In this season of hope, a touching story of answered prayer when hope runs out. ♦
I read this short story every year at Christmas time to remind myself that God cares about the details in life, no matter our circumstances.
Have a Merry Christmas.
I stood at the window and watched the neighborhood children flying their kites on the hill behind our house. My four-year-old son Michael stood next to me with his face eagerly pressed against the glass. Then, looking up at me with pleading eyes, he again asked if he could have a kite like the other children.
For days now, ever since he had first seen them congregate on the hill, Michael had been asking the same question, and had been given the same answer: “Wait until you are a little older.”
It was easier not to go into a long explanation, but actually Michael was too young to fly a kite all by himself, and that meant that one of his parents would always have to go with him to help. Because of my health I simply didn’t have the strength or energy, and my husband was usually at work. Once again, Michael hid his face in my skirt, something he always did when he was going to cry and didn’t want me to see.
As I turned from the window, I felt like crying myself. I looked around the room; the furniture was shabby and worn, and the walls were badly in need of paint. You could see the light places on them, the spots where previous tenants had hung their pictures. Even though we had lived here for several months, I had not done very much to fix the place up. We had moved so many times, and each time it seemed like the neighborhood was a little more run-down, and the house a little older, each one in need of repairs.
My husband Bill worked long irregular hours at his job and earned a good salary. However, there was never enough money and we kept going deeper in debt. I had lost three children through miscarriages and the complications which followed caused me to make several emergency trips to the hospital and to be constantly under a doctor’s care. As a result, a tension had grown between us and we found we could no longer get along with one another.
It all looked so hopeless; even God seemed to have forgotten us. I prayed so often about our problems, asking God for help, but things only seemed to get worse. I found myself thinking, God doesn’t care, and I guess I don’t either.
I walked over to the mirror and studied my reflection. It was almost like looking at a stranger. I looked pale and worn, much older than my years. I no longer bothered to fix my face or do anything with my hair. I stepped back and studied my whole image – the old dress that I had worn all week was wrinkled and torn at the pocket and there was a button missing at the neck.
As I stood there and stared at myself, a feeling of dread, almost panic, came over me, and it filled my whole body with fear. It was the realization that I was giving up on life. I had stopped caring about anything; I felt defeated. I could no longer rise above the depression that had taken hold of me.
In the past few months, my husband had grown rather quiet and we did not talk much. I was aware of his eyes studying me when he thought I was preoccupied with something. I used to be so particular about everything. Bill had not said a word about the change that had come over me, but his actions said a lot. He made a special effort to get me interested in new things, but I did not respond. In fact, I did not respond to him in any way, and he did not know quite how to handle me any more.
Michael was the one spark of life left for me. He could make me smile, and when he hugged me, I would feel love. I clung to him much in the way one would cling to a life-preserver. He needed me and I knew it – that kept me going.
As I tucked him into bed that evening, Michael said, “Mommy, may I pray to God to send me a yellow kite?” Then fearing that I might again repeat what I had said so many times before, he added, “Maybe He doesn’t think I’m too young.”
“Yes,” I said. “We will leave it up to Him to decide about it once and for all.” I was tired of the whole thing and hoped that maybe this would make Michael stop talking about it.
Michael prayed his prayer and fell asleep with a smile on his face. As I stood there looking down at that beautiful child with the blond curls, so trusting in his faith that God would answer his little prayer, I found myself questioning God. Would He really answer such a small prayer when He had chosen not to hear any of my frantic pleas or send me any help to relieve my situation? “Oh, God,” I prayed, “please help me! Show me the way out of this dark place.”
The next morning as I raised the shade in the kitchen, I stared at the sight that met my eyes – a string hanging down in front of the window. Not quite able to believe the thoughts that were being put together in my mind, I found myself running out the back door and into the yard. There it was, a yellow kite, caught on the roof with its string hanging down.
“Oh, thank You, God, thank You!” I repeated over and over again. I was thanking Him for the joy that was flooding into my soul. He had answered the prayer of a little boy, just a little prayer, but by answering that prayer, He had also answered my prayer for help.
Suddenly I remembered Michael. I ran to his room, scooped him up in my arms and carried him into the backyard. He was still half-asleep and didn’t quite know what to make of this mother who was babbling about something on the roof and saying, “Wait until you see!”
He clapped his hands and bounced up and down in my arms when he saw the kite. “Mommy, Mommy, and it’s even yellow!” he exclaimed. I smiled at him and added, “It’s a miracle too.” He hugged me and said, “I knew God would answer my prayer. I just knew He would.”
I thought to myself, This was why I had been so depressed. I had lost my faith. I had turned my back on God, and then insisted that He had stopped caring. The yellow kite was not the only miracle that God sent to us that morning.
When Bill came home we took the kite to the beach and flew it. It went so high that it was almost out of sight for awhile. Bill said he had never seen a kite fly as high. We asked all over the neighborhood but we never found a trace of the kite’s former owner.
We moved several times in the years that followed, and the yellow kite always went with us. My depression left me and as my health improved, so did my relationship with my husband.
At each new place I would hang the kite in some corner where I could see it as I went about my duties. It served as a reminder that no matter how bad things may seem, we must never lose sight of the fact that God cares, that He hears our prayers. No request is too big or too small to bring before him.
– Beverly Newman, The Yellow Kite, published in The Guideposts Treasury of Hope, Carmel, NY, 1976.
God is a God of details and He cares and responds to each of us when we come to Him as little children.
For thou art my hope, O Lord God; thou art my trust from my youth – Psalm 71:5