God Speaks Through Dreams
Donnis was born on May 2, 1915 in the farming town of Cairo, Georgia, famous for Roddenbery Syrup and later Roddenbery Pickles. Her life on the farm was happy and as she grew into her teenage years it was understood that she would marry the young man who lived on the neighboring farm. Her father called her the Sunshine of their home, and her siblings accepted her elevated position in the family. However, her life did not follow the journey she had mapped out…it took a turn after a young minister came to town.
Her Story as Told to Her Family
When I was a child I didn’t know what Christmas was about. It was a time when we enjoyed fruit and nuts; sometimes a doll for the girls and a sling shot or rifle for the boys. We would have a special meal and everyone got to drink a hot toddy. It was a special time for the family to enjoy being together, visiting with neighbors and playing games. Everyone sang while my older brother played the guitar and I played the organ or piano. I remember my childhood as happy. My parents lovingly nurtured me and I believed that I was special and desired to please them. When I met God I believed that He loved me unconditionally and my joy was boundless.
Believe it or not, at one time I was a teenager with dreams just as you have today. I loved living on the farm near Cairo in South Georgia. I can close my eyes even today and hear the mooing as cows come in out of the pastures. I can smell the overturned earth in the springtime, relish the sounds and smells of harvest when neighbors came to help bring in the bounty. I loved my parents and never wanted to do anything to disappoint them, but I also dreamed of moving to the big city in Florida someday. A young man who lived on the neighboring farm asked me to marry him. He was so good looking, and I was thrilled with the sparkling diamond that he had placed on my finger. I was the envy of every girl in our community.
One day Dave (not his real name) moved to a nearby state to find employment and buy a house for us. While he was away a minister came to preach in our village, and my pastor insisted that I meet him. When this itinerate preacher moved on, I never expected to hear from him again. But before long, I was receiving romantic letters, and over the next few months I enjoyed the attention of two men who were declaring their love for me. (Yes, your grandfather is a romantic!) I felt safe because both were in different states. There would never be a reason for them to meet each other. Besides, my mind was made up: I was marrying Dave…everyone had known that since we were both young children.
Well, one day the minister came back to preach a revival, and I was invited to be the guest pianist, and we were seeing each other every night. On one particular night after church we went to my parents’ home for refreshments. The night was bathed in moonlight and the sweet perfume of gardenias wafted across the porch where we sat gently swinging back and forth.
Of course, you know what happened; he asked me to marry him and I said yes. Shortly, we said goodnight. Humming a joyful tune I went inside. Then I felt a nudge on my left foot where I had hidden my engagement ring for safe keeping. It was as though that ring came to life and reality hit! I was engaged to two men! Preparing for bed, I begin praying, “O God, tell me what to do. I’ve known Dave all my life and Buck only a few months. I have been eagerly awaiting my marriage. Lord, he is buying me a house; Buck doesn’t even own a car. Show me what to do.”
It was early morning when in a pleasant dream I heard my mother’s voice saying, “Buck has called you. Now you call him.” Startled, I woke up and ran to the kitchen. “Mama, why did you say that? What did you mean?” Lo and behold, she hadn’t even called me to get up. Then I heard that sweet, strong, gentle voice that is so precious to me, “Donnis, remember, you prayed.”
That was the same clear Voice that spoke to me when I was a little girl playing house under the tall, slender pines of South Georgia. The firm assuring Voice always encouraged me to meet God. I never failed to answer that I would meet Him someday for myself and I would get to know Him. That day arrived and I was filled with joy and peace.
Then I realized—I had made my plans—plans that were exciting to me, but God directed my steps. During our years of ministry your Gramps and I walked through valleys and on mountain peaks, we experienced heartaches and joys, but I’ve never doubted, never questioned God about my decision. I didn’t marry because I was “in love.” I obeyed God and He rewarded my obedience. He developed in my heart a love that only He can give. God is Love and when you accept Him you are born of Love.
Learning to live together takes work; hard work…lots of give and take, understanding, commitment and prayer. I’ve lived all these years knowing that I am in the will of God because He spoke to me in a dream in answer to my prayer, and He taught me how to love your gramps. Love is not a feeling…although those warm fuzzy feelings are nice…love is a decision.
The Heavenly Father knew each of us before the foundation of the world, and He brought us together as husband and wife for His purposes. Jesus came as a little baby, but he grew up and walked this earth doing what He saw the Father do, and He spoke the words of the Father. The Father will speak to you; He will reveal your life partner, and you will fulfill your destiny. In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Truly, the Lord determined our steps, and we pray for you everyday that you will live for the Lord. Nothing pleases us more than to know that our children and grandchildren walk in TRUTH!
This beloved matriarch led us in her favorite Christmas Carol, “Joy to the World.” Gifts were opened, and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye.
At the age of 81 Donnis Brock Griffin went home to be with the Lord. A few years later in 2002, Rev. A. H. “Buck” Griffin, 96 years old, joined her and the Heavenly Host in a never-ending celebration praising God throughout eternity. We proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Copyright © Germaine Copeland 2009
(Excerpts from Prayers That Avail Much for Daily Living by Germaine Copeland, pages 100-101)