October 16, 2020

Chapter 20 // No Turning Back

 

20. Saved, Saved, Saved!

 

*two weeks later*

Knock. Knock, knock. I run to the front door, wondering who could possibly be standing there. Only campaigners and that type of people come to the front door. Besides, it’s six o’clock and most normal people are eating supper around this time.

“Hi Providence!” I find myself staring in the faces of the Bradford family.

“Hello, Elise! And Mr. and Mrs. Bradford. Come right in!” I direct the family to the kitchen, where my family is preparing the last-minute details of a hearty supper.

“Hello, Bradford’s,” Dad’s deep voice greets the family. “How are you all doing?”

“We are doing quite well, but we have exciting news to tell you.” Elise’s large smile makes me impatient. Unable to wait another minute, I start begging Elise to tell me the news.

“What is it?” The question echoes the room. Three of the Bradford’s put on a grin, bringing on suspense.

“Last night, I had a talk with Katie’s brother and after a long conversation, I put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ,” Mr. Bradford announces. The room erupts with cheers and encouragement.

“What made you decide to put your trust in Christ?” Daddy asks.

“Upon Elise and her mother telling me they became Christians; I knew I had to do something. I decided to start reading a Bible Alex gave to me a long time ago, with hopes to prove to them their new faith didn’t make any sense. When I read the book in search for ammunition, I realized it made so much more sense than what I had been telling my family. I called Alex to ask him some questions and he invited me over for a talk.” Mr. Bradford stops there and takes a breath. “After talking for several hours, I realized that I needed Christ. All these years I shut Him out, thinking I could do it myself—my own way, without anyone’s help. All these years He was standing there, patiently waiting for me.”

“It’s shoutin’ time in heaven,” I say after Mr. Bradford finishes.

“Indeed, it is!” Asher shouts.

*****

June 19

I am so happy the Bradford’s decided to follow Jesus! I will continue to pray for Anna and Cody. Though their journey (and every other Christian’s journey) will be hard and trials will await them, Jesus is waiting at the finish line, so we will run the race with endurance, not wasting a minute, keeping our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Singing this off, Providence Moriah Wyatt, a Daughter of Christ, Blessed Beyond Measures

 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

~James 1:17

No Turning Back © 2020 Lilly Wiscaver

Scripture from the KJV

October 14, 2020

Chapter 19 // No Turning Back

 

19. Blessed, Beyond all Measures

 

Sign this, this, and this.” Ms. Matheus brings Daddy and Mom five pieces of paper each. Taking two black pens, they put their autograph onto the ten pieces of paper.

“That’s a lot of paper,” Hannah harshly whispers into my ear. I nod, too excited to pay much attention to her chatter.

“These papers need both of your signatures, and this needs your signature, Mr. Wyatt and this needs your signature, Mrs. Wyatt.” Cohen gives me a lopsided grin, and I smile back. “And these papers need to be signed by Luke and Colten—or shall I call them Timothy and Caleb?”

Luke, (now Timothy) smiles and accepts the pen. Caleb repeats his brother’s lead. They take the pieces of paper and put their signature on them. The judge says some things I don’t pay attention to.

“Under state law, you are now legally Timothy Aaron Wyatt.” The judge looks at Timothy before turning to Caleb. “Under state law, you are now Caleb Ethan Wyatt.” The whole room erupts in cheers and shouts, thanks to me and my (now twelve) crazy—amazing siblings.

“Settle down,” Dad tell us. It takes us several minutes, but we eventually settle down and return to our seats. A tall, older man with a bald head enters through a side door. He takes several minutes to sign some more legal papers.

“Under the Indiana law, you are now the children of Mr. Jeremy Allen Wyatt and Mrs. Moriah Dawn Wyatt, and the siblings to Asher Leiden Wyatt, Cohen Jeremy Wyatt, Providence….” I tune out, knowing this guy will talking for a several minutes to list all of our full names.

“Hooray!” Shouts erupt in the room as soon as the man finishes. Grace grabs me around the neck. Hannah and Levi squeeze Ruth. Micah and Joshua jump up and down. Nobody can contain their joy for a second longer. Mr. Somberts says something, but due to all the noise, no one hears his words.

