"She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,”
Photo Notes: Racquel's drawing of the dollhouse (photo 1). Samuel and Racquel decided to build their own dollhouse complete with a working doorbell, light and canopy bed (photo 2), while we were building Nestleton Waters Inn (photo 2). My parents Charles and Fern, myself and brothers Jeff and William just shortly before the dollhouse was sold (photo 3). My husband Erik with our children Samuel and Racquel in front of the Oshawa house we fixed up where the dollhouse was given to us (photo 4).
The Dollhouse: Long before I was born a couple in love had prayed and asked God to let them help nationals in the nation of Africa. It would be years and four children later before the opportunity would present itself. When it was time to go, they were prepared to make sacrifices but it was still hard. There was a small crowd of people in our home in Glidewell, Missouri on that rainy day. They all seemed bored and in a hurry. Some man was rolling off words and numbers so fast it made me dizzy. I looked over at my baby sister Ruth sleeping in her crib, and my two brothers one year old William and three year old Jeff who were also napping. I was four years old, wide awake, and trying to process what was happening. “Sold!” he shouted and this person picked up a piece of furniture and walked out of the house. Then the talkative man held up my dollhouse. What was he doing with that I wondered? Why are these people here? I looked at my mom. She looked sad and tired. “Sold!” A lady took my dollhouse and left. Our little home with the red dirt, the backyard swing set, our puppy, and all our toys were gone forever.
We moved two more times, and it would two more years before we were finally able to go to Africa. Everyone seemed to be so excited for us. “I’ll bet you can’t wait to go to Africa!” they said. But what was Africa? Why did Africa mean someone could take my home, and my dollhouse? Before I knew it my siblings and I were each given over-the-shoulder carry-on bags and we walked across a big tarmac and up some tall stairs to the biggest plane I’d ever seen. My brothers were thrilled to wear captain’s pins and look out the window. I just noticed the dirt was a different color and smelled unusual when we landed in Africa. We were whisked away to a new home with banana trees, surrounded by new friends, and strange experiences. I never had another dollhouse until...
In Oshawa, Ontario Canada where my husband and I were new parents of two beautiful little blond kids, we had just finished renovating the sorely abused mess of a house we’d bought. In the backyard where someone had previously driven a snowmobile through the fence, was now a tidy yard, flowers, and a swing set. Our son Samuel had a beautiful little blue room with all his favourite trucks and Lego and on the wall hung his little David the shepherd boy mobile surrounded by little white fluffy sheep. Our daughter Racquel had her little pink room complete with her handmade purple flower art on the wall. Everything seemed so perfect. I couldn’t believe after all the years of moving we finally had a home of our own. Then the phone rang.
It was our friend Michael. “I was given something that was broken and needed a lot of repair, but I’ve spent hours on it and it looks pretty good now. There’s all kinds of delicate pieces of furniture, a front porch... It’s a dollhouse and I’m not sure why, but I had this strong feeling I was supposed to give it to you.” I was shocked. I hadn’t thought about losing my dollhouse in years! The sadness of that day returned, and I said yes right away.
When it arrived and I saw the beautiful little white house with a green shingled roof, front porch, and pink wallpaper, and two floors of rooms filled with marvellous wood furniture, I cried. It was as if God knew there was still a hole in my heart and He was determined to fill the loss that I didn’t even know I still had. I showed it to my mom when she visited. “Oh Debbie” she said. “I’m so sorry. That day was hard for me too when your dad and I made the decision to sell our things and move to Africa. You were all so little I had no idea you were even aware of what was going on. I’m so sorry. We didn’t mean to hurt you... Just so you know, this dollhouse is even lovelier than the one that was sold. I’m just amazed at how God sees even the things that we don’t.”
It was placed lovingly in our daughter’s room on a tiny white table by her bed. She played with it for years until it went into storage when we were building Nestleton Waters Inn. When we finally unpacked it four and a half years later, our daughter had outgrown it but I couldn’t throw it out. I asked Kelly, our new office manager who had a small boy and girl of her own, if she could use it. She was delighted and later reported with a smile that it had become her son’s new favourite toy although he used action figures not Barbies, when playing “secretly” with the house.
Puzzle Piece: God sees us. We are known.