Eighteen tiny diamonds, set in platinum.
“Do you remember the story?” Mama gently asked as I lay beside her, fingering her wedding band. She was leaving it to me, but every time she brought up the subject, I changed it.
I couldn’t bear the thought of that ring without her in it.
From my infancy its twinkling had fascinated me. I would lie in the crook of her arm and twist it around and around as she told me story after story of her life. Those are my favorite memories – snuggling up to her soft warmth, saying “Tell me about the olden days,” hearing her musical voice relating another tale.
I have considered the days of old . . . I will remember . . . and talk of thy doings.
(Psalm 77: 5, 11, 12)
Now she was dying and didn’t want this story to die with her. Every breath was hard to come by. “Let me tell it to you again,” she urged. We had come full circle. I was lying beside her, she was telling a story. My heart ached as I realized I was hearing it from her lips for the last time.
When my parents were engaged, Mama immediately fell in love with this simple band with two rows of dainty diamonds.
The jeweler was a friend and they got a bargain, but had to make payments. The verse she claimed on their 1939 pre-war wedding day was Peace I leave with you . . . (John 14:27)
Daddy was a Gideon. In 1942 they were fund-raising to buy Bibles for soldiers. Longing to give but having nothing, Mama heard of a man giving a diamond ring and said, almost flippantly, “Maybe I’ll give mine,” then was convicted that this was what she should do.
Great struggle . . . then finally surrender.
When these men received the ring, they took it for appraisal to a jeweler, a fellow Gideon. He said, “Men, this is too precious to take from this woman. I’ll give $20 if you’ll help me redeem it for her.” Their ransom bought 400 New Testaments. A letter records her gratitude:
“‘Praise God from Whom all blessings flow’. These were the words of the hymn my husband startled me with at one o’clock last Monday morning as he came in from a Gideon service, singing. That was the night that we were so wonderfully blessed as God so graciously returned my cherished wedding band!”
Daddy put the ring on her finger and said, “I give it to you again.” Had the ring not been returned, the marriage would have endured. The ring didn’t give value to the marriage, but the marriage to the ring – a precious remembrance of vows kept.
With this ring he she wed and with this ring they learned that surrender to His priorities leads to true riches. And with this ring, she bequeathed to me the responsibility of passing on this lesson. She was saying, Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done . . . (Psalm 102:18) . . . that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2) . . . run a relay to the next generation. And when your little ones cuddle up to you and say, “Tell me about the olden days,” you can tell them . . . ask now of the days that are past . . whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is . . . (Deut. 4:32)
Leaving little but a wealth of wisdom from walking humbly with their God, if we fail to collect on this inheritance, we forfeit the treasures of heaven. For wisdom is better than rubies . . . (Prov. 8:11)
or even . . . eighteen tiny diamonds, set in platinum.Leave a Comment
Paula this is a precious story! One that so illustrates the story of redemption! Beautiful reminder of grace!
Thanks for sharing it here,
I don’t usually have time to reply – though I often read the daily blogs – but this one compelled me to sit down and say “WOW.” I felt like I was in your shoes for a moment and it was a great revelation into the heart of a Father who gives such grace . . .
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Paula, thank you for sharing your lovely story. What a legacy your parents left you! You and I are kindred spirits in sensing the importance of recording our stories for generations to come (Psalm 102:18). I teach memoir classes based on Deuteronomy 4:9, “Always remember what you’ve seen God do for you, and be sure to tell your children and grandchildren!”
I’d like to learn more about you and your ministry, but I wonder if that link might be incorrect…. ???
Paula Kemp says
I’ve been answering all these privately but have been told that others are wondering, so I will post this one. I have no ministry as such, this piece is from a book I wrote for my nieces and nephews. The link is correct, it is the only website I’m connected to – the artist is my late brother and my sister and I have a small business selling his work. The tab “Remembering Kerwin” has a little more information on me and my family. Thank you all for your beautiful, encouraging comments. I don’t blog or twitter or normally show my face, but welcome any emails.
What a rich heritage you’ve been given! A precious gift, given twice.
I loved this too…for so many reasons…
First, just the story itself would bring any true heart to tears.
Secondly, the only diamond I have had is my mother’s. She went Home to Jesus before I was married and gave me her diamond ring. Worth little to others, but priceless to me. Over forty years she wore it everywhere and when I look at it, my finger tingles at the remembrance of everywhere it was with her.
Thirdly, I have just re-opened discussion with aunties and cousins from the incredible family and parents she came from. They worked with the Salvation Army during the Great Depression…Their legacy is brilliant and clear, but I fear, being forgotten in every generation that has come. We are praying about writing their story and I would write about the generation of the grandchildren and what we carry with us of this heritage. My aunt has the first hand from my 97 year-old Mor Mor and hers and her sister’s first hand memories…
I love your mission!!! Thanks for sharing!
I Live in an Antbed says
Such a beautiful testimony to true Love! And such a wonderful ministry to tell it to the next generations. You are blessed!
Kim C says
Oh, I loved this wonderful story. Your Mom gave up this beautiful, expensive ring so that other people could receive the greatest gift of all–God’s word which leads to salvation. What a wonderful story to read as we start off 2011 with our abundance. What can we give so others can receive? Your Mom left you such a heritage.
wonderful story to wake up to this morning! I love the part about the marriage giving value tot he ring rather than the other way around. just lovely!
Paula, what a great story about your mom! Thank you for sharing it and doing it so well. You have a great heritage…and a God-given talent to write.
Aunt Granny says
Paula, thank you for letting all of us read this wonderful story about your mom and dad and God’s provision of grace. You honor your parents’ memory daily with your life, and I feel honored to call you my friend.
Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it and the encouragement that comes with it. ~Jessica
I love this, my sweet Aunt Paula. Thank you for sharing these stories with us. They mean so much!
this was so beautifully written! i truly enjoyed reading it, can’t wait to read more!
You truly have a gift in your writing. I remember reading the piece you wrote about Kerwin on your website with tears streaming down my face, you so captured the actions and words of your dear, dear family. Thank you for this story. I never knew Uncle Howard was a Gideon. Please continue your writing and let me know when you make something public again.
i am printing your article right now to share with ms. nina and ms. nannette and whoever else wants to read it, im sure they will pass it along. 🙂 by the way, i think i may have some good news for you. im at work right now, have class at 2pm, a couple of meetings afterwards, and will be done with everything around 6 or so. So if you would like to give me a call…we can talk! or i will try to call you tomorrow. 🙂