God’s Answer to My Unrealistic Prayer

I distinctly remember a day in August 1980 as one of the saddest of my then 26-year-old life.

August ’80 church going-away reception

My husband and I, our two little girls in our arms, watched the moving van pull away with all our worldly belongings. Tears streamed as I said goodbye to my dearest friend, Gigi, her husband George and their three little boys. I finally had a friend with whom I could share the ups and downs of mothering, marriage and ministry, but my husband’s new job was taking me away. (He later called that move one of his “worst decisions ever.”)

This is the story of how that decision led to God answering my seems-to-be-too-good-to-be-true prayer.

When our oldest daughter Danielle was 6 weeks old, the Gaffgas moved to our western New York village (think, one stoplight and lots of lake-effect snow!) . Their towheaded boys were 1 and 3. George pastored the Presbyterian church on one corner; my husband shepherded the Baptist flock on the opposite one. The church-provided parsonages were across the street from one another.

Our husbands enjoyed wonderful ministry between the two churches, as well as George’s practical jokes. A “For Sale” sign on our church lawn. A cracked toilet with a potted plant on our parsonage front porch…You get the idea.

In the spring of 1980, Gigi delivered a third boy six weeks after I delivered our second daughter. I had no car, no spending money, and no family nearby. But I had a friend right across the street who understood me, listened to me and prayed for me.

After our move to Connecticut, we stayed in contact mostly through letters–too expensive to call long distance! After they moved to Long Island and we moved (again!) to start a new church in Pennsylvania, we vacationed  together every summer at a free beach house on the Great Peconic Bay.

Our kids, summer ’88

Our kids (now numbering six after adding a third daughter in Connecticut!) swam and played Monopoly together while our husbands sailed the bay and Gigi and I played the word game Boggle.

Jamie’s high school graduation ’95

Through the years we occasionally reconnected at family graduations and weddings. Eventually technology made staying in touch much easier–texts, phone calls and online Boggle fun. Finally, we all retired–us to our current home and George and Gigi to Colorado.

When the frightening reality of the pandemic hit, Gigi became my steady contact with the outside world. We Boggled everyday to distract us from the isolation, FaceTimed while working on jigsaw puzzles, and encouraged one another that God’s love never fails.

Fast forward to early last year when my elderly neighbor across the street (in a one-story house exactly like ours) had another stroke and was hospitalized for months. Each morning as I sat at my dining room table reading my Bible and gazing at Paul’s house, I prayed for his recovery, but I added something else.

“Lord, if he can’t come home and be safe, please let George and Gigi buy his house and move here.”

It was quite an unrealistic prayer.

Even though Psalm 37:4 says that God “will give you the desires of your heart,” I know that doesn’t mean you always get whatever you wish for. But I do think God sometimes does put an “unrealistic” prayer on your heart because it is His desire.

So I prayed.  And when I found out in August that my neighbor needed to sell his house, I told the Gaffgas about my prayer.  Because they had been wishing they were nearer to their Philly-area son (a single dad with two young daughters), they started praying too.

Dec. ’22 and YES we laugh a lot!

I will summarize the next few months as a whirlwind of negotiating, planning, questioning, pleading and believing. But a week before Christmas, they moved into their new home–across the street just like nearly 45 years ago.

We have come full circle. (Except now we try to get our husbands to nap at the same time instead of our toddlers 🙂 )

We raised our children together and now we will dote on our grandkids together. We cared for our church families and now we will care for each other.

And we will pray the Lord uses our deep friendship to deepen His image in each of us…as together we praise the God who makes “unrealistic” prayers come true.
I pray my story has encouraged you to embrace the message of this song by Passion: “There’s Nothing that Our God Can’t Do.”



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    • Cynthia Cameron on January 18, 2023 at 8:38 AM
    • Reply

    What an answer to prayer and that you four are together again! Just having another couple you both enjoy is a gift, in the first place. Thank you for the encouragement to pray for things that might seem “out of the park”.

      • Lynn on January 18, 2023 at 10:38 AM
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      Hi Cynthia,
      You are so right about the gift of friendship. We always treasured it and now to have them so close is unimaginable.

    • Bonnie Fuhrman on January 18, 2023 at 9:20 AM
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    What a beautiful story of friendship and God giving you your heart’s desire … your friends across the street.
    Love love love

      • Lynn on January 18, 2023 at 10:39 AM
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      Thanks, Bonnie, I know you know what an awesome God we serve–one who takes delight in each of us. Wow!

    • Bonnie on January 18, 2023 at 10:16 AM
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    That is an exciting story that illustrates how well God knows and loves us. It’s not that we NEED the “desires of our heart,” but the answer can only point to Him working out unlikely circumstances! He gets the glory and we are blessed.

      • Lynn on January 18, 2023 at 10:40 AM
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      So true, Bonnie. We definitely do give Him the glory and we are all reaping the many blessings. Thanks for sharing in our joy!

    • Therese Pelicano on January 18, 2023 at 2:19 PM
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    What a beautiful message❤️. So glad you are enjoying your continued friendship so near each other!

      • Lynn on January 18, 2023 at 2:32 PM
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      Thanks, Therese. It has been an incredible journey and we are all so thankful! And thank you for sharing my joy!

    • Katherine Perry on January 23, 2023 at 8:38 PM
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    Such a cool blessing from God for you all! Terrific story.

      • Lynn on January 24, 2023 at 4:45 PM
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      Thanks, Kathy, it is an incredible blessing! Thanks so much for reading and sharing my joy!

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