I Can Only Imagine

By Reba Phelps

My friend, Sandra Williams, has a story of generational blessings and no one can tell it better
than her. She lived it and so did her daughter and granddaughter.

I don’t really know how to start it off so I will just tell the story.

In 1979 I was divorced. I found myself as a single mom of a three year old. I was working as an Office Administrator at Kisatchie Legal Services. The job did not pay much so I had to take a second job working at Fred’s. I also worked on my lunch break and weekend nights at my dad’s restaurant, Blake’s Drive Inn, to support myself and my daughter. In 1980 I was offered a better paying job at the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, but because the courts were not kind to me only awarding me $100 a month in child support, I continued to work weekends at my dad’s and holidays at the store. It was a struggle but I was blessed to have a very supportive family who helped out as much as they could.

My daughter loved to play softball. She started playing at the age of six with Dixie Youth. Little did I know that being on the softball field every Tuesday and Thursday would prepare her for a promising future. She continued to play third base all through high school. She was known as the home run hitter. She made 1 st team All District every year
and was even the Cenla Player of the Year her senior year. I began to worry how I would pay for college (of course she did not want to go, she wanted to go to technical college for cosmetology).

I said,“No we will find a way, you’re going to college, you can go to cosmetology school
later, but get your degree first.”

My worries were coming to an end as I suddenly had the opportunity to temporarily lease my house to some friends who moved from New Orleans. Needless to say I was in debt over my head and charging whatever I needed to just get by. I thought this would give me a chance to send my daughter to school and catch up some of the overdue bills. I asked my mom if we could move in with her for a while. My mom agreed.  I moved in and leased my house. Even though I was embarrassed having to do this, I realized it was the only way to save my house, so I did it. My mom made me feel welcome and I still have no regrets.

My daughter’s efforts and God’s mercy paid off in a big way. We were contacted by a few coaches who wanted her to play softball. When she received a full scholarship offer to Northwestern State University our prayers had been answered. She also was an excellent student who received an academic award and Tops. I did not have to pay anything for her to attend college. She received her degree without any loans to pay back. Now, that is what I called blessed beyond measure.

My friends from New Orleans stayed a little longer than planned. At the time I did not think of it as a blessing to have to move back in the house with my mom, but it really was a huge blessing in disguise. I was able to help her pay down her bills and I was blessed enough to have saved enough money to move back into my own house. I was even able to have some much needed renovations, buy new furniture and appliances (since all of mine were stolen from my storage house). Life was not easy but as a single mom I was determined to do whatever I needed to do to ensure my daughter’s future. God took care of us.

Another blessing was my granddaughter. My daughter got pregnant her senior year in college. Because she was a softball player the baby stayed with me. When my daughter finished college she moved away, then came back for a while and moved to Texas. The plan was for me to keep the baby until she got on her feet, but because we did not have family to help out with the baby it was just better for her to stay with me a while so she wouldn’t have to spend most of her life in daycare. Well, the years went by really fast and the next thing we knew she was going to elementary school, then junior high and high school. She followed in her mom’s footsteps and started playing softball at the age
of 5. Can I say history repeated itself in a good way? She was blessed to earn an athletic and academic scholarship to Southern University to play softball. She graduated in 2019 with no student loans to payback. She is now attending graduate school at Southern University.

So life is good. Yes, I had to make a lot of sacrifices for my family, but I have no regrets and would do it all over again if I had to.

Because of my blessing I try to be a blessing to others in whatever way I can. “I lift my eyes unto the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2

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