I’ve been wanting to share her story for a while. About her infectious laugh, that she loved flowers—made her living as a farm woman—mother to ten children, eight girls and two boys—widowed at the young age of 44—a woman of great faith—and how she was always the one who had to clean the dirty eggs.
My Granny Rhodes, I always called her that, even after she remarried. And she didn’t mind, coming from her first granddaughter—nor did my loving step-grandfather, Burton.
And here in the pause of this time in our lives—there it was stored in an old box—treasure boxes I call them—full of photos and notes and cards—there, a copy in her own handwriting—a part of her life and there at the top of the page she had written July 25, the day her second baby boy was born and the title of her story—A Wonderful Dream.
“I don’t know where you can read this but I have tried to write it down the best I could I wish I could tell it as real as it was. I thought I had not seen Louise (oldest daughter) in a long time I did not know where I had been but we all was going to heaven together. I don’t believe time is going to stand long. I just wanted to write this all down. Hope you won’t think I am crazy but it is real to me.”
You see, my Granny Rhodes wrote about a dream she had while sedated in childbirth. Maybe she thought she was dying rather than living. And then again, perhaps God was preparing a blessing, a message for all of us—for generations to come.
The story goes the doctors and nurses said she was one of the happiest women they had ever seen giving childbirth. Now keep in mind this was her eighth time birthing a baby.
“I dreamed the end of time it came the very minute my baby was born and I was going in the gates of heaven and Louise, she was there at this place where my baby was born and she didn’t know it was her Mother coming thru. I told her I was going into heaven and I asked her if she was ready to for her to just give me her hand and she did. And she was crying too”
Will Luffman preached at the church where my Grandpa Rhodes and Grandma Rhodes worshipped—Bethel Baptist Church. In the year 1952 on July 25th—his words over 68 years ago in my Grandma’s dream is a message much needed today. Read them slow.
“and I thought Will Luffman was preaching and I didn’t know anything he said but he said, ‘hurry up, the Lord is here. He has stopped the world long enough for him to get everything just right. That they was going to be another world and he wanted this to show to the people to prove that there was a Lord and Will Luffman was saying, ‘hurry and the children is at the gates waiting”
And I can only imagine on this day the blessing the nurses and doctor received as they stood close to my Grandma’s bedside.
“I was trying to shout and they wouldn’t let me but I didn’t know who was trying to keep (me) from shouting. I was so happy. I was saying how happy I’ll be, over and over and I had somebody by the hand and I was saying God bless you and she had tears in her eyes and she said you had a dream, didn’t you?
“I said it was wonderful then and something said never doubt the Lord is with you now. I don’t believe I could ever be that happy any more and live. I wish I could tell it as real as it was. I have tried to tell it lots of times but it makes me so happy I can’t tell it all at one time.”
My Granny Rhodes, she saw Jesus on that day. And He knew what her tomorrows would hold—ten years later. He knew she would need to know her purpose and He knew she would need to cling to Him, the dream He gave her, and the vision of Heaven.
“It was wonderful just getting to the gates and knowing all of your family was going in too. I can even see all as he was standing there and his face just shined. I don’t know where I said all of this or not but it is as real as it ever was to me. If it wasn’t the Lord nobody will ever make me doubt it. And this same voice said you will be one of the happiest family (ies) in heaven. This is just wonderful for me to think about. Will Luffman has made me think of this dream more than one time when he was preaching. I never could tell all this to all of my family for crying and there wasn’t but one thing sad about it. It was waking up and seeing it wasn’t true. I believe the Lord left me for my children. I could say more about this and how happy I have been, but it makes me feel good to write it down.”
On March 3, 1962, my Grandpa Rhodes passed away at the young age of 46, an apparent heart attack and my Granny Rhodes, left a widower with the sole responsibility of the day-to-day operations of their poultry farm and raising her six young children still at home.
One of her daughters recalls her talking about her dream, “I remember Mama talking about this dream to me. She described the gates being made from pearls. Not many pearls but each gate was carved out of one solid pearl. Mom also said that the gates did not swing out like a garden gate, but fell down at her feet.”
And on the pages in my Granny Rhodes England’s original notebook were the colors of age and yellowing and her words penned in ink,
“Just signed it today, April 22. Everytime I think about this dream it makes me feel good and every time I read it. I hope someone finds it some day.”
Mamie Rhodes England
April 22, 1987
And after all these years, thirty-three years later, I found your dream again, Granny Rhodes. Your story. And I have shared it with many. For such a time as this.