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,” Becca 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 X-box. 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 overheard words through the office door 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. Except for the sporadic conflict, Becca would not notice the passing of time. She felt her calendar was marked with anger spurts: June 14th–broken wedding plate; broken marriage. June 29th–fled to the neighbors; cops called. August 1st–covered kids; received the blows so they could escape. Becca knew this was no way to live life, but she did not know how to fix it.
A warm breeze wafted through the window, beckoning Becca to rise, breaking the memory chain of hurt and guilt. She glanced at the church barely visible on the street corner. 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, 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 glanced at her Bible. The neighbor who had taken her and the children in at Lonnie’s last squabble had given this to her as a 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 had 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).
“I do want to follow You, God. At least I think I do. But is attending church to find out more about You the answer? And will this decision help my family?” Becca whispered. “I just don’t know….”
Becca read a passage from 1 Timothy. “Treat … the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters” (1 Timothy 5:1a-2a KJV). Becca longed for a godly mother figure who could give her advice who knew this Jesus she was reading about.
Treat … the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters.
1 Timothy 5:1a-2a KJV
The thought of attending the white brick church stayed with Becca. She opened her smart phone and checked the time. 8:25 am loomed at her in back-lit font. Could she? Did she have time? She peeked out the window and saw congregants going into the church. “God, make the way,” she whispered.
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 God really is. And perhaps I’ll learn how to parent you munchkins, meet new friends, or learn how to help Daddy. Maybe I’ll even 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 was to take this this morning. If he hadn’t done that, I’d not have been thinking about going to church. From now on, this stays with me on Sundays.” Becca opened her purse and dropped the remote into it. “Even if you stay here, the remote stays here. In. My. Purse. So, if you going with Momma, get dressed. Otherwise, watch nothin’, and be bored.”
The children stared out the kitchen window in disbelief. They weren’t used to their mom having determination. Ryan poked Meredith. She shrugged.
“Well, what are you 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, let’s get going.”
The children scrambled to their rooms. She was surprised she hadn’t gotten push-back.
Becca knocked on the office door.
“You can’t have the remote!” Lonnie hollered through the door.
“Hon, it’s not the kids. It’s me. The kids and I would like to go to church.”
“Go. It’ll get them–and you–out of my way.”
“I’m hoping you’ll go with us next time,” Becca said, wiping 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. Pastor Troy shared Jesus’s selflish act to die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sin of all mankind, and how He raised from the dead, and is coming again. Then he started talking about the day he had come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He shared how he had made the personal decision to follow Christ as his Savior and Lord. Becca 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 up front for prayer. Do you know Jesus like my pastor does?”
Becca shook her head no.
“Do you want to know Him?”
“I think so….”
“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’ (2 Cor. 5:17b). Do you want to feel that newness, Becca?”
“I feel joy,” Becca said. Through the tears, she laughed, and the unusual 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. She knew God was equipping her. She reached into her purse and pulled out her Bible.
“Becca,” Marisqua said, “What’s that remote doing in there?”
“Long story…” Becca fished for a pen.
“I’m signing my name on something I’d wanted to do for a long time.”
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.
Marquisa touched Becca’s arm just below an old bruise. “Them colors tell a story. Want to tell me more?”
“Should I stay with him? I love him but…”
“Do you feel safe?”
“Let me help you and the youngins find a safe place. Jest for now. Till we get him some help.”
Becca felt a confidence rise within her. “I have a friend who’s let me and the kids stay with her before….”
“Sometimes,” Marquisa said, “that’s the best thing to do. And who knows, once you an the mister go to counselin’ perhaps you’ll have a family like–what’s the name of that TV show?”
“Leave it to Beaver.”
“Yes, the name was on the tip of my tongue. Come on, sugar child. We’ll call yer friend, and some days you and I will get together too. I’ll be like a momma to you an’ the babies. Would you like that?”
Becca nodded. She knew God was answering her prayer.
The children entered, skipping arm-in-arm with their new friends. Becca knew her family still faced challenges. But she was ready. Would she have a “Leave it to Beaver” family? Maybe. Or perhaps not. She did not know. What she knew for certain was that the peace and joy of inviting Jesus into her heart had equipped her to face any challenges. She knew she was starting anew. With Jesus in her heart, she had a peace that transcended circumstances.
“Leave it to Beaver” Family is a fictional story.
Copyright © 2019: Leave it to Beaver Family: Author Diane Virginia Cunio; Pen Name Diane Virginia: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Founder/Administrator
Diane Virginia (Cunio) is an award-winning writer, and the Founder/ Administrator/Lead Editor of VineWords: Devotions and More.
Diane is Co-Editor, Co-compiler, and a contributing author to Love-Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships.
She is the author of The Kiss of Peace: A Contemporary Exploration into Song of Solomon (awaiting publication). The sequel, Behind the Veil: Becoming the Ascended Bride of Song of Solomon, is in the works.
Diane has developed the model for motion-activated musical prayer centers for use in the garden retreat, themed to the places the Bride travels to in Song of Solomon. She envisions the church grounds as a refuge for seekers and believers, where they will grow in measurable steps, deepening their relationships with Jesus Christ, while tarrying in these musical prayer garden.
Soon to be available is The Cowdoggie Adventure Series, for elementary-aged children. Several other stand-alone children’s books children are also in the works.
Diane is published at Answers2Prayer, Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian Devotions Ministries, Faith Beyond Fear, Pentecostal Publishing House, PresbyCan Daily Devotional, The Secret Place, VineWords, and other ministries and blogs.
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