BUT….this little girl knows what she is singing about….it is showing in her motions! Watch!
Ya’ll have a great weekend! I will get another post ready for you! Love you all!
BUT….this little girl knows what she is singing about….it is showing in her motions! Watch!
Ya’ll have a great weekend! I will get another post ready for you! Love you all!
There are some things we know because we know. There are other things we have faith and believe without ever seeing or knowing.
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT
Wanda had that kind of faith. She prayed to be healed. Believed with all her heart He could heal. Had witnessed other healings. Yet never once did I ever hear her complain nor whine that He had healed someone other than herself. Other’s healing simply gave her more hope of what He could do for her. However, just because she didn’t seem to question God did not mean that I didn’t. For I tell you straight up I did. I wondered. I wanted to know why someone with the kindest most gentle heart and ways was stricken with such a condition that she could not even make up her own bed without having to rest. The simple task of clearing a table and cleaning the kitchen simply took her breath away. Not in the good way. Not in the way a tender look from the man you love. Not in the way a tub filled with hot bubbly water after a horribly long day at the office.
During the first stay in the hospital for Wanda, it seemed to go on and on. I was impatient. I had plans. Wanda and I were going to begin the new Beth Moore Bible Study with our ladies at church, “Steppin’ Up.” Together. Side by side. Just as we had for the last 3 years. I refused to see the reality of what was happening. I cried when I wasn’t there at the hospital–almost constantly. When I drove to work, when I went home. Every time I was alone—I let it all out to God. He knew without doubt where I stood on the situation.
We drove the 3 1/2 hour trip to the hospital both Fridays. Stayed as long as possible through the weekend. On the second trip down, Mark had to leave to take care of some home and work issues. Aimee, Jeff and I stayed with Wanda. Actually, we sent Jeff back to the motel and we had a mini-sisters-retreat! It was not the kind we would have loved to have, but it would do in a pinch. We prayed. I read aloud to them. Aimee buffed Wanda’s nails and put lotion on her hands and feet, we watched old “good” TV shows and we watched Wanda breathe. That was the tough part. It was hard to watch her struggle. The fluid was not coming off as they wanted. In the building of the fluid, it was impacting her lungs. Squeezing. But we didn’t talk about it. Instead we talked about the Bible Study. Or certain Scriptures. Or cooking.
I remember asking Wanda what her favorite verse was. It was Psalm 27:14. But she couldn’t remember the words exactly. Nor where it was found exactly. So we began a big search. When we couldn’t find it…we called the “preacher”. Aimee’s husband. Actually, Mark is a minister too, but we knew he was busy…(Juno was as well…but it was easier). When we found it, Aimee wrote it on the dry erase board that the nurses used to keep up with Wanda’s intake and output.
On the Saturday evening, we were trying to decide what we wanted to do for supper. There were plenty of restaurants in Gainesville, and we were “thinking” of Olive Garden. We had asked Wanda—“what do you feel like you would enjoy eating?” Not a hard question for her—she loved Olive Garden! So we got an order together, and called it in. I still have the paper that Aimee used from one of my notebooks where she, as a very sweet and pretty waitress took our orders! Then Jeff was sent off to grab our grub!
Wanda waited in anticipation. She had not had anything “good” to eat for days. She had lost a bit of fluid and Aimee order her items with no salt. Even the garlic bread was ordered plain. No butter, no salt. When the meal arrived, we all enjoyed it immensely! Then settled back to watch Fly Wheel on the little DVD player that Mark had left.
When Mark arrived and we told him what we had been doing and how well Wanda had done with her intake-output, he seemed skeptical at first. I don’t know that I have ever seen anyone–much less a man—with as much love and concern over every detail of care for another human being. I don’t know for sure if he would have gone the route of Olive Garden food—but she enjoyed it so much–that smile and pleasure was memorable to watch!
The test came the next day. How would the food affect her….but you know…I think ‘ole Mark was surprised. She did very well.
With each battle of fluid gain and strength loss, we prayed hard. Adjustments were made in her medication—and little baby step progress would show up. She wound up having to receive blood. Right now, I can’t remember how many units for the first stay, I think maybe 2, but possibly it was 3. On those times, which lasted for several hours, we prayed constantly. There were so many risks involved.
Then the Friday came that Aimee and I were going alone to stay with her so that Mark could come home to take care of a major event at work. Aimee and I both took off early from work so that we would arrive in Gainesville before dark. Neither one of us relished the idea of driving at night. We were all packed up. With of course, way too much stuff. If you know Aimee at all, you know she had packed way more shoes than she would wear. If you know me at all, you know I packed enough books that I’d never read them if I had a month to do so!
