Our middle child has had a busy year. Last May she graduated college. In the fall, she backpacked through Europe—sightseeing by day, couch-surfing by night. At the beginning of this year, she and a college friend flew to Peru to teach English for a few months at a small school in the mountain town of Huyancao.
At the end of March our daughter prepared to fly home. With Trinity, the wild Peruvian puppy she adopted.
Trinity is a survivor. She’d been hit by a car but lived. She contracted distemper but didn’t die.
Prior to their departure, our daughter and her friend accomplished the necessary due diligence to bring Trinity home: rabies shot, insect inspection, veterinary approval to travel. Even so, we knew customs had the right to refuse a sickly animal.
Trinity could be the poster pup for sickly animals.
Even though she’d been hand-fed chicken for two months, you could easily count her ribs. And after her unfortunate encounter with a car, with no veterinary intervention, her back right leg healed so that her paw no longer touches the ground. Here’s a short video of her in Peru.
More suspect, though, were her myoclonic jerks: twitches and tremors caused by the neurological ravages of distemper.
I loved the little brown dog despite never meeting her. But I loved my daughter more.
Passionate and feisty, always loving fiercely with her entire 4’10,” 95-pound being, I knew if Trinity didn’t make it through customs, our daughter would be devastated.
And what if she made it through customs in Miami only to be quarantined? Florida is a long way from West Virginia. What then?
So I did what lots of people do these days. I crowd-sourced prayer power via Facebook.
In response to my post plus picture, dozens of people promised to pray. Even so, the three amigos—my daughter, her dog, and her college friend—were bumped from their overnight Lima to the US flight. Instead they’d fly out early the next day.
Pretending to be confident, I told my daughter the delay was for a good reason. Surely the daytime customs agent would be kinder than the one in the middle of the night.
The next day she messaged with good news. They had just landed. Trinity’s fate was now in the hands of a US customs agent.
Then there was Facebook Instant Messaging silence. For hours.
I prayed and waited and prayed some more. Finally, at 4:30 pm, I drove to the grocery store for distraction. Before, during, and after the produce section and the seafood case I checked my phone. No news.
Determined to get spiritually serious, I decided to fast and pray.
“Lord, I’m not going to eat again until I hear from her. Not a bite.”
Three minutes later I realized that was a silly prayer. Since January, I’ve been intermittent fasting. Going without food for hours, even two days, was no longer a big deal for me. So I amended my prayer.
“Lord, I’m not going to eat or drink until I hear from my girl. Not a crumb. Not a drop. Please grant her success and favor. And her little dog too.”
As I rolled my cart up the baking aisle, I decided to make my sassy prayer, sassier.
“Lord, of course I want my daughter and her dog to get through customs. But I don’t want them to have to jump through a bunch of hoops, a ton of customs’ rigamarole with harsh questions and scrutiny. I want them to supernaturally FLY through customs. No effort, no striving. In Jesus’ name.”
The ping of Facebook Messenger sounded before I left the store.
“They barely looked at her. I’m wondering if she will be under more scrutiny when we recheck her to go to Baltimore. But so far, so good.”
Oblivious to the people around me, I hooted my thanksgiving.
In Baltimore, Trinity received a pat on the head from the customs guy. “She’s from Peru? My wife is from Peru. Good luck with her.”
This is why I love my Lord. Because He sees my mother’s heart and hears my mama prayers, and says, “Yes, beloved. I’ll answer your prayer.”
Even when my prayers are sassy. Thanks be to God.