Category Archives: Memories

2011 Gifts

100_3876If I had all night, I could not begin to share with you all the gifts God laid over into our lives this year.  You might be thinking gifts as in “$$”.  But I’m not.  I’m thinking “delights”. 

Things that really get me excited, the hand clapping, giggly sort.

 

I will share through a few pictures. I think it will explain it best.around the corner

While we were in Ohio at a conference, the LORD brought me a present.  Amazing gift God gave me—just because I love snow.  (It was not predicted to snow…but I asked—and He gave.)

 

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This praying group of men put a roof on our house.  Just because they LOVE THE LORD.  And they love to serve Him by blessing others.  They blessed us that day.

 

 

100_3721There were so many spectacular sunsets that took my breath away.  But this one looked as if you could “touch” the land on the other side of the setting sun.  That is totally untouched photo.

 

 

 

There were birds that flew and came close.  There was the sighting of a turtle crossing the road and it reminded me of my friend, “B” The Turtle Girl.

2011-07-24 She Speaks 2011 010There was a wonderful meeting of girl friends who love Jesus more than anything else in this whole wide world…and there was the meeting with my friend from Canada (she has many who call her friend), Ann Voskamp the author of “One Thousand Gifts”.

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There were meals throughout the year with dear friends—most I claim as family. Those were special times of fellowship and most always growing in the Lord. 

One special morning—God paid us a visit in March at our daughter, Tiffany’s house when our youngest daughter, April and I went to spend some “daughter-sister” time—and special prayer time. 

100_3246Common Grounds.  What God started in January of this year still makes me ask Him, “why me?”  I am thankful for Vanessa and Angela—the 2/3 of this team that saw the need and had a vision from God to do “all we can” with all we have—for the rest of our days.

Common Grounds is a blessing and gift.  God has met us there in that place of surrender to Him—as we come to seek HIM and pray and read His word.  There’s no time for “food”—even though it has been provided each time—no one eats.  Except to partake of what Christ Jesus brings us through His word.

 

2011-05-20 Birds at Connies 005

There was bird watching from my dear friend, Connie’s porch…and sharing God’s Word—and His heart for each believer…

Thank you Connie—for being that “persuader” for many that causes us to study God’s Word for ourselves—and then BELIEVE what His Word says!

 

 

2011-07-14 Youth Camp 2nd week 004There was my learning experience as a Camp Cook (helper to the awesome Camp Chef Donece—who taught me TONS in the kitchen this  year!)  That was QUITE a good experience!

 

 

 

These are ALL blessings—GIFTS that God laid over into my lap and heart—and many that I even may have missed—simply because I was “too busy”.

Family is the sweetest blessing…and I count my darling husband, Jeff—as my number one blessing from God.

100_3165Jeff lead an amazing group of people to Bolivia where we were able to do many things for Jesus.  I was blessed to witness first hand God at work in and through my sweet husband.

Jeff also lead two teams to north Alabama on Disaster Relief Missions.  I was unable to go on this trip—but heard countless testimonies of all that God did through the individuals while they were there as the “hands and feet of Christ”.

I am forever changed by the experiences of this year….and you only have seen a grain of what has happened in our lives.

I am forever grateful for God for all that He performed, all that He allowed—because through the hard things that was allowed—I saw His love and mercy extended—and I grew.

One delight—that completely amazed and stunned me—was the duck. IMG-20110503-103 There is a story about her, which I have shared in person—with bits and pieces on the blog—but that was a “God visit” day.  All over the place—and even thinking of the duck now, makes me shake my head in amazement and hot tears burn my throat.

We would be here all night if I kept going through the year.  I saw—and experienced some amazing things in my journey of my 49th year.  I can hardly imagine how God plans to top this coming year—

What have you seen—or experienced in 2011?  I hope you kept a journal.  Or some pictures to track your tracks….as you follow Christ until He comes.

