How silly of me to think for a moment, no actually not think at all, that God wouldn’t answer our prayers for Shonda’s delivery date. What???

The story is a little bit more involved than that.


I was accepted for graduate school, slated to begin the first week of August 1973 in Washington, DC. No problem at all, none–except Laura’s delivery date was the third day of August 1973 for our first child, a girl. Anyone see the problem yet?
What actually needed to occur was a move from our home in Va Beach, Va to an apartment near graduate school and everything set up ready for us to move baby, new mom and graduate student in and not interfere with the first two weeks of school.

Moving into the apartment and getting set up was the easy part. That was all done three weeks early, complete with baby room, baby bed and changing table. The whole works. Two terrific teenage boys helped me move us and set up over a Fri and Sat. Frankly, for three men, it didn’t look bad if I do say so myself, down to pictures on the wall.

The real issue was baby being due two weeks after school was slated to begin and how to handle all of that while not missing school.

That’s when the praying for a small miracle part came into the picture. You see, Laura and I had talked and prayed (well Laura prayed a lot about it) and I prayed about it some, asking God..”Lord, I know you are busy with lots of important stuff, but if you got a moment, could you nudge this child into the world, healthy and early, like a month early? It would be a big help Lord!” That was the essence of my prayer.
Laura on the other hand is a bit more earnest in her prayer life from time to time. She was specifically and earnestly seeking the Lord’s intervention to bring Shonda into the world, healthy and early, so we could all “three” arrive at graduate school before the first week of August. How utterly silly of me to not “pray while believing” as Laura was. How silly. You see, in , the Bible says if you pray earnestly and not doubt, .
On Sunday morning, July 15th, 1973, Laura woke me at 5:15 in the morning and exclaimed, rather excitedly, “Jerry, Jerry, my water just broke. Call the hospital, quick”.

Well I am no expert at these things, like none at all, but I did realize “something is going on”! The bed was soaked. I called Depaul hospital, in Norfolk, Va and asked for the delivery room. After a few moments, a rather “frazzled voice” came on the line and asked me what was going on with “Mrs. Barnes”.

“Well, I think she is having our daughter,” was my excited answer. After a few moments, the Doctor came on the line and said, “Mr. Barnes, I believe Mrs Barnes isn’t due for another month. This is probably a false alarm. Just tell her to take two aspirin and call me on Monday at the office. I am here already, delivering two other babies”.

Isn’t God wonderful? The way he “works all things out for good to them who love the Lord”. God had orchestrated the birth early, just as we had prayed and had the Dr. at the hospital also, even on a Sunday morning.

Well, I gave her the two aspirin, and she changed the sheets and went back to bed, but it didn’t last long. About thirty minutes later, Laura excitedly said “Jerry, I am having contractions! Now, I’m no expert at these kinds of things, but that got my attention for sure!’

I quickly called the hospital back and told them what was happening. The word came back, “bring her on in”.

We got to the hospital quickly, in our Corvette Sting Ray. Laura had to slow me down a couple of times with “Jerry if you don’t slow down, I am going to have this baby in this car, and that will not be an easy thing to do!” Slow down!”

Laura went strolling (well maybe waddling) into the admitting office and when the lady there saw that she was dialated 7 centimeters, rushed her to delivery, while I was parking the car.

I made my way to “Lamaze” delivery, and started fumbling with my green gown and the mask, I had put on my face backwards. I looked up and found a tired, exasperated delivery nurse looking me square in the eye and saying “I have delivered two babies tonight, I am bone tired, and the last thing I need is an excited young husband and father, who faints on me in the middle of delivery. You won’t do that will you?”

“Of course not, I am a trained Combat Engineer. I can handle the sight of blood”.
She looked me square in the eye and every part of her facial expression said she believed exactly the opposite?

Shonda Barnes was born on a Sunday in the middle of July 1973 at Depaul Hospital, Norfolk, Va. She weighed 6 pounds and I ounce and was 19 inches long. She was born 25 days early and was as healthy as could be. Doctor said, “if this baby had gone full term, she would have weighed over 8 lbs”.

I drove up I 95 toward Washington on the first Sunday night in August 1973 as Shonda nursed the end of my little finger. The next morning, I got up and went to the first day of school, just as we had prayed and God had planned.

Shame on us when we don’t take all our prayers and burdens to the Lord, and pray in faith, believing.


Life Lesson: God wants us to pray, not doubt, and believe.

Key Scripture: Mark 11: 23-24. “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but  shall believe that what he said cometh to pass, he shall have it”.

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