We had just gotten the last item loaded, were headed to the store for gas and “coffee”—(for the drive) and we got a call. “We’re coming home!”….We….best word I had heard all day! In several weeks!
So…instead of heading to Gainesville, Aimee and I headed straight for Wanda’s house to take down the Christmas, cook them supper and generally clean up a bit! I just have to mention this before I let you go…as we put things away, cleared the table of mail, I couldn’t help but notice how, even in the jumble of things, there was still that orderly fashion of the way Wanda was. All kitchen cabinets were organized. The drawers too! Mine is not nearly so orderly!
When I heard the door bell ring, I thought it must be Charlie to check on the oxygen tank. It was. We hugged. We talked. He checked the machines. We told him the approximate time she would be home from the hospital. When he left we returned to our duties. Aimee had the chicken and rice well underway. I had taken care of the stacks of mail. The Christmas cards and little toys from a busy little girl. Ding-Dong. The news was probably getting out—she was coming home! I opened the door and there stood the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. All in the not quite 5 foot frame of our dear Wanda. That look is one I won’t forget. Ever.
We ushered her in and got her situated so she could watch Aimee in the kitchen and be involved in her household again.
If you have any imagination at all, you will see that the frail, even crispy slices of this tree resembles the fragile dollar bill. Yes. You heard me right.
Actually for two little girls, who had never even held a dollar bill, these pieces of crepe myrtle tree trunk fit the bill for us playing “store keepers”, selling watermelons by the road side at our grandmother’s house in the summer. To be more precise, it was “Mamo’s house”.
The road was the very old fashioned kind. Simple sand and clay mixture. Just plain dirt. As we stood in the shade of the crepe myrtle tree, the idea of using the curling, pieces of tree bark as paper money seemed ideal to the two little girls under the age of 6.
Outside, near the kitchen window, Mamo had a very primitive old wooden bench. The bench was quickly transformed everytime we came to visit into a cook top for Wanda and me. We cooked in a tin can with water, everything from flower petals to fresh grass clippings, adding a little dirt as a substitute for salt and pepper for taste. No, we did not “really” taste it…we just imagined it. Drawing imaginary houses in the dirt with a stick, we imagined that our houses were large and that we lived close to one another.
As adults, only parts of the childhood dreams came true. While our houses were not large, we finally were able to live near one another. For over 3 years, ending this past February, I enjoyed the ability to be at her house within 5 minutes if needed. But the talking on the phone was a constant. Everyday at work and every almost afternoon while going home. Wanda called both me and Aimee. It’s sweet and funny how our conversations always wound up to one big question. Almost every single day. “What are you cooking for supper?”
Sharing recipes and ideas for organizing was a constant topic of conversation between us girls. It was these sweet memories that traipsed around in our heads and hearts as the days went by.
At Christmas in 2007, which in my mind seems like just a few weeks ago, Wanda’s coloring was not good and her breathing was labored. I looked at her when they came into our house for our Christmas Eve Family Supper, and without the medcial training my sister, Aimee has, I knew there was something very wrong. Wanda had oxygen at home to assist her, even had a portable tank, but she didn’t want to be treated as if she was having problems. She wanted to be normal. And be treated normal. No extra attention. An oxygen tank would cause others to treat her “special”. Wanda didn’t want that.
After supper we had prayer and sharing, as is our tradition. We prayed long for Wanda. Mother stood before us and described the feelings and prayers that the LORD had woke her with in the wee hours of several mornings in the past few days. “Family, you will need to be on your knees more than you ever have before, if you intend to make it in these last days. We will face things harder than we’ve ever faced. It will take prayer. But family, the LORD reminded me to anchor to HIM—the Anchor holds.”…those words rang over and over in my heart and mind for many days. Still they do almost weekly. The Anchor holds.
To be continued…
P.S. I am trying to keep them short enough to read quickly. I figured if they were too long….you’d be late for work! (Like me!)
Thank you Brenda—your encouragement helps me more than you will ever know. I am just a plain old country girl—but God is teaching me MANY things as I journey with Him…holding tightly to His hand.
Click on the collage to see the pirates and their trusty ships. They were watching Veggie Tales Pirate movie on Saturday morning…since I had not seen it before, I rather enjoyed it with them. However, Nana did NOT sit in a pirate ship. I sat on the couch. (I don’t think I could have fit into one of the ships….)
Now, I did want to say this to my sweet readers…while I am writing several posts about my sister, Wanda, I don’t want the entries to seem depressing to anyone…I would rather it be as a stroll—-taking the arm of a friend—laughing when it’s funny—and yes, we may shed a tear or two. But I am just sharing my heart—as I have not been able to do.
