I knew from the second I stopped in front of the house I was going
to love interviewing this family.
The house had its own personality and seemed to scream, “Welcome!”
I walked up the brick sidewalk admiring the front porch and
the white swing with bright pillows.
The grapevine wreath on the chocolate front door had a big burlap bow
on it, and before I could even ring the bell, the door opened and
five-year-old Moses Henry Kidane (Kee-don-a) Smith flashed a big smile
and called me “Mrs. Marilyn” as though he had been waiting for me all day.
I was smitten.
Moses was born in Ethiopia. He also has a disability known as
cortical visual impairment. His eyes are healthy, but he sees poorly
due to a neurological malfunction between the visual center of
the brain and the eyes.
Although he is about as bright a child as you will ever meet,
his eyes put him in a “special needs” category.
It was sometime in late 2009 that Jenni and Lee Smith’s faith journey
made a dramatic turn—a radical turn.
It began with what they call “a stirring,” a sense of restless discontent
with the status quo.
Lee’s job as a pharmaceutical salesman had provided well.
A four-year-old son, an almost one-year-old daughter, and a house
with a picket fence—what else was there?
They could have stood up most any Sunday at Pinelake Church
where they were members and testified to their abundant blessings.
As part of a couples’ small group ministry, they were studying
Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love at the time. The book’s subtitle
is "Overwhelmed by a Relentless God."
To say the message transformed their lives, their family’s lives,
and changed all of their plans and priorities barely begins to tell their story.
Marilyn Tinnin is a regular contributor to Mississippi Matters.
To read the rest of this story in Mississippi Christian Living's new Oct. 2017 issue, visit https://mschristianliving.com/2017/columns/jenni-lee-smith-specially-blessed/
or pick up the new issue at any of the hundreds of free distribution sites
where Mississippi Christian Living is found.