My story begins one summer day not long ago. It was a gorgeous day in Montana. The mountain tops were covered with pure white snow. The blue skies were crystal clear. The sun was shining bright, I could feel its warmth. The air was gentle and inviting. It was a good day for a play-date to the park with my Grandsons.

As we were driving from the countryside into town, I realized it was late in the afternoon and the boys would be hungry soon. The dilemma was how to have enough time to play while the sun continued to shine and enjoy a meal before returning home. Just then we spotted a fruitstand along side the road.

As we turned off the main road, into the driveway of a field, we could see there were peaches for sale. The gentleman kindly asked if we would like to sample a taste of the freshly sliced peaches. They were delicious! We purchased enough peaches to fill a brown paper bag and we drove to the park.

We couldn’t wait! When we arrived at the park we immediately found a water hydrant. We giggled as we rinsed the fuzzy peaches under the cold running water. We dried them as best as we could and we sat down in the green grass. As we began to eat the an entire bag of peaches, juice was running everywhere. People smiled as they walked by our picnic of peaches. Being in the mountain air the peaches couldn’t have tasted better and we were having fun.

We enjoyed that day immensely. We began thinking about all the different ways we could prepare peaches for eating. We talked of sliced peaches with honey and cream, peach milkshakes, peach pie, peach cobbler with whip cream and diced peaches over ice cream. It seemed the options were endless!

In our bliss we had no idea what we were about to face in the coming year. How could life go from being good to being totally turned upside down in a short amount of time? It was a year filled with heartache and devastation for the entire family, especially the boys.

The trauma that surrounded the boys involved; neglect, abuse, abandonment, violence, isolation, exposure to addiction, deception and much loss. Emotions of fear, anxiety, anger, confusion and uncertainty engulfed their world. They could not be adequately protected by those of us who loved them. There was this element of not knowing what was going to happen next that threatened their young lives.

The boys were struggling to survive in a hostile environment. In attempt to protect themselves they fought to mask their sweet, loving personalities. These masks showed their face in emotional outbursts. They appeared unable to be their true selves or to be able to accept love. Any attempt to reach out to them was rejected.

Months went by as family, friends and teachers worked to help, support, counsel, assist and pray to hold the family together. We did our best to make any sense out of the circumstances that surrounded us.

I prayed day and night, seeking God, asking for His grace and mercy. I begged God to save us from the pain. I even attempted to bargain with God. It wasn’t until I had laid every fear, every request, every demand, every heart cry, every tear, at the foot of cross that I had peace. I believed I could trust Him, no matter the outcome, as He had proven He is Trustworthy. Now I was free to praise and thank Him that He was in control.

After much time pasted, I was able to have the boys for a sleepover at their house. I prayed for wisdom, patience, and for God’s healing love to touch their hearts. My hope was that the boys would be able to feel that they were loved, safe, and have a night to truly rest.

It was an exhausting night! It seemed as though there was one emotional outburst and then another. There were several time-outs. It was late and my heart ached. I prayed, “Lord, please help me.” I wondered if we would ever see signs of who the boys once were.

It was past the normal bedtime and the oldest Grandson was awake. He asked me if I would tell him one of the jokes that he enjoys. Then he told me the same joke with a few word changes. It was fun! Then he said, “Gramma let’s tell it again.” My eyes lit up! This was truly the first sign of him being a kid in a long time. We shared more jokes with each other and as we laughed his face was radiant.

My heart was lighter and I felt encouraged. As he crawled up the ladder into his top bunk bed, I was grateful to God for this miracle and for this answer to my prayers.

With this glimpse of hope, I wondered if the Grandson I knew would return to us. Would he remember and be himself tomorrow? Either way, I knew God could deliver us from all the fears we were facing.

I prayed and said good night. As I was about to walk away, right at that moment, he leaned over the edge of the bunk bed and looked into my eyes and quietly said, “Gramma, can’t you just smell peaches?”