“You are now free to leave,” Ms. Matheus tell us. Making sure everyone is with us, we leave the building.

“I’m so glad to be living in this family,” Timothy exclaims as we climb into our van.

“Yes, yes,” Caleb adds, unable to say anything else.

“Yes, we are all very happy for you two to join our family. We are blessed beyond all measures,” Dad says before putting the van in reverse.

*****

June 5

I am so blessed to be the sister of 12! I cannot tell you how excited I am! Life is amazing right now, but there is a better place waiting for us. It’s heaven, and one day, those who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour will get to live eternally with HIM! Oh, what a day that will be, with no more pain, grief, or sorrow!

No Turning Back © 2020 Lilly Wiscaver

October 12, 2020

Chapter 18 // No Turning Back

 

18. Joy, Joy, Joy

 

*Two and a half months later*

Welcome home, Daddy!” Voices scream and shout. Dad limps in, leaning against a cane, with Mom following behind him. The younger kids open cans of silly string and aim at Dad. Selah twirls in her brand new, floral dress.

“You better sit down before the kids stampede over you,” Mom yells to Dad, barely able to communicate over the noise and chaos. Dad nods and makes his way to the couch, being careful not to trip over anyone or anything.

“Quiet down,” Asher yells, trying to bring some organization to this stampede. To my surprise, the command is taken into action immediately, except for a certain younger sibling who squirts Asher in the face with his can of silly string.

“Be gentle with your dad,” Mom instructs. “He may be home, but he’s still not in perfect condition.” Mom doesn’t give any more instructions, as she knows we only seen him ten times while he was at the hospital and therapy centers in Tennessee.

“How’s my favorite kids doing?” Dad asks, while three of the little ones climb up beside him on the couch.

“We are doing okay, but we missed you,” I tell Dad.

“It’s been tiering mending fences and taking care of crops in between homework, college classes, work, and all the things you do,” Cohen adds.

“Cleaning is the most horrible house chore in the whole entire world,” Zacharias complains.

“We enjoyed ruling the house,” Asher laughs. “We did an okay job, I think.”

“Since Mom was with you most of the time,” Selah pipes up, “we didn’t have to do school.” Oh no. I think I know what question is coming next.

“Providence, are you ready to graduate? We should start planning your party if you are.”

“No,” I honestly reply. “Maybe I’ll graduate next year.”

“Okay,” Dad smiles at me. At this rate, I may graduate the same time as Ruth, or worse, Zacharias.

“I reckon you kids will be doing school throughout the summer.” Selah stares at Dad with her big eyes about ready to burst into tears.

“Oh, no,” Levi moans, falling onto the back of the couch and slapping his head with his hand.

“I’m kidding, you silly kids.” Dad grins, and we all smile, knowing he’s teasing us again.

“Who cleaned the house?” Mom asks upon re-entering from the kitchen.

“We did,” Grace happily exclaims.

“Ahem!” Ruth coughs.

“Well, we all helped. Ruth and Providence did most of the work.”

“I see,” Mom looks toward Ruth and I. We exchange embarrassed sideways glances.

“Did anyone bake me some kind of dessert?” Dad asks, taking a whiff of the sweet aroma indicating a sugary treat. “After several months of bland unsugary food, I’d like a sugary bit of something.”

“Cohen made a cake with Provi’s help. It’s vanilla with chocolate frosting.”

“And we don’t know how salty it is.” We all laugh at Zacharias’ remark, remembering the last time Cohen made a cake.

“I promise you all the cake is sweet, not salty,” Cohen states, grinning. “That is, if you are all willing to try it. If not, I will eat the whole cake all by myself right in front of your faces.” Cohen pats his stomach while some of my sibling stare at him in pure horror.

*****

May 15

What more could a girl want? God has been so good to us, and we have been blessed. Many things could have gone wrong, be He guided us through. He is the Solid Rock, and only to the unchanging Rock will I cling. He is faithful to the end.

