As the old saying goes, God works in mysterious ways.
While this phrase has a decidedly religious bent to it, it refers more generally to the fact that there are things in life that we simply can’t explain. Because we spend so much of our life looking for meaning and significance in patterns and different circumstances, it’s hard to shake the feeling sometimes that larger things are happening, outside of our awareness and out of out control. For the religious and irreligious alike, we can all agree that there are moments in life which seem to transcend rational explanation. Today, we have one of those stories.
It begins with a young man named Walt Manis.
Walt grew up on his parents’ 100-acre property and says he refused to stay inside. His favorite activity was to walk through nature and explore, talking to God the entire time. While he was praying and lost in thought, he says he never really thought of what he was doing as unusual or strange. Even more unusual, perhaps, is that God would sometimes talk back to him when he would least expect it:
“I was about 10 or 12 years old and in the middle of the day, God gives me a very vivid picture of a little kid. And I’m holding her, swinging her around in my parents’ yard and she’s just laughing like crazy. In the picture that I had in my mind she had dark skin, dark eyes, and God said, ‘This is going to be your daughter. Her name is going to be Chloe.'”
In the meantime, Walt was growing up next to his neighbor, Annie.
Annie was a just a little girl who knew of Walt because their families were close friends. When she was only 10 years old, she moved across the pasture where he lived and developed a bit of a soft spot for him:
“My whole life, I was like, ‘I think Walt Manis is amazing.’ And I always thought, ‘When I grow up, I want to find someone just like him who was in my age group.'”
Despite whatever crush she may have had, Walt says he never noticed before because they were so young. Despite that, the two were intertwined in one another’s lives. When Annie went to college, her school was only about 30 minutes away from where Walt was living.
The two got to know each other better when Walt helped her get settled in.
As the two spent more time together, they began to talk about the future as well.
One night while they were in Walt’s car, Annie told Walt that she had always felt a calling to be a mother. Annie said she even had a name picked out already for her future daughter: Chloe. Needless to say, Walt couldn’t believe that they had the same name picked out! Still, the vision Walt had had didn’t make sense in light of this new information:
“She was in the same place that I was, we couldn’t believe it, you know . . . she can’t have a brown-eyed child, I didn’t know what to do with it.”
Regardless, the two still felt very early on that they were in love with each other and that they might get married.
After they finally got married, the conversation turned immediately towards children.
Though the pair of them had decided to missionary work abroad, they still thought that the time was right. Still, they had trouble conceiving when they thought the process would be straightforward. Months turned into years when they found themselves four years into their marriage without kids. While Walt still had faith, things were beginning to become difficult:
“I had always clung to this promise that God had given me about the daughter, so I didn’t know when it was going to happen but it was starting to get hard to wait.”
After all the waiting, they finally decided to look into adoption.
Despite their inability to have their own children, they never let go of their dream to raise a little daughter. After doing all the paperwork (and still with some resistance), they finally heard from a birth mother who wanted Annie and Walt to raise her child! Still, by that point they had given up on the idea of Chloe.
Finally, the time came to meet the birth mother in Wichita, Kansas.
When they finally got to the door, they were surprised at what they saw.
It seemed as though Walt recognized the mother because she looked exactly like the little girl he’d seen when he was 12 years old! When they all came together to discuss a name, the birth mother suggested a name on her own: Chloe. At that point, Walt and Annie started crying.
In that moment, all of Annie and Walt’s doubts disappeared.
Now, Annie, Walt and Chloe are a happy family just like Walt had foreseen as a child. No matter what your personal beliefs, the story of this couple’s love and their faith that things would work out is enough to touch anyone. Their full story was turned into a mini-documentary which details a 20-year adventure full of faith, doubt and love. If you were moved by this story, check it out and be sure to look at Moving Works’ channel for related stories.
Congratulations to Walt, Annie and Chloe on their beautiful family!
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Source: Moving Works