I started to just list the section of Scripture that I wanted to share—but instead, I’m sharing the whole of it.  2 Corinthians 4.  The Lord used this passage to speak a special message to me in 2007…and He is still speaking.

2 Corinthians 4  1Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

All I can say….what’s next Lord?

I join countless others and say—I’m Yours.  Do what is best—and may You alone be glorified.

Giving HIM all.

Angie


A New Day–A New Friend!

Hey folks!

I just have to stop my house cleaning long enough to tell you a story.

I met the most incredible hearted woman on Wednesday!  Her name is Rene (rhymes with dream).  She is one lady who absolutely puts action behind her words–and the blessings follow!  She has a few blogs–but the one I want you to read is the one about her mission and heart today.  “The Faith Diva Society”.
I know your heart will be blessed when you get to know this incredible “sister of faith”.  We had a mini-retreat in her home on Wednesday night, after hearing an amazing story of how God brought unexpected lives together“Same Kind of Different As Me”, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  They tell an inspiring story of two unlikely friends.  But God. . . .

As Connie, Rene and I sat in the living room around the fire place, we shared our hearts and Christ’s story in our lives.  How amazing is our God!  A sweet retreat!

Thank you Rene for opening your heart and home to me–I am forever changed by meeting you–a heart that is continuously seeking “what” you can do for others.  You don’t just talk about it or dream about it–you “do” it. Without regard to yourself and what it might cost you.  God smiles every time He sees you step into action, and says, “Okay people, watch out! Here comes My Rene!”

I won’t include all the pictures because Connie and I get a bit carried away, but I will share a few! 

Thank you Connie girl for an amazing trip–complete with mentoring time!

My purple hat from Rene!

 One of Rene’s many blue butterflies…there is a story in the blue butterflies.  Click on her name at the top of this post to read about them.
Looking at the back porch of Rene’s house.  Donetta, you would LOVE this place!

Little Miss Luckey.  And that is exactly what she is.  Deaf now, and almost 16 years old, she keeps Rene company and loves her dearly.  A treasure from heaven!

 Sitting by the fire, sharing Jesus, laughs and a tear or two.


One last thing….if you have a dream…or a vision of what God wants to do in your life, or through you….             you must first……

© The Knightly News 2007-2010



Keep Coloring

“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

As Aimee was driving home one day following the conversation Mark had with Victoria, she began to do something we both do while driving on a daily basis – talk to the Lord.

Victoria’s words kept ringing in her ears, “Daddy, I can’t see the lines”. With her own eyes flooded with tears, she began to cry out to the Lord. Prayerfully, her heart repeated, “Father, I can’t see the lines”. As she wiped her eyes and as her heart ached inside her chest with such an unspeakable pain, Aimee knew she would miss Wanda, and the sharp reality of losing Wanda was almost more than she could bear. More than any of us could bear.

“Lord, I can’t see the lines on this road”, was Aimee’s heart cry that day. There have been many battles—where we have each one been so blinded by the tears in our eyes and the undeniable pain in our hearts that we simply can’t see the lines to stay straight in the road. We ask many times, “what are You doing here God. None of this makes any sense”.

On that day, while traveling that road, Aimee heard the still small voice speak in her heart these words, “Daughter, it’s okay. Just keep coloring”.* God calms the aching heart we just have to listen. His Word is the balm for the hurting soul. We just have to read it. His love is ever reaching, ever loving–and ever offering all the hope we need to keep trusting. We just have to accept it.

When you reach a place, in the picture of your life where things just don’t seem to make sense, keep coloring.

When you are trying to do everything you know to do, and you are unsure of the “outcome”, keep coloring.

When you are on the road that you have never traveled before, maybe it’s the road of severe circumstance, keep going.

Don’t stop.

Do the necessary.

Keep trusting.

Stay on the believing path.

Adjust your mirrors if you must, and wipe your eyes if necessary. But, don’t stop. He will help you see the lines. Just keep coloring, and soon God’