As children, many of us have special, invisible playmates. We run and play with them; we turn to them when we are lonely. They stand by our side when times are difficult. For some, those playmates are extra special, because they are sent from the heavenly Father.
In Playmates from Heaven, author Gilda Jean Rose tells the story of her invisible childhood playmates, sent to her from the heavenly Father. Like “ordinary” invisible friends—at least invisible to others—she ran with them beside her, flying free, and played with them. But they were more. The heavenly Father sent them to stand by her and protect her. And while many childhood playmates leave us as we mature, the ones sent to Rose by God have stayed with her throughout her life.
Rose’s personal stories in Playmates from Heaven reflect the courage and comfort that come from trusting in God, whose love is extended to all who believe in Him and entrust themselves to the care of His ministering angels. They are playmates and protectors for life.
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Playmates from Heaven
By GILDA JEAN ROSE
Abbott PressCopyright © 2012 Gilda Jean Rose
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePlaymates from Heaven
Looking back on my childhood has taught me that the most important thing we can have on this earth is the love and respect of family and friends. The greatest gift we have, however, comes from a much higher power. I was taught as a child that we hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven, if only we would ask. I grew up in a big family. My father died when I was two years old, and my mother was left behind to raise nine kids. My oldest sister, Grace, was married at the time. She always made the comment that, if it had been her this had happened to, she would have pinched our heads off and thrown us (the kids) in the trash can. Later on in life, I understood what she meant by that remark. [She meant she could not have handled it at all.] Our mother was a true believer in God, and she knew that one day, she would be rewarded for her deeds. She had no problem letting family and neighbors know she had what God thought she needed.
I never heard my mother complain or say any curse words growing up. We did take notice when we were being wild and crazy, just by the look on her face. We could tell when she was angry, we knew we were okay, but if we were running wild and we got on her last nerve and she smiled, look out!
We grew up with no luxuries and were very thankful to be able to have food on the table. Hand-me-down clothes were a given, and we were thankful to get those.
All my life, I've been entertained by my guardian angels. I've seen them and played with them since I was a very small child. My favorite pastime when I was little was to run. I loved to run, and my mother would say, "Watch her go! She looks like she's flying!" I never told my mother until I was thirteen years old that I really was flying. I would fly through the air with my guardian angels on each side of me. I would take off running, and my angels lifted me and dropped me and lifted me again and again until I got tired, and they would always return if I needed them. I never thought anything about my angels playing with me—I thought everyone had angels. I never questioned it until years later why I was blessed to witness such beauty and fun!
My father, Walker, died in 1957 of stomach cancer. My mom, Zelfie Rose Fletcher, worked the fields, planted gardens, and took in laundry from the neighbors to keep us clothed and fed. She did draw a social security check, I believe, a little less than $240 a month.
My siblings are Retha, Raben, Lacy, Reba, Roger, Glee, and Grace. Juanita died in 1992, and Roy passed on in 2007. Two died in infancy, Jimmy and Sharon. I also have a nephew named Gary who is four years younger than me, and we all considered him our baby brother.
My name is Gilda Fletcher Rose, and this is my story.
Looking back on my life, I know I have been rewarded beyond measure. I have become comfortable with who I am, and most of all, I know where I will end up. I married the love of my life, Larry Rose, on June 30, 1973. We have one daughter, Selena Nicole Rose Culbertson. She's married to Donnie Culbertson. They have two sons, Christian Taylor and Chad McKinley. I have witnessed true joy with my family. Growing up, we—the younger siblings—played all day, and it never entered our minds that we were poor. What an adventure my life has been, and I'm still going strong! Angels are among us—and not just because I believe. We have different types, including guardians who come to protect us and warriors who assist us when we have to fight a battle.
I stated earlier that I was blessed to have my guardian angels when I was a child. You want to know something? I'm fifty-six years old, and they are still by my side. I see them when I think I can't go through another day. I see them when I'm about to go through troubles with my job. I see them when a loved one in my family is about to die, and it always brings me back to realizing we are never alone. I have wanted to write my story for quite some time, but for some reason or another, something always got in my way. I will tell you now, I'm not crazy or someone who uses drugs or alcohol to get through the day—though I do take thyroid medication. I have no college education. I am intelligent about a lot of things; however, I am ignorant about a lot of things. I will tell you I'm not stupid, and I can learn if given a chance. One reason I have wanted to tell about my life is to let other people know that you don't have to be afraid that the world will ridicule you for standing up for saying, "Yes, there is a God, and He sends us angels to guide us." The greatest reason I'm telling you my stories is that I was told to. When you have finished reading my story, you may or may not believe in God, but He instructed me to stand and give thanks for all my blessings. The great thing about this is that it will be off my shoulders, and I will have done His will in writing. I listened and did what I was told to do.
I live in Clintwood, Virginia, and I am a lieutenant at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority in Haysi, Virginia. Our jail usually houses between 230 and 280 inmates. I have ten to twelve officers who are under my command, as well as my sergeant and corporal. Over the years, I have thought a lot about telling of my encounters with our heavenly host; however, I have waited until now to reveal my stories. God has chosen me to be one of His vessels, and I cannot let Him down. I have wondered if my sightings would even be talked about if I write them down. When God tells you to do something, you are to do it—no questions asked. Will my words help someone, or will it just be pleasing to God? Either way, I have won!
Angels are all around all of us, not just me. I have seen them on the ground and in the air. I have seen warriors and cherubs. They have comforted me and kept me from harm.
