Friday, July 11, 2008

11:11

In the eighth grade, somebody told me (maybe I saw it on Oprah??) that 11:11 was a time when all of God's angels stood ready to take commands from Him to answer His people's prayers. I feel like that is probably a big load but nevertheless, I set my watch alarm to go off every day at 11:11 to say a prayer that Ben Barron would fall in love with me (Anna--I think I've told you I used to be obsessed with your husband, but if not, you know now :)). Sadly enough, my daily prayers did nothing for me as far as my eighth grade crush was concerned, but Ben did seem to fall a bit in love with my mother that year. Maybe God was setting the precedent for how He would use those numbers for Mom's benefit in the future :)

While I don't know what Biblical evidence there could possibly be to support the idea that 11:11 is a time when the gates between heaven and earth seem to open a little bit wider, I do know that God likes numbers. He uses 3 and 7 over and over through scripture, and he also gives his people many physical reminders of his love and provision. So, while it may sound a bit superstitious, I believe God used 11:11 to encourage Mom through her battle.
Years ago, God gave Mom Hebrews 11:11

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.

It was through Abraham's faith that God's promise of a miracle was able to come to fruition. That was precisely what Mom was doing: having faith in a God who she considered faithful to fulfill his promise. Obviously, that promise wasn't fulfilled in the manner we expected, but that's another whole blog.

So, God gave Mom the 11:11 verse, and she also started seeing 11:11 on clocks ALL the time. Mom rarely wore a watch, but it seemed as though her eyes were always being drawn to clocks at precisely that time. If you were with her, she'd point it out to you as well, and then usually say, "Thank you Lord!" or "By faith Abraham!" or "I believe!" It became God's reminder that he was walking through this battle with her. She told me once that it felt like a hug from Him.

Since she's been gone, my Dad and my Mom's childhood best friend Kendall have started to see 11:11 all over the place. Just in the past couple months, I've started seeing it too. Every time I do, it makes me smile, and I think about Mom and her "By faith Abraham"'s.

Last night, Jeremiah was on call and I decided to use the late night quiet to try and conquer the sewing machine. Riley's (Caroline's boyfriend) Mom gave me a sewing lesson last week. My grandma has tried to teach me a couple of times, and I've been laboring over whether or not to invest in a machine that intimidated the heck out of me. So, I took the plunge yesterday, bought a machine, and spent a couple of hours last night reading the instruction manual, learning how to turn it on, thread a bobbin, thread the machine, and sew in a somewhat straight line while telling myself over and over, "You're a chemical engineer. You can do this. Don't let it beat you, even if you did almost break the needle off because you got a piece of plastic stuck underneath it and you don't know how to raise the needle."
I finally felt appeased by my progress with the machine. I did eventually figure out how to raise that needle, and even managed to sew some straight lines. As I put the cover over the sewing machine I felt that hollowness that comes from time to time these days. The emptiness of having something I want to share with her, and knowing she can't answer if I call. I took a deep breath and stood still for a second to ward off the tears. Then, as I walked through the kitchen on my way to our bedroom my eyes were drawn to the clock, and there it was, 11:11. My heart felt like warm water had just spilled over it, and I smiled, and knew that she was hugging me. Letting me know that she was proud and she did know. I said, "Thanks Mom" right out loud, and then went to bed.

19 comments:

broomes said...

What a sweet reminder. How comforting to have seen that and known the Lord was watching out for you. I can't stop checking your blog! It just a cheery spot in my day to read.

Sarah Thomas said...

Abby I love your stories. And this one is just so sweet. I can't even imagine what it is like to lose a parent. But when I lost my grandfather to cancer, I actually felt like he was around more than when he was alive. I always know he is with me, watching me, and protecting me. I have been blog stalking you for a while now =) I hope you know how much you inspire people. I drifted away from church in the 8th grade. You have given me that drive to want to be near God again and learn his word. I am beginning to study the Bible now for the first time ever. I just wish I could have been closer to you in high school. But hindsight's aways 20/20 right? I was so caught up in my own stupid world of partying and trying to fit in, that I never even knew what you were dealing with. Or if I did, I don't remember knowing that. But you inspire me. And I just hope you know what a special person you are and an amazing mom!

