because he allowed the Lord to remove the hardness and make him a child again, just like he was when he received his birthday cake.