Twelve years ago my husband and my newborn baby went on vacation with family in California. We were privileged enough to be able to stay with them at a beautiful lake side cabin somewhere in the Sierra’s, and the first thing all my nieces and nephew wanted to do was to go swimming with their uncle, my husband.
During that swim, my husband’s wedding ring fell off due to the cold water shrinking his fingers. (I guess it’s common.)
When he came in to tell me, I was determined not to cry. But it was hard. It wasn’t an expensive ring by any means, but it was hand crafted by a friend of ours with a design I helped create. It was one of a kind and irreplaceable.
My in-laws, who are devout Christians all gathered together with me and my husband and we prayed God would help us find that ring.
Then, in spite of our protests, the in-laws spent the next six hours combing through the sand looking for the ring to no avail.
I allowed my self one crying session and then determined to be grateful instead for a wonderful husband, my beautiful new baby and really awesome in-laws.
We moved on and resigned to the fact that we would have to put a little money aside and buy a new ring. But every time I looked at my own ring which bore some of the same design of my husbands, there was an ache and a silent prayer for a miracle.
After our vacation, my mother-in-law took it upon herself to go back to the lake and put a little flyer up on a bulletin board in the community center asking if anyone found the ring, to give her a call.
A year later, almost to the day she got a call. Apparently the lake was man-made and had to be drained for maintenance that year and a couple walking along the beach stumbled across a green, slimy corroded thing in the shape of a ring. After rubbing it a few times, they saw the gold and remembered the flyer in the community center and called my mother in law. She described the design on my husbands ring and it was a match.
Soon she met up with the couple to get the ring and to give them a monetary reward, but they refused and handed her the ring they had taken to a jeweler to get professionally cleaned at their own expense.
It was a miracle.
And a story our family tells often to remind us of our faithful Father in Heaven, the power of prayer, the goodness of family and the kindness of strangers.
And it was a story I told my daughter again just last week.
She had lost her latest tooth she had worked so hard during school to wiggle out and was crying in her bedroom. I told her the tooth fairy would understand and besides she had a bazillion other teeth that were going to be falling out within the next year. But she crossed her arms and said, “I don’t care about the tooth fairy, I wanted to save my teeth and make a necklace out of them!”
“Where was the last place you saw it?”
“In the bathroom.”
“Did you look all over the bathroom – even the floor?”
“Okay, well, we’ll have to look tomorrow because it’s your bedtime now.” (It was way past her bedtime at this point)
She started crying again. My daughter is very sentimental and hates losing things and her cries were beginning to be unconsolable.
“You want to hear a story?” I asked.
She shook her head ‘no’ but I pressed in and told her about her Daddy’s ring. Soon she stopped crying and hope filled her eyes. “You want to pray and ask God to help you find your tooth?”
“The thing is, when you ask him, you have to give him the tooth first before asking Him to find it.”
“I don’t get it,” she said.
I tried to explain, “What I mean is, you have to be willing to give him all the ‘want’ feelings and sadness about losing the tooth first before you ask Him for it back. Do you understand?”
She nodded again. I tucked her in, shut off the light and left. In the back of my head a thought came.
What if she never finds her tooth? You might destroy her faith.
I told the voice to go away and said my own prayer.
An hour later she came running into the living room with a big grin on her face and holding her tooth. “I found it!”
“Yay! Where was it?” I asked.
“I had to go to the bathroom and it was on the counter. I just couldn’t see it because it was white.”
I laughed then asked her, “Did you pray?”
She nodded, smiling. We hugged and told her to go back to bed. (It was really, really late now!) I silently prayed, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Two days after that, I got a text from my husband. “I lost my wedding ring. I just noticed it wasn’t on my finger. Did you see it in the bathroom?”
Seriously? He never, ever takes that ring off, mostly because we remember losing it the first time! I was at work and texted him back telling him I’d look for it when I got home.
I felt that familiar ache again but this time it was different. I didn’t ache for the ring, I ached for the story of the ring. A story I had just told my daughter not two days before!
In the back of my head, I heard,
Is God really going to help you find your ring a second time? You’ll never be able to tell that story again.
That voice was really starting to piss me off.
I remembered what I told my daughter about having to give God all the ‘want’ feelings and sadness about her tooth before asking for it back.
I prayed and told God how I felt about the ring being lost again. That I wasn’t sad for the ring but for the story of his faithfulness behind the ring. As best as I could, I handed all that over to God, asked for his help and went back to work.
I came home from work and looked everywhere I could imagine the ring to be. I gave up the task for the evening and decided to look again the next day because, to be honest our house was a disaster area! and I hoped to find it in the cleaning process.
Then I got sick and didn’t quite get back into cleaning the house as deeply as I wanted. Two days later, after looking everywhere with no luck, I was sweeping the kitchen and in a corner of the floor next to the recycle can covered in dust bunnies was the ring.
I laughed and thanked God. I laughed partly because it was right under our nose the whole time (and if I had just swept the darn kitchen would have found it the first day!) and thankful because somehow it hadn’t fallen in the recycle can which I had just dumped the day before. I can’t imagine how it got there without Brian noticing it falling off.
But mostly, I was just thankful for getting the story back.
Apparently, God loves a good sequel.