God has brought me very far. Very, very far indeed. God bless you and have a blessed weekend!
Standing by the window, high up on the fifth floor of the hospital in Central Florida, looking out at a day that was sunny and bright. Behind me though, coming in fast, were dark clouds of life. I could sense them in my spirit. They were threatening. The driving force was death. But our driving force was Life. And faith.
Just behind me lay Wanda, with mother by her side and Aimee seated in a chair at the foot of the bed. We were listening to praise music from a CD I had made especially for Wanda with some of her favorite songs. Songs we had sung, learned, and worshipped our Lord at our last Sister’s Retreat.
“We have come to worship the Lord, we have come to worship the Lord, bow down before Him, love and adore Him, we have come to worship the Lord.”
Although, the words were not exactly true, in the sense that the reason we were at the hospital, was to worship the Lord; however, they were true in the fact that we have learned to worship Him in all circumstances. This was not an easy circumstance in which we found ourselves. Nevertheless, we worshipped. Turning the small hospital room into a veritable temple of God.
As our tears flowed, and my mother’s hands rose toward heaven, I knew without a doubt that God’s heart was touched. It was this picture of faith and worship, that Mark brought Victoria in to love on her mommy. She was such a brave girl. Even at the young age of “almost” five, she knew there was something seriously wrong with mommy. Yet, she put on a brave face and smiled as she leaned down with daddy’s strong arms holding her tight she kissed mommy’s cheek.
Wanda felt that kiss and her tired face smiled up at her sweet girl. I know her heart ached. Even more than ours did. She knew in her heart she would soon be leaving the care and raising of this little child to other hands and hearts. It would not be her hands that tucked her in at night, nor her ears that heard her prayers. But she had an incredible faith in God and complete trust in Him to see the job done.
More to come…
Be sure and click on the collage for enlarging the photos!
In the coming days and weeks, I may disappear for a day or two. Don’t be alarmed. I am preparing for February. I’m not setting myself up for more grieving, rather for being thankful for all that God has shown me through the past year. Actually, for the past several years.
Our life journey took a rather sharp curve last February. The vehicle of our lives tipped and is still righting itself. But God still drives. Last January, I shared a bit about the difficulty my sister, Wanda, was having before she left this life for her eternal life in heaven on February 12.
I posted a bit more during our struggle with what was going on…and many of you prayed for us and with us during those hard days of life. We learned that “praising Him in the storm” was indeed, the hardest walk of our faith yet. But praise Him is what we did. For we trusted in Him alone. Wanda had already outlived all the expectations by all of her doctors by about 24 years! What faith she had!
Then during that time, Aimee and I started the Sisters of Faith site. We were blessed this past year by several sweet sisters in Christ that joined us in an incredible Bible Study called, 90 Days with Jesus the One and Only! I have felt the sweetness of the Holy Spirit in my own life and seen what He can do when I give Him full access and total control. Too often I try and control things…but I am learning…
For the past few weeks, my heart and mind has traveled back to last year. I don’t want you to feel obligated to click on each link and read it, but if you are new to my blog, then you might want to know a bit more about this journey of Trust that we have walked. Wanda had an extreme trust in God. Incredible faith. Strong heart.
So, sisters, if I can impose upon you to endure a few entries about our last few days with Wanda, and then the days that followed her home going, I will share with each of you what inspires me to keep on going —sharing—telling—writing. For HIM.
We begin tomorrow.
Wasn’t sure I’d make it. Not to today…but here. I am very thankful for the physical miracle in a dear nephew. God is working on his heart. Yeah God! God is working on his body. Yeah God! God is always working. When we can’t see with our physical eyes…I need to remember—look with the spiritual eyes.
I am thankful for traveling mercies, groceries, electricity, heat when needed and cool air when wanted. I am thankful for family. Children and grandchildren. Parents, siblings, grandparents, friends and other family. I am thankful that when we have a need…God is there. AND He sends angels when we need to see or hear with the physical.
“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. “ Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
I am thankful beyond words that I belong to HIM! I wish I could tell you the whole story…but today, time does not permit. And it’s not over yet. He is still working. And we are still praying and believing for all the prodigals to come home.
Be sure and visit Iris for more thankful hearts!
Have you ever seen such a grand display of God’s glorious brush strokes?
Hand painted daily especially for you and me.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God,the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…” Isaiah 43:1(b)-3(a)
Have you ever had one of those days (weeks, months, years?) where you needed reminding of HIS great love for you? Of His infinite care and concern over every detail of your life? I have had those times….and when I look up into the sky and He shows me pictures like this….I am reminded. He knows how I love His colors…I love it when He shows off!