No Turning Back © 2020 Lilly Wiscaver

October 9, 2020

Chapter 17 // No Turning Back

 

17. Asher Resolves Cohen’s Problem

 

Look!” Ruth’s high pitch squeal breaks the deafening silence. “The truck is moving!” I must have been too much in my own little world to hear Mr. Alton start the truck. In fact, I never noticed Mrs. Alton climb into the passengers’ seat of the truck.

“What shall we do?” I ask Asher.         

“I have an idea.” Asher takes off toward the direction of the truck.  I hope Asher’s idea is better than Cohen’s idea. Please God, protect my brothers!

“Excuse me,” Asher yells, standing off to the side of the truck, frantically waving his arms up and down. The drivers’ side window rolls down and the frown of the driver sends shivers up my spine. “Do you know where the nearest store is?” I can see Luke and Colten, and they immediately notice Asher.

“I think there are several stores down on Main Street.” The driver points west. Silly Asher, he knows every store in Petersburg. He’s lived in this county all his life. Cohen slips out the back of the truck bed. I sigh a breath of relief; thankful my brother is on solid, unmoving ground.

“Oh, okay and thank you!” Asher elaborates his gratitude to the point it sounds very fake. I notice a cop car pull into the gas station, and following him are two more cop cars. Two officers step out and nod to my brothers, a signal that they can handle the situation. Asher and Cohen walk off to the side, in case something unexpected happens.

My brothers, Ruth, and I watch an officer approach the truck telling them to get out. Caught by surprise, Mr. and Mrs. Alton have no other choice to obey. The officers immediately place Mrs. Alton in the back of one of their cars. They do the same to Mr. Alton, placing him in a separate car. They also escort Colten and Luke out of the truck to an ambulance on the scene. My siblings and I rush over to the ambulance, hoping both boys are unscathed. I am so thankful Asher’s idea was a success. Upon arriving by the ambulance, both boys appear okay in the officer’s eyes, and the medical examiner agrees. Asher calls Mom and tells her the boys are safe, with not an injury on them. Mom is overjoyed to know the boys are safe.

*****

March 8, continued…......

Besides our scene at the gas station, everything else has been okay. The boys are so happy to be safe. We found out today Dad will be in the hospital for probably over a month and a half, as he still needs to undergo a couple more surgeries. He’ll also need lots of therapy. The foster care representative (or something like that) made it mandatory that the boys be put in respite care, since Dad is not home and Mom is wanting to spend time with Dad in Nashville. Although we don’t know what they will be treated like in respite care, we agree it is probably the best decision. But Lord willing, they should be back in our big family.

No Turning Back © 2020 Lilly Wiscaver

October 7, 2020

Chapter 16 // No Turning Back

 

16. Cohen Tries to be the Hero

 

Several days pass and still, no leads on where Jasmine Alton or the boys are. The police are trying everything they can but, so far, none of their ideas have been working.

Mom messages our family thread every day. She tells me the multiple operations have been (so far) successful, and as long as no infection sets in, Dad should make it, Lord willing.

“Thank you, Lord,” I whisper. A tear slides down my left cheek. Words cannot describe how scared I was. Before I know it, my single tear turns into a stream of tears. I bury my face in my hands, thankful the Lord is faithful.

I hope Daddy gets well soon and Mom can come home. I don’t understand how Mom does all the house work. I’ve been busy playing the role of housemaid.

My siblings are wonderful helps, but cooking for this clan (shall I say tribe?) is tough, especially since Asher forgot to buy groceries two days ago and the Speed Queen broke. (I guess we should call our pastor to see if he can fix it.) Yesterday, we had a calf die for no apparent reason, and we think there is a skunk under the shed. The list of problems seems to go on and on. Often, I feel like complaining, though I know that will not help anything. I wish Daddy and Mom were here. I feel a tight squeeze on my left shoulder, and I look up and find Cohen.

“How are you doing, Providence?” Cohen asks me.

“Okay, I guess. I’m worried about the boys and Daddy, but I know God is in control.”

“I think the whole family can agree.” Cohen sits down beside me on the wooden steps and hands me a tiny calico kitten. “I don’t ever think I ever told you how much I appreciate having a sister like you, especially now you are cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and so on. I don’t think you’ve had time to work at the cafĂ© or complete much school with all the craziness.”

