David, Dora, and DiVoran Bowers
It was a time of childhood and Mother took us to the church she’d been reared in. It was, and still is, a beautiful church built from some kind of red stone. But I see on the Internet that it is closed now. How sad. Mother, David and I could walk there from our grandparents’ apartment house where we lived while Daddy was away fighting in WW2.
I must have been in first grade the year Auntie Elvira was my Sunday School teacher. She had taught my mother, then my mother’s younger sister and later she taught my cousins and even their children. Elvira, a maiden-lady lived alone, but she was well-beloved by the entire Canon City, Colorado community.
Our Sunday School room was clean, well-lit, and cheerful with carefully crafted wooden book cases holding children’s books we could read if there was time. Auntie Elvira always told an exciting Bible Story and let us know how much Jesus loved us. The one thing she never forgot was to lead us in, “Jesus Loves Me,” a song I have remembered all my life.
“Jesus Loves Me,” has helped me out of many low places. One day when Bill was working at the Kennedy Space Center I was pushing the iron around on one his white shirts when I began to feel so discouraged about myself I could hardly stand up. I recalled our minister of counseling telling us that he had a congregant say she had tried to feel as if she measured up to God’s expectation, but she never could. One day she fell to her knees and prayed fervently but that didn’t help, so she stretched out flat with her nose pushed into the floor thinking God might smile on her then.
I decided to get down on my face, too, and see how it worked for me. I put the iron in its holder, but that moment I remembered a tale told by our pastor, Peter Lord. He said he knew a professor in seminary who was the best educated, and the Godliest man he’d ever known. When a student asked him what his favorite song was, the professor answered, “Jesus Love Me.”
Still standing at the ironing board I decided that if it was good enough for a fine man like that, I’d give it a try. As I sang, Auntie Elvira’s love for the children came back and then I felt a warmth in my heart. That warmth assured me that God did love me, after all. I went back to ironing, but by then I had the song where it needed to be and I repeated it over and over. I have now depended on it for many years. God did, however continue to solidify my conviction that I was all right with him, as well. During that period I had two memorable dreams.
Charlene and Billy Lites
The first dream was about a dog. When Charlene and Billy were children, we gave them an adopted puppy for Christmas. They were thrilled. Right away Renie dressed the pup in doll clothes and put her in the doll buggy. We named her Dingo because she looked like an Australian Dingo dog. When she became full-sized, she couldn’t do enough to show how much she loved us and wanted to be with us. Then, one night, I dreamed that Dingo came to the side of my bed and she was blind. I didn’t feel pity, instead I knew it was a message from the Holy Spirit, God telling me that He didn’t see my sins any more than that blind dog could see me. That was confirmed by Corrie ten Boom at a meeting in Melbourne when she said: “God has threw our sins into the deepest sea and put up a, NO FISHING sign.
Those dreams and the reassurance that God loved me happened over fifty years ago, and yet I remember one other dream as vividly: In this one, I run through the sky as light as a butterfly, totally free of all shame and blame. Though I’ve had doubts about my own “perfection,” I never doubted the Father’s love again.
“Jesus love me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong.”