My first encounter, as I stated earlier, was playing with angels when I was a child. Nine children running around our house was not enough for our heavenly Father to enjoy. He sent protectors to help our mother out. I think He knew exactly what we needed and how badly we needed it. I don't remember my father; he passed away when I was two years old. Members of my family have revealed to me that he was a stern man and had a drinking problem at one time. Later in his life, he became a Christian and turned over a new leaf. After he died, our mother never remarried. She would tell us that we were her life. Mom's main task in life was to try to get us all through high school. Only three chose to quit; however, they have had good jobs and have made a good living for their families.
One of my encounters with angels happened when I was with my husband, Larry. He had been trying to find a job after being laid off from his previous one. Larry had heard of a job opening at a coal mine in a little place called Frying Pan, Virginia. He had asked me to go with him to check on the prospect and hope of getting it. We put our daughter on the school bus Monday morning, and off we went. I was not a pleasant person that morning. I was feeling sorry for myself, and everything was, "O woe is me!" I never even took into consideration Larry's feelings, only mine. When we would speak and start to say something, I was Ms. Doom and Gloom.
We had driven on the narrow, two-lane country road for a few minutes when I looked to the right of the road and saw an old dilapidated sign that read Clinchfield Number 2. I told Larry I thought we had passed the turn for the road to the mine. I looked to the right of the road, and under a hill I saw an old dilapidated trailer with an elderly man sitting on his porch, rocking in his rocking chair. I asked Larry to stop the car, so I could ask him if that were the mine we were looking for. Larry stopped the car. I rolled the window down and yelled to the man and asked him if that was the road we had just missed. He just nodded and continued to rock back and forth. I thought, How strange of him not to speak.
Instead of going up the road and turning around and coming back the way we should have, Larry put the car in reverse and started to back up to where we had missed the turn to Clinchfield Number 2. We were in a curve. That's when I heard the sound of a dump truck coming from behind us! I knew in the next breath I would be dead, because we could not get out of the path of the truck. I wondered if the truck driver was a Christian. I knew Larry wasn't, and I knew we would be separated for eternity. I was sitting on the passenger side of our vehicle, looking into the mirror on the door to my right when I witnessed an angel at the back bumper, holding our car. I was so excited, I could only think of what I was seeing! I quickly jumped on my knees and started to turn around in the seat to the left of me. (There was no seatbelt law at the time, so I was not wearing a seatbelt.) When I turned toward Larry, he had his hands crossed over his chest, and he was pale as a ghost.
I saw the dump truck beside us, and you couldn't have gotten a pencil straight up and down between the two vehicles. By this time, I was looking back through the rear window. On Larry's side, to his right, looking backward, I saw another angel holding the bumper and smiling at me. I looked to my left and saw my angel smiling at me. I don't know what made me turn back around, but by the time I did, the dump truck and driver were in front of us. He looked back at us from his little sliding rear-view window in the back of the cab and wiped his forehead as if to ask, "How did we miss hitting each other?"
Larry, at this point, said, "Thank God!"
I got angry and said out loud, "Larry, don't say that if you don't mean it."
He said, "Honey, I did mean it."
I blurted out, "Larry, you won't believe this, but I just saw our angels holding up the bumpers of our car and move us over so we wouldn't get hit."
He said, "Gilda, I believe you," and to this day, he said he didn't see them, but he will tell you I saw our angels.
Our daughter Selena was in college in Tennessee, and we knew she was partying a little, but to our surprise, it was a little more than that we had bargained for. One of her friends' mothers told me I needed to call my daughter. She kept saying, "Call her!" I came home from work and called Selena. I asked her if she was okay, and she stated she was doing fine. I told her I knew something wasn't right, to go ahead and tell me what was wrong. Selena hesitated, and when she did, I asked, "Are you pregnant?"
She paused and said nothing. She started to cry, and finally she said, "Yes, Mom, I am."
I let her know I could deal with that and went on to ask who the father was. She was working at a restaurant with an older man, who happened to own the place, and I figured it might be him. She paused again and said, "Mom, I have to tell you something." She paused once more, and I could hear her take a deep breath. She said, "Mom, he's black." [While we were raised to accept differences in ethnic background, not everyone around us were raised with the same values. The area in which I grew up was not as socially advanced and accepting of interracial relationships.]
I took a deep breath and again told her it would be fine and that I would be down to see her that day. I told her, "Honey, I love you, and don't ever think I would throw you away. Our love is unconditional." She told me she loved me too. I hung up the phone with much regret and, as a mom, all I wanted to do was cradle her in my arms and protect her. I told her dad about her being pregnant. Larry never said a word; he just started crying. He cried almost nonstop for the next five months. I made it to Selena's apartment in record time of three hours.
We hugged and talked for quite a while. I assured her we would get through this, and she would finish college, even if I had to sit in class with the baby nursing her teat while she took her tests! We laughed, and she said, "I can see that!"
When I left her, I started crying, and I knew the devil was getting ready to put me through hell. I was feeling so sorry for myself and not really thinking of Selena and what she was going through. Evil things started going through my mind. Family would disown her, friends would turn their backs on her, my grandchild would be an outcast, and her dad would surely have a heart attack and die! Tears started running down my cheeks, and I was getting ready to enter a very dark place when all of a sudden, I heard a very calming voice that said, "Gilda, you own the keys to the kingdom. Now do something."
Excerpted from Playmates from Heaven by GILDA JEAN ROSE Copyright © 2012 by Gilda Jean Rose. Excerpted by permission of Abbott Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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If you need an inspirational pick-me-up, be sure to pick this book up! An uplifting story. Don't miss it!