Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate: Conceived by Gang Rape, Husband Murdered, Son Committed Suicide: Can God Really Work All Things Out for Good?

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-07-16
  • Publisher: Textstream
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Marriott Cole knows that sometimes it is difficult to trust God, especially during the most challenging moments. In her memoir, Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate, Cole chronicles a life with more than its share of difficulties while demonstrating how she overcame tragedy through the miracle of prayer, laughter, and the grace of God's love. Cole shares poignant anecdotes with accompanying Scripture, tracing her life journey beginning with the details of her first conversation with her birth mother. Despite the horrifying details of her conception, Cole describes how she was eventually led to forgiveness and to accept a second family into her heart. As she retraces her complex life and reveals her unique problem solving strategies, Cole details how she learned to rely on not only her faith, but also her inner strength as she bravely faced widowhood and the terrifying thought of raising seven children on her own. Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate challenges spiritual seekers everywhere to either develop or rekindle a relationship with Jesus Christ and to always remember that He is with us-no matter what comes our way in life. "This is an amazing story of God's faithfulness, love and incredible miracles in the life of His faithful child. ... Marriott is a real woman with real heartaches and triumphs. Her life story will touch many, many hearts ..." - Amy McGuire, author of the Heart's Discovery


1 I Never Stopped Loving You “Marriott, I don’t know who your father is,” my mother sobbed over the phone. “I wanted to call you about this, not write.” It was the first time I had ever heard my birth mother’s voice. Months before her call, I had read a “Dear Abby” article which mentioned an organization matching people seeking relatives lost through adoption. Consequently, I had written a casual note to Adoptee’s Liberty Movement Association. I mentioned my birth date and place and wondered if they could help me. Meanwhile, my birth mother, “Mom”, had returned a detailed questionnaire to A.L.M.A. Was this a possible match, A.L.M.A queried? Since my information was sketchy, they suggested to Mom that she contact me directly to see if I was in fact her birth child. Trembling with disbelief, I skimmed her first letter and then read it in earnest. “Dear Marriott,” she began. “This is, beyond a doubt, the most important letter I have ever written in my life.... So here I am, Marriott, hoping and praying that you are my birth child.... Hope to hear from you real soon, and if you are my birth child, I would like you to know I never stopped loving you, and praying that you were well and happy!” I couldn’t believe it. Could this woman really be my mom? What is she like? Why did she give me up? Who was my father? I replied immediately to her questionnaire and waited impatiently for her response. Two weeks passed; nothing. Was I harboring false hope? Were we a match? My heart leapt when her plump letter arrived. I knew instantly she had to be my birth mom. She began: “You are so right! the Lord did want us to get together! YOU ARE MY BIRTH CHILD, MARRIOTT!!” A myriad of questions, pictures, clippings, and a postmarked envelope that she had sent to the doctor who delivered me spilled from the envelope. Although that was proof enough for me, we later discovered there would be no mistaking our mother-daughter resemblance. When we first met, we both had the same hair color, the same hair style even down to the part, and the same smile. I couldn’t respond fast enough with the long list of questions I had for her. the identity of my birth father was the first of many. Mom sobbed over the phone, preparing to tell her story for only the second time. the first was just days before to her husband. She had been seventeen, beautiful but tomboyish, a late bloomer and naive with men. At Saturday’s school dance, her date was a basketball player from another high school that she had met at a school game. He planted a kiss upon her and wanted more. She resisted. Several days later, determined to get what he wanted, he brought two fellow basketball players with him to her house. Having always felt secure with her physical strength, and being totally unaware of their intentions, she foolishly allowed them into her unchaperoned home. All three cruelly raped her. Her mother had died when she was twelve and she was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell her father what had happened. Months passed with no periods. Mom didn’t realize this could be a sign of pregnancy but thought instead she might have an infection. A girl friend suggested a public health clinic to have it checked out. Embarrassed and alone, she avoided the stares and hushed whispers between the nurses and doctor. What were they so secretive about? Then the jolting news. She was four months pregnant! What would she do? She fled to her older sister, who in turn told her father. He knew a family doctor who would perform an illegal abortion. Abortion! She cringed at such a thought. She felt that to destroy her baby would be murder but keeping me was out of the question. My mom and her father were not on speaking terms, due to earlier abuse, and so she never told him about the rape. She listened in silence as he accused her of promiscuousness. Instead of aborting me, she registered with the Salvation Army maternity home program. This involved working as a live-in housekeeper in several different homes until a few weeks before her anticipated delivery. Then Mom stayed in the maternity home where I was born. She never saw me until several months later just before signing the final relinquishing papers. “It was the hardest thing I ever did,” Mom later told me. “I knew it would be best for you but the emptiness in my arms was unbearable.” It was only after she and her husband had their first child six years later that the sight of other babies didn’t provoke a flood of tears. While Mom was adjusting to her decision, my new parents were tremendously thrilled about adopting their first child and only daughter. They had tried unsuccessfully for eleven years to have a baby. Just two months after I was adopted, my new mother discovered that she was pregnant! I grew up in a home with mostly good childhood memories. Although they weren’t Christians yet, God taught me many valuable lessons through them. They made sure that they dropped us off for Sunday school weekly until we were finished with sixth grade. I learned not to talk with my mouth full. I learned that money can’t buy happiness. My parents were able to afford an expensive girl’s school for me, but of my forty-one classmates, very few remained married to her first husband until death. I also learned to make my bed daily, wash dishes, and cook recipes acquired from our weekly housekeeper to earn a few Girl Scout badges. Throwing rocks at passing cars, brushing the dog’s teeth when he’s growling, and chopping down banana trees with a hammer were added to my mental list of no-no’s. I had grandparents that loved the stuffings out of me, and I was exposed to Jesus from the same. Hearing my story, Mom felt gratitude to the Lord that my situation worked out so well. Even though the circumstances of her pregnancy were brutal, she said she saw me as a living testimony that God can bring good from any situation since I was placed in an adoptive family where I became the first believer in Jesus. Because I believed, my adopted mom accepted Christ; and my adopted father had the chance to receive Him. My brother accepted Him two weeks before he died at age thirty-six, and numerous cousins also accepted Christ. Because my parents could afford to send me to college, I met my wonderful husband, John, at University of Oregon. I was happily married for twenty-three years before the Lord welcomed my husband home (more on John later), and have had the joy of adding seven children to my family. Many people, who otherwise may have never heard, have come to God through our witness. What the rapists meant for evil, God turned into good. I even attempted to contact one of the potential birth fathers by e-mail, since Mom had kept tabs on him. He was the first to attack her, and his career as a physician made him easy to track. Because God had forgiven me of my wrong doings, such as stealing, lying, not honoring my mother, and more, my softened heart forgave him for his callous disregard for Mom’s well-being. (His mother had contacted Mom when she was pregnant to get her to sign denial of paternity papers, so he was aware of her condition. Mom signed the papers because she was asked. His mother proffered a green dress suit as a sort of peace offering.) In my first e-mail, I asked if he was so and so from a certain high school. He responded quickly and revealed the nickname he had when he was attending there. So I drafted a rather lengthy e-mail that went something like this:

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