Laura said...

Hi! I am a blog stalker, and stumbled across yours, and I LOVE it. I have had a rough few weeks with lifes little struggles,and today your blog was a breath of fresh air, a moment of sanity, and I am sure no coincidence. Three weeks ago I listened to a sermon I was certain was directed to me, and took from it Genesis 18:14. Sarah laughed when the Lord told her she would bare a child, and the Lord's response was "Is anything too dificult for the Lord?" What a great reminder that we are not in control. After that Sunday, I scribbled the verse on a sticky note on my desk, and went back to it alot in those first few days, but it has since been lost in the shuffle. After reading your blog today, I have dug it out, and have it right where I can see it! Thanks for the reminder!

Karen Brookshire-Jackson said...

Such a sweet stories. The pictures of the babies, your grandmother and Aunt Alice are wonderful to see. Your wisdom and insight are well beyond your years and truly gifts from God. Your writings are always an inspiration to read. You are certainly your mother's daughter and she lives on in you through what you share from your heart. God's peace and blessings on you and yours today.

Lauren said...

That is hilarious about Ben Barron...what a big confession!

What a special moment you experienced last night. As our family was leaving the funeral home the night before Dad's funeral, the sprinklers came on and everyone had to run for cover and one sprayed right into my aunt's car! I don't think it was a coincidence. He was always such a jokester!

The Jernigan's said...

Abby,
I have just recently bought a sewing machine too... I did the whole DVD lesson and all that.I am currently in the process of making some cafe curtains for my classroom. Who knows if they will turn out right. We will see...
Lauren

Anna & Ben said...

Abby,
Even though Ben may not have fallen in love with you that year (or maybe he did?!!!), he DEFINITELY fell in love with your mom! As I kept reading your post, I got chills because Ben and I have always said a little prayer when we see 11:11 on a clock! I don't know where we heard to do that (maybe someone told us in the 8th grade too??), but we have always done it for as long as I can remember.

On the sewing note, I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year and have been trying to figure it out ever since. I even took a few lessons. We should get together and sew!

Abby Euten said...

That's so sweet, I got chills! Keep at the sewing, you'll get it!!

Denise said...

I haven't gotten brave enough to open my sewing machine yet because I'm overwhelmed at the sight of the box. Let me know how that turns out. I won't every look at 11:11 without thinking of your mom now too...thanks for sharing.

Mitzi said...

Your mom always loved anything connected to "by faith Abraham"-
so happy you have 11:11 and that sweet Ben is a part of the entire story. Your grandmother is the sewer of all times. Glad you want to learn. It is a fun thing and a great way to help others.

Kendall Boggs said...

Hey Abbs!
Wow! THAT was beautiful! I still give my clock a little hand kiss every time it says 11:11. You know I tell people all the time about the 11:11 thing. Everyone is constantly amazed at how we (you and I) established this connection. Not sure if you remember or not but about 3 weeks after December 19 you and I were talking on the phone. I was telling you that 11:11 just kept appearing to me all the time and it was just driving me crazy. Well at the time I had no idea that your mom had a thing about 11:11. You said, Kendall, my mom had this thing about 11:11!! And then you quoted Hebrews 11:11. I remember almost wrecking my car going down Peachtree Industrial! I still get chills every time I think about this conversation. It was, and still is proof that she is looking down, smiling (or probably laughing at me) when I see the numbers. I also use that time to reflect and realize that I need to lead my life more like she led hers. Having faith in our almighty God and knowing that He can heal us in ways we never imagined - just by believing!
...now...about the sewing. When I learned (I was about 9) my mom taught me to make a slip. I did a great job with it but she failed to teach me how to press (very important with sewing - very) anyway, I burned the heck out of it and ruined it after all that work. But, I was not discouraged. My mom taught me a lot but I really learned when I took some sewing lessons. Then you learn how to do it really the right way instead of having to teach yourself. That can be both frustrating and time consuming. (sort of like learning the computer!) You can conquer this sewing and my guess is that you will one day be just as good as that wonderful grandmother of yours!
Have a wonderfully blessed day!
All my love,
kendall

Konie said...

