Becca longed for the simple life. She wished she could transport herself onto the set of “Leave it to Beaver.” But she knew this was just make-believe. Families weren’t that loving, marriages weren’t that kind, and children didn’t obey their parents….
Or, was that the illusion? Could Becca’s family be healed?
“God,” Becky prayed, “Can my family experience Your peace?” She poured coffee and opened her Bible. The sun’s first rays glimmered through the kitchen window. “Can I…?”
Becca’s son Ryan bounded down the stairs. Her daughter Meredith was in the adjoining living room playing a game on the Xbox. As expected, the two began tussling over control of the remote.
Becca’s husband Lonnie appeared, whisked the remote from the children and flung it onto the kitchen table.
“Control those kids! It may be Sunday, but I’m working.”
Lonnie marched into the office and slammed the door. Becca heard words she hoped her children wouldn’t notice or repeat.
Sunday… It was Sunday. How had she forgotten? When the children were out for summer break, days seemed to blend together.
A warm breeze wafted through the window, beckoning Becca to rise. Its white bricks glistened red in the sun’s soft rays. Rather than valuing this church being in her neighborhood, she had been irritated with the traffic every Sunday, and every Wednesday, and on other days too. And the children’s squeals had felt to her like a siren was wafting into her living room.
Becca opened her Bible. A friend had given this to her as a birthday gift. It contained the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. On the last page, “The Plan of Salvation” was spelled out with A-B-C topics. Those three steps were followed by a section entitled, “The Salvation Prayer.” Becca had read and re-read that page, and she’d thought about putting her name on the line provided, but she had hesitated. She wanted to be sure she agreed.
“God, I know You exist, Becca said, and Jesus seems like a nice guy but I need to know more.” Church bells started to chime. It was the Sunday call to worship….
Becca turned to the Gospel of John where her friend had suggested she read first. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27 KJV),” Becca read.
“I do want to follow You, God. I do want to follow You, Jesus—at least I think I do. But is attending this church the answer? And will this decision help my family?” Becca whispered. “I just don’t know….”
Becca read a passage from I Timothy. “Treat … the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters (I Timothy 5:1a-2a KJV).” Becca longed for a godly mother figure who could give her advice; Someone who had mothered before. Someone who knew this Jesus she was reading about.
The thought of attending the white brick church stayed with Becca. She opened her smart phone and checked the time. 8:25am loomed at her in backlit font. Could she? Did she have time? She peeked out the window and saw congregants going into the church.
Just then Meredith and Ryan bounded into the kitchen.
“Mom,” Meredith said, “Ryan had this idea… We want to, um….”
“It was a joke!” Ryan said. “I’m not going to…”
“Do what?” Becca scoffed.
“He says we should pester those church kids. “I’m going with you,” Becca said.
“Moooom! You can’t be serious!” Meredith said.
“I am serious. But we’re not going to pester the kids.”
“Whew! Then why are you going?” Meredith asked.
“We are going to learn who Jesus really is. And perhaps I’ll learn how to parent you munchkins or how to love Daddy better. Maybe I’ll find a grammy to lead me. And maybe you’ll make some new friends and learn about Jesus too.”
Ryan squiggled his freckled nose and reached for the remote. Becca snatched it away.
“Best decision Dad ever made is to take this. From now on, the remote stays with me on Sundays.” Becca opened her purse and dropped the remote into it. “Even if you stay here, the remote stays. In. My. Purse. So, if you going, get dressed.”
The children stared out the kitchen window.
“Well, what are you two waiting for? Get your duds on. Shoes, socks. Brush your hair. Teeth too. I’m going to freshen up and I’ll meet you in the living room in ten minutes.”
“But…” Meredith said.
“Do you have anything better to do?”
“Well then, get going.”
The children scrambled to their rooms. She was surprised she hadn’t gotten pushback.
Becca knocked on the office door.
“You can’t have the remote!” Lonnie hollered through the door.
“Hon, it’s me. I’d like to take the kids to church.”
“Go. It’ll get them out of my way.”
“I’m hoping you’ll go with us next time…” She gently closed the door and wiped her brow. Again, no push-back.
Was God answering her prayer?
The three stepped inside the church. They were greeted by a large-framed elderly woman.
“Hello, I’m Marisqua. But you can call me ‘Mamma.’ Everybody does. Well hey there, youngun’s. Kid’s Church starts soon. But first, skedaddle on out to the play yard. I’ll take good care of your momma.”
Marisqua turned to Becca as her children bolted for the play yard.
“Come on, sugar, I will take good care of you. And I think you’re gonna like our pastor. His name is Pastor Troy….”
Becca listened to Pastor’s sermon. She was amazed the topic was on families. A peace settled in her heart she had never felt before. Soon, Pastor was talking about Jesus like He was his best friend. She felt an unusual draw when he asked if anyone wanted to start anew with Jesus to come to the altar. Becca felt torn; her backside felt glued to the seat, but her heart fluttered towards the altar. Tears formed on her eyelashes. A single tear escaped; tracing her cheek, trickling in slow motion…
Becca felt a tap on her shoulder. It was Marisqua.
“Sugar girl, that tear’s telling a story of the pain hidden inside your heart. I’ll walk with you if you want to go forward. Do you know Jesus like my pastor does?”
Becca shook her head no.
“Do you want to know Him?”
“Come on, girlfriend.” Marisqua touched the small of Becca’s back.
Becca rose, and buried her head in Marisqua’s padded frame. She sobbed all the way to the altar. Becca knelt, with Pastor Troy and Marisqua.
Pastor told her the choice she was making to allow Jesus to be the Lord of her life was the most important decision she had ever made. He opened his Bible and read to Becca, “If any man—or woman, I might add—be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Cor. 5:17b). Do you feel that newness, Becca?”
“I feel joy,” Becca said. Through the tears, she laughed, and joy continued to rise within her.
“Sugar child,” Marisqua said, “we have a New Believer’s class on Wednesdays. There’ll be someone to watch your youngin’s if you want to….”
“I’ll come,” Becca said.
Becca knew her family still had challenges to overcome, but she knew she was equipped. She reached into her purse and pulled out her Bible.
“Becca,” Marisqua said, “What’s a remote doing in there?”
“Long story…” Becca fished for a pen.
“I’m signing my name on something…”
Marisqua looked at The Salvation Prayer page Becca had turned to. “Ooooh! Here’s a pen for you!”
As Becca signed, another tear traced her cheek. But this one spoke a story of hope. She knew her family still faced challenges. But she was ready. Would she have a “Leave it to Beaver” family? Perhaps. Or perhaps not… She didn’t know. What she was certain of was the peace and joy of inviting Jesus into her heart had equipped her to face any challenges. She was ready, and she knew she could start anew.
Leave it to Beaver Family is a fictional story. Copyright © 2019: All rights reserved: VineWords: Leave it to Beaver Family: Author Diane Virginia Cunio; Pen Name, Diane Virginia: www.vinewords.net