“You’ve never told me that before, Cohen.” I smile and a soft laugh escapes my lips. “I think it’s time you start learning how to cook and clean, so you can be a bigger help to this family.” I lovingly poke him on the shoulder. “Besides, if you ever decide court, what woman would not want you if she knew you could cook and clean as well as your sisters?”

“I don’t plan on courting anytime soon. In fact, that idea is not even in the picture. And we shall talk about the idea of me learning to cook and clean another time, you know, when you get married or something. Besides, I think one of my sisters will always be willing to cook a meal for their favorite older brother.” Cohen winks and I burst out laughing.

“You’re so funny, Cohen!”

“Well, thanks. I just remembered why I came out here, Asher wants to know if you and Ruth are interested in coming shopping with us. I know shopping isn’t exactly something we want to do, but it needs to be done before we start hearing complaints, or the non-edibles run out. I think we are going to Evansville. Grandpa can watch the younger ones.”

“Okay. Maybe it’ll get these worries off my mind.” I gently set the kitten on the porch and walk inside, Cohen following me.

*****

“I enjoy shopping for food,” Cohen tell us before devouring his fifth slice of sausage pizza.

“You sure do,” Asher agrees. “But we need gas. That or Cohen will push the van home.”

 “This pizza is delicious,” I add, taking the last bite out of my slice of peperoni pizza. Asher pulls into the gas station in Petersburg, only to notice all ten of the bays are full with vehicles of every shape, size, and color. Asher hands me twenty dollars.

 “When I find a bay, tell the cashier we’re going to pay with cash.” I nod and Cohen, Ruth and I turn a blind corner.

“Look!” Cohen exclaims, pointing to a bright blue truck and two boys. “That’s Luke and Colten, right?” We slowly back up and take a look at two boys who are hanging around the gas pump.

“If I was sure it was them, I’d approach them,” Ruth states.

“It is them,” I tell my brother. “Luke has a red scar on his right arm. This boy has the same red scar.”

“Should we go talk to them?” Cohen asks.

“Probably not a good idea. Let’s get Asher’s opinion,” I tell my brother. “Asher!” I hiss and motion him to the corner. Asher sprints over to where we are standing.

“Look!” Cohen points to the boys who are walking into the gas station.

“That’s Luke and Cohen! I’m going to call the police.”

“Are you 100% sure it’s them?” Ruth asks, unsure if the boys were making a hasty assumption.

“I’m 99.9% sure it’s them. Anyway, the lady is stealing some of that firewood, so even if it’s not them, we still won’t make a scene.” Asher runs to the van and grabs his phone to call the police. I turn back to where Cohen is standing.

Cohen slowly walks and turns the corner. A skinny, middle-age lady command the boys to hop in the backseat of the truck, while a man settles himself in the driver’s seat.

“What’s your idea, Cohen?” I know Cohen is brewing up an idea, but I also know it’s his thing not to think his ideas all the way through, especially when a lot of thought and prayer is not involved.

“I am going to slash the tires and climb in the back.” Ruth and I, unable to remain silent, burst out laughing.

“That’s not a good idea, Cohen.” Ruth shakes her head before muffling another laugh.

“Cohen! You know it will not work!”

“Providence, of course it will work. When’s the last time an idea of mine didn’t work?” I think of many situations, but realize it is wiser for me just to keep my mouth shut, even if I don’t agree and know the crazy idea will not work.

 “What will you use to slash the tires?” I question, hoping my brother doesn’t have an answer. Ruth shakes her head and sighs.

“I’ll use this.” Cohen pulls out the pocket knife he received for his 18th birthday. “And I think I’ll use Asher’s too.”

 “Okay.” Have fun trying to get Asher’s pocket knife.

“Do you have your pocket knife with you?” Cohen asks, fumbling around in his pockets for anything else that might work.

“Come on, Cohen! Think sensibly! Please! You surely can find a better idea,” I plead, knowing once Cohen has an idea, he sticks to his idea until it is completed (or worse).

