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CONGRATULATIONS TO AMY TOOHILL! Amy was selected by our readers as the newest Writer of the Month for her story "Take Care of Mabel". Send your congratulations to Amy at . Watch for her profile soon on the HeartWriters page!

Amy is our June Writer of the Month! To select our July Writer, cast your vote here:


by Melva Cooper

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3

"Debi needs to cancel your hair appointment in the morning. She has gone to Little Rock with Angela," was the message on my answering machine. It was almost three months early for Debi's first grandchild to arrive, but in my spirit I knew that baby Lilly was about to make her appearance in this world.

Contacting Debi's hairdresser friend who has a shop just around the corner from her, I learned that for the safety of mother and baby a c-section was performed. A perfectly shaped precious baby girl weighing two pounds and ten ounces was now a reality. Lilly was to be her name and she was every bit as beautiful as they had dared to believe she would be.

It was nip and tuck for a few hours as machines were connected to help her breathe and keep her body temperature normal. Mother, daddy, and Grandma Debi spent the next two months juggling schedules and making sure one of them could be at the hospital at all times. Looking around at the condition of some of the babies in the neo-natal nursery they considered themselves fortunate to call tiny Lilly their very own.

A bond develops between those who have similar needs and Debi and Angela became friends with other parents who were experiencing some of the same difficulties that are part of a newborn preemie.

God was good and answered the prayers of many who sought God's favor for this little girl. Lilly began to grow and mature. The doctor's prognosis was that it would probably be near her scheduled arrival date before they could bring her home to Jonesboro. But she surprised us all and was dismissed from the hospital much earlier than expected. With happy faces they gathered her up and hurried home.

It hasn't been easy and some days seem endless when bottles, diapers, and formula are all Angela knows for hours at a time. The boundless love they have for Lilly has helped conquer those days with joy in their hearts.

Today I saw Lilly for the first time. She is three months old and weighs almost ten pounds. That is a startling contrast to the two pounds and ten ounces when she was born. Lilly was dressed in a darling sunsuit with booties to match. Her little face was perfectly shaped and I watched a tiny grin escape when she recognized her grandmother's voice. Sleepy eyes let us know the new formula they had started giving the night before was taking care of the colic and allowing Lilly to rest.

I am a mother of two girls, and grandmother to three granddaughters and a grandson. That maternal love came forth when Angela ever so gently laid Lilly in my arms. I looked into her eyes and thought about how God had made all the delicate, inner parts of Lilly's body and knit them together in her mother's womb. He had watched while Lilly was being formed in utter seclusion and woven together in the dark of that same womb.

And then when we as earthly humans thought was way too early, God gave Lilly as a gift to Angela and Carl. She became God's reward to them. So all the days of her life, no matter where they go or what they do, they can never be far from the comforting presence of our wonderful Lord and Savior who loves them all so much.

As God's character is created in beautiful Lilly, His Holy Spirit will be wooing both parents and child deeper into His fold where He can care for them and assure them of His great love and deep desire to see sweet Lilly grow in the ways of the Lord.

Melva Cooper copyright 2004

Melva Cooper is a wife, mother and grandmother from Jonesboro, Arkansas. She is a Team Writer for Just-A-Minute Devotions and has been published in numerous magazines and ezines. She also loves motorsports and is a Contributing Writer to Christian Motorsports Illustrated and a Staff Member of "Joyful Christmas", "Six Dollars To Spend" and "Beautiful Fall Morning" have been published on 2 The Heart & at


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The Letter Box:

Dear 2TheHeart & Debi Bartow,

I was having a blue Monday when I opened up my e-mail and read your delightful story, Debi ("You're Home, Boys"). Sometimes, in the middle of two ordinary lives, love hands us a fairy tale. In this instance, it evolved from an online friendship. I hope that Dan, Rita, and the boys will share many happy, peaceful, blessed years together as a family here in the wonderful United States. They certainly deserve it.

The way you shared their joy was so vivid and captivating, Debi. It just made me overflow with happiness to read it. Thanks again.

Sandi Pound

Dear Debi,

What a charming and delightful story in today's 2theHeart! I felt moved to comment on it as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just love hearing about good endings to internet relationships, and this is getting to be more and more common. Dan must be a very special man to do what he did bring Rita and her sons to the States. I hope they are happy forever!! Thanks for warming my heart today with a very different and refreshing story.

Maria Harden

P.S. Just curious -- how far north was the relative from "Northern Canada" from?

Dear Joyce Heiser,
I volunteer at a homeless sheleter every weekend and like you, I felt moved by the Spirit through my work there. I have seen precious hope bloom in the faces of the men and women who were once completely hopeless and desperate. It is truly a special ministry and I hope you continue to lend your voice to share God's love. Thank you, Melissa P., San Francisco

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