Our sixth grandchild is a big boy who just couldn’t wait


“At this very moment, God’s working behind the scenes in your life, arranging things in your favor.”

— Televangelist Joel O’Steen

There’s no doubt in my mind God has worked “behind the scenes” in my life countless times. The latest example, however, is one that still has me amazed — and oh, so very grateful.

It’s always been a special blessing that God rewarded me with both a son and a daughter. While both have been pure points of pride in our lives, their mother and I each have one that is like us in personality, attitude, habits, etc. I couldn’t love either of them more but every day of her life has seen the Daddy/Daughter bond grow tighter between Mandy and me.

I haven’t forgotten the teenage years when I wanted, so many times, to turn her over my knee. She was way more rebellious and stubborn than her brother. (Or maybe he was better at covering it up.) Nevertheless, as she grew into adulthood, she began to adjust her course and, eventually, became a professional educator, a devoted mother and helpmate and began building her family.

It was during these years we began a weekly ritual of having dinner together. It’s been a time when, instead of her listening to Daddy pontificate, it’s been a treat for me to just sit and listen. Many evenings she’d be excited to share the story of a student who finally “got it” after she’d spent weeks or months wondering if that would ever happen.

Often times, she’d bring me to tears describing one of her little ones who, she felt, may have had too little to depend upon for care and love beyond their few hours in her classroom.

Then came the gift of Jaxson, the two year old toddler who came to her, from a troubled friend, exactly seven years ago last Tuesday. Her, and my, world took a turn for the better ever since that day. He has been a light in our lives.

And now, exactly seven years to the day from when she got Jaxson, he has a little brother, Elijah Broome McNease (Eli).

I lay down to sleep last Monday night and immediately thought of my Mandy. Because of her pre-natal appointments, we’ve missed our Daddy/ Daughter dinners in recent weeks. I decided then that I would be her chauffeur the next day for what was scheduled to be a routine visit to the doctor in Jesup. We’d have that travel time to be together. The baby wasn’t “due” until June 8 and a tentative c-section delivery wasn’t on tap until May 31.

But God has His own plans.

We missed dinner that evening but I got to spend nearly every minute with Mandy as doctors deliberated on whether the time had really come or would she be sent home? I kept her mother, the baby’s father and Cheryl all apprised by phone as no decision was forthcoming for hours.

So, until about the final hour, it was just me and my Mandy. Waiting. She was joyous and showed it. I was scared to death and tried hard not to show it.

Seven hours after her “routine” 3:30 appointment last Tuesday afternoon, Eli arrived, all 8 lbs, 13 ounces, a strapping, adorable boy, perfectly pink and wide-eyed, the image of his daddy, Mark. 

God certainly “arranged things in my favor” that day. Thank you, Lord, for Mandy and for Eli.

• Robert M. Williams, Jr. is Editor & Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email: rwilliams@theblacksheartimes.com.

Robert M. Williams, Jr. can be reached at rwilliams@theblacksheartimes.com.