Rainie Anne Coker

Rainie Anne Coker

I am not sure if the motorcycle ride earlier in the day had anything to do with it, but my very first daughter arrived at 7:37AM on this day of 7/27 in 1974. With all of the 7’s in her date and time of birth, I had to believe this was going to be one lucky girl, despite the fact that she was two months early and only weighed 4 pounds 2 ounces. Additionally, she bore the names of family matrons – Rainie, her paternal grandmother and my mom, Anne. Needless to say, daddy loved his little girl. So, while I finished out my time in the Marine Corps, it was never an issue for me to get up with her in the middle of the night, feed her a bottle or just hold her close while I walked her to sleep.

What I did not know was that she and Elaina would be anything but “lucky,” especially during their younger years. Before she was 9 years old her mother died. Before she was 30 her husband died and his two children she had invested years in raising were taken from her. No one in our family has suffered the equal of these losses. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the generational curses the Bible speaks of had landed on hers and Elaina’s doorstep. Both of her Great-grandfathers had deserted their families leaving young children that needed them. In each case innocent lives had to deal with the harsh realities of life at a very young age. Yet, Rainie has proved resilient. She has made it through all of that and is raising her two children the best way she knows how. She exemplifies the concept of “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” She’s not a quitter and it makes me proud of her.

Despite the challenges she has faced, she has been blessed with an unusual gifting that we discuss from time to time. She has dreams, inspired by God, in the same way my mother did. I cannot count the number of times we have talked over the years about those dreams and what God is revealing to her through them. Each one has been a timely message to inform, encourage and keep her going despite the odds she faced. So God has been faithful to her. He has shown up when He was needed and remained at her side like it says in 2Timothy 2:13Even if we are not faithful, he remains faithful. He must be true to himself.” Now, will dreams replace a child’s mother and a wife’s husband? Of course not – we would not wish that on anyone. Yet, God’s loving gift has strengthened her when necessary. She has embraced life and keeps on going, despite the challenges she has faced.

You all know Rainie’s story and may even be wondering why I am sharing it this way, as it is not something that we normally talk about or share outside of our home. Well, the truth is that each of you will face your own challenges, some of them more traumatic than others. However, the reality is that life here on this earth was not intended to be where we find our eternal joy. Remember the Bible calls us “aliens.” What we can do is persevere under difficult conditions. We can pray and find joy despite our circumstances because we alone control our attitude. And, we can find consolation that for whatever is taken from us here, more will be given back in eternity according to the Prophet Isaiah. It is the key principal our lives are founded on – it is never the short term stuff that gives us long-term gain. It is foregoing the immediate gratification for the eternal payback.

None of us are perfect, as everyone in our family knows. Yet, God ministers to us in our time of need. He provides gifts that are what we need for the life preordained to us. None of us have it so bad that we can quit. God has blessed us each so profoundly that if we look, the goodness He offers is there to be discovered, embraced and useful for our growth and development. The tough times make us better. After all it was what distinguished Jesus, was it not?

Love Dad

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