“Ruth, do you have your pocketknife with you?” Cohen asks, completely ignoring my advice. Ruth nods, and Cohen pry’s my pocket knife out of my hands

“You’re crazy!” Asher mumbles, shaking his head.

“Asher, give me your pocket knife!”

“No.”

“Asher, will you please let me have you pocket knife?”

“NO.”

“Asher, please? I have an idea that’ll make you give me your knife, and you won’t like it.” Cohen will not stop begging, Asher uses his shoulder and chin to keep the phone by his ear and delves into his pockets in search of his old pocket knife.

“I hope this isn’t illegal or something,” I say to no one in particular.

“The police are on their way, but they said it’ll take a few minutes.” Asher says.

“That’s nice to know. Now only if they’ll hurry up!” I look at my watch and pray the police will show up within the next ten minutes. Ruth slips her arm in mine, and worry crosses her face.

“I am going to call Mom and give her an update. If I were stronger and bigger than you, Cohen, I’d try and stop you.” Asher sighs while Cohen grins, sneaking over to the truck. It is no secret in my family that Cohen is the stronger and bigger one of the two boys. Asher walks away to call Mom, while Ruth and I watch Cohen. He takes all four pocketknives and jabs them into a tire. No success. A second time he tries again. Same result.  He tries about three times before stopping. Asher hangs up the phone.

“I think I should send Mom a picture.” Asher smiles, surreptitiously taking a picture. “The police should be here any minute. Mom wants you to know Dad is still doing okay. She also wants to give Cohen a talk when she gets back home.”

“Maybe a talk will do Cohen some good. Praise the Lord Dad is doing well!” I smile. I lift my eyes to the sky. Another thing to be thankful for. “God is good.”

“All the time,” Ruth chimes in.

“Amen,” Asher adds, as we return our stares at Cohen.

*****

March 8

I love my brothers. I really do. But they need to think their plans through better. I mean, spur-of-the-moment ideas can be dangerous, especially since the idea isn’t thought out ‘til the end. I am thankful God is protecting my brothers, because sometimes, they need all the help they can get.

No Turning Back © 2020 Lilly Wiscaver

October 5, 2020

Chapter 15 // No Turning Back

 

15. Thy Will be Done

 

Mom messages me early the next day asking if there are any leads on who took the boys. I tell her ‘no’. The hospital airlifted Dad to Nashville for the surgery, and she stopped back here last night to get some things before resting for a few hours. She left early this morning and tells me she stopped at a gas station in Kentucky. She’s only been traveling for two hours and is only half-way there. She says she ran into several wrecks, construction sites and has had to make several detours through rural gravel roads. She reminds me to always put my trust in the unchanging, unfailing God.

“Providence,” Zacharias yells. “Elise wants to know if you can talk.” I run from the bedroom I share with my sisters to the kitchen.

“Hello, Elise. How are you doing?” I ask, taking the landline from my brother’s hands.

“I am doing well!” Excitement laces her voice. “I have delightful news! Yesterday, Mom and I went and talked to Uncle Alex. Mom asked to be a Child of God!”

“Elise, I am so happy for you! I’ve been praying for someone in your family to accept Jesus, and now I received an answer!” I start crying because I am so happy. I needed happy news with all the hardship my family has been enduring, and I believe God also knew that too.

“And,” Elise adds, “Daddy is also a bit curious of my new faith and he is thinking about calling Uncle Alex to ask him some questions. I think Daddy is taking Christianity into the question!”

“Elise, God is amazing! He can change anyone! I will keep praying for you dad, along with Anna and Cody.” Our conversation slowly starts shifting to my dad and foster brothers.

“I found out about your dad getting shot through the news. The AMBER alert and the news footage is how I found out your brothers are missing. I know this is really hard for you and your family, Providence. Uncle Alex said I should pray for you and for His will to be done.”

“Thank you, Elise,” I say as I hang up. I exit the house through the back door and walk toward the cop cars where my brothers are standing, chatting with two officers.

“Did you find anything yet?” I ask, hoping they found something new while I was talking with Elise.