Abby,
just read Kendall's note, and SHE taught ME how to make "balloon shades" back in the 80's!! (You were a little child!!). There is a house I see the back of, on Riverchase Pkwy that I think of Kendall EVERY time I go by...Kendall made all the window teatments (the jazzercise lady's house) ANYHOW, I'll always be watching for 11:11 as will everyone else reading your blog :) very special! I always see the clock at 10:17 and I think it's the coolest thing because it's my birth date!! Guess it really isn't that cool after all....since reading about 11:11 :_)

andi said...

I tried sewing...I even took lessons. All of that is past tense. :) I'm not patient enough and well, I just don't have what it takes-especially since it requires pressing. I can't WAIT to see what you create. I have a hunch that you'll be great! You must post pictures.
I cried when I read this post. I miss your mom. I have planted some really pretty flowers in a wall hanger that she gave us. I think of her often.
And you are always welcome at our house for dinner.. ;-)

ashr7406 said...

That was a great post! I, like you and many others, see 11:11 ALL THE TIME! For a while it got on my LAST nerve and then my best friend told me to kiss the clock and make a wish whenever I saw 11:11. Needless to say, I have just about kissed EVERY clock that I have ever laid my eyes on, and have probably made a million wishes by now!! I will think of you now and wondering if your looking too!

Tonja said...

Hi Abby, I have commentd to you before, but not in some time. Your post on 11:11 caught my attention, and I thought you would like to know this.

If you remember thee article on prayer that was in the Dothan Eagle showing pictures of the group gathered at your house, all praying for your Mom...well, in that article was the story of a young man named Alex. If I remember correctly, you are a friend of Dana Yance. Well Dana and Alex grew up together...they lived across the street from us while they were young. Any way, the article spoke about the pain Alex goes through daily. Alex is three weeks older than Dana. Her birthday is in December and Alex's is...11:11. It is amazing how many times one or the other of us will see it on the clock. We say that if we ask right then, God will answer our prayer as we would like. I thought you may like to know that that someone else looks for thos 11:11, too!

God bless you and yours,
Tonja Owens

Meredith said...

Abby,
I found your blog through Mallory and Jessica's. I love reading all your stories. God has given you such an amazing gift for writing. You should consider writing a book sometime for real. I enjoy keeping up with you and your sweet family.
M. Marshall

Louise said...

HI, Abby. I have been reading your post since January when my cousin visited from Dothan and told me about it. I lived on Orange Avenue across the street from the Sollies when I was young. I played with your Aunt Alice and my brother played with your uncles. I enjoy reading your blog and have often thought of commenting but never have. I read this blog about 11:11 on Friday afternoon. I had never heard about 11:11. When I was getting in bed on Friday night I happened to look at the clock and saw that it was 11:11. I couldn't help smiling and feeling very peaceful. I have had some worrisome family issues going on for a few months and have prayed about them a lot. Seeing 11:11 on the clock after reading your blog was like a reminder from God that he has it all under control.

On another note, I enjoyed reading your blog about your grandmother. I don't remember a lot about her but I do remember being in their house on what I believe to be a Sunday morning when they were all getting ready to go to church. I think we all went to Ridgecrest together at the time. I don't know how I happened to be at their house at that time on a Sunday but I believe I remember your grandmother polishing your mother's black patent leather shoes with a biscuit. I thought it was odd but it is something that I have always remembered. Your mother was very young, probably only about a year or so old and I remember thinking that she was such a pretty baby. Anyway, I never see a pair of little girls' black patent leather shoes without thinking of your grandmother.

andi said...

thanks for your encouraging comments. :) i hope you have a great day! how is the sewing going?

Judy said...

Abby: I was told to find you by a sweet lady named Karen who visited my blog. She was telling me about the loss of your mom. How strange about the 11:11 story! I don't know where I heard about it but I, too, see 11:11 ALL THE TIME! I had/have no idea what it means but I'll never forget how it relates to your mom.
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