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An Old Gravestone

The little red church had gone through many face-lifts since the 1800s, but it remained the little red church. The congregation was always 35 to 40. If you counted all the old stray cats that hung around over the years, it was a few more than that.

It is now 2020, the era of religion over the big screen and giant cathedrals, yet a few little red churches survived.

A beautiful story about sweet 12-year-old Joyce Ann unfolded this year, in the cemetery behind the little church, graced by the miraculous ways of Jesus Christ.

Joyce Ann was in an awful car wreck that took her father’s life and left an angry scar across her face. She was only 5 at the time. She kept mostly to herself at school, but at home with her mom and her pets her beautiful personality came alive. The kids at school were cruel but Joyce Ann marched to a different beat.

“Next week our services will be held in flannel shirts and blue jeans. Do not forget to bring a bucket and some stiff brushes. We are going to honor our forefathers by cleaning their gravestones” Joyce Ann knew the exact stone she wanted to clean. She saw it one Sunday morning while her mother was busy talking with other ladies in the congregation. The young girl was her same age. The inscription read:

Anna Jo Jenkins

Born Dec. 3, 1820

Died Jun. 7, 1832

Our baby girl lives in the arms of Jesus

December 3 was Joyce Ann’s birthday. Perhaps that was her infatuation with this particular gravestone.

Sunday came. Laughter filled the air as the handles on the buckets squeaked. Then the miracle began to happen. Joyce Ann scrubbed and scrubbed with all her might. “Thank you so much Joyce Ann.” She stopped humming Amazing Grace and looked around to see a bright blue white light that was indescribable. “I’m here. I know kids can be cruel but Jesus has His ways and forgets no one. Remember you are the smartest in your class.” Joyce scrambled to her feet as her heart pounded. “Will I ever see you again?” “When you see this light blink, it will be me winking at you. I do believe He has His plan already in action.”

Nothing happened. School was brutal and the teasing got worse, but it was not unnoticed by the teacher. One night the teacher had the loveliest dream about Joyce Ann. Jeannie Ardmore, Joyce Ann’s classmate, was beautiful beyond compare but dumber than a fence post. Her dad was a plastic surgeon and she was Joyce Ann’s most relentless teaser. She got a free pass on everything, but not in this dream that would solve everything.

The teacher spoke to one of the smartest professors and asked for the toughest math question he could think of. After thinking a bit, he gave her one tough problem to solve. Her class moaned. No one could solve this in the sixth grade. The next day, the only one to solve this brainteaser was Jeannie Ardmore.

As the teacher recalled her vivid dream, she asked Jeannie if she would like to come up to the blackboard and show the solution to the class. Jeannie began to cry. “My Dad did it for me.” The dream had played out to perfection!

The next day, Jeannie and her father were in the private office of the teacher. “Sir, how long have you been doing her homework for her? Stop, I already know the answer.” The brilliant surgeon was at a loss for words.

“I think I have the answer. There is a very smart young lady in the class named Joyce Ann, someone your daughter knows well.” Jeannie dropped her head. “I would do anything if Joyce could help my daughter.”

The teacher wanted to pinch herself. Where could this dream have come from? “I’ll speak with Joyce Ann’s mother. Jeannie, make sure Joyce is in your dad’s limo after school every day.”

The two became fast friends. Joyce was best pals with the most popular kid in school.

Every Sunday, before and after services, Joyce searched the cemetery for the glowing blue light. However, it was nowhere to be found.

Jeannie’s father was home early one day and watched the change in his beautiful daughter. He also took notice of Joyce’s scars. He spoke to Joyce’s mom and got the okay to do surgery. The change in Joyce Ann was remarkable!

Every Sunday after that, the beautiful blue white light greeted Joyce going in and coming out of the church. It was that wink she had been promised from heaven. He sure works in mysterious ways, in His own time.

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