“We think we know who kidnapped the boys.” Deputy Mark looks down at his piece of paper containing notes. “We believe her name is Jasmine Alton. In past years, she has claimed to be the boys’ aunt, though by DNA, she is not at all related. Her husband is the one that shot your father. I think they have been doing deep planning on how to get Colten and Luke back. We have no idea why she’d want the boys, though. We promise we’ll do everything we can to bring the boys back.”

“Thank you,” I tell him. Oh, God, please bring back my brothers!

*****

March 1

“Jesus, thank you!” Without God, we are powerless, weak in fact. But with Christ, He gives us strength to endure. I am so thankful! It reminds me of part of Psalm 27:1. ‘The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?’

 No Turning Back © 2020 Lilly Wiscaver

Scripture from the KJV

October 2, 2020

Chapter 14 // No Turning Back

 

14. Trust in the Lord

 

Who’s missing?” Grandpa Michael asks from the other room. Cohen and I join grandpa and the rest of our siblings in the living room.

“Colten and Luke are missing.” I tell grandpa. “Asher and Cohen left them outside by themselves for only four and a half minutes!”

“Where is Asher?” Ruth asks.

“Outside. We were yelling Colten and Luke’s names, trying to see if they were playing somewhere else on the property. Asher even called Luke’s phone, but it must be disconnected or something!” Cohen’s last words end in a scream.

“Cohen Jeremy Wyatt! Calm down!” Grandpa sternly commands. Cohen struggles to obey. “Oh, God, what am I to do?” Grandpa closes his eyes and is silent for a few minutes.

“I guess I should call Moriah and tell her what has happened. And probably the police. And maybe the foster care system. Oh, I don’t know,” Grandpa says, thinking out loud, not knowing how to handle this situation.

“I can call Mom, although I don’t know if we should really be telling her this kind of news, especially in the condition she’s in.” Against his better judgement, Cohen walks over to our landline fastened upon our kitchen wall. Nervously, he takes a deep breath. I think he’s blaming himself. He probably thinks he’s responsible for both boys, since he and Asher could have finished their conversation with Grandpa at another time. It’s not either one of my brothers’ fault, though.

*****

“I can’t find any sign of the boys,” Asher states as he walks into the living room. Cohen also walks into the room, phone call complete.

“What did Mom say?”

“She wants us check the security cameras, except….”

“Dad broke them when we were playing football last week. But…” Zacharias adds.

“But we didn’t tell Mom,” Levi finishes.

“Perfect timing,” Selah mumbles sarcastically. I sigh in disbelief. If objects in the Wyatt house don’t break because of old age, it’s probably because the boys (or girls) broke it.

“Did she say anything about calling the police,” Grandpa asks.

“Yes, she said we might want to show the footage to the police, but obviously that option is out of the question. She said she’ll be here in about forty minutes.”

“I can call the police.” Asher volunteers and jumps up from the rocking chair, heading toward the kitchen, phone in his hand.

*****

The county sheriff and three deputies arrive within twenty-two minutes of Asher’s call. They begin a thorough search of our farm, including the creek. We all pitch in with the searching, but after over an hour, we find nothing. The sheriff also requests our closest neighbors’ properties also be searched. Our results are again the same. The State Police also show up. Many of them know my dad, but several of them didn’t know Sargent Wyatt (as they call him) is a father to eleven kids and is fostering an extra two kids. (More like they were in shock he could live with so many kids.) The police notify local gas stations, restaurants, and stores, just to be on the safe side. They also prepare and send out an AMBER alert. I shake at the thought of a kidnapper kidnapping two boys off of our farm.

Grandpa leads us inside and every one of us take turns praying for Dad, Luke, and Colten. The police look for possible suspects, but so far, all are dead ends. I have assurance knowing God knows where Luke and Colten are, and if it’s His will, He’ll bring them back. Why should I worry when Jesus has every hair on our head numbered?

*****

February 29

I know God holds our future. He knows everything. I will not be scared. I have many concerns, but I will cast my worries onto the Lord. I know all things work together for good to those who love God. (Romans 8:28) I will trust in Him, even when the journey is long and hard. I have a lot of pride, but with His help, I can say ‘Lord, I trust in You alone’.

No Turning Back © 2020 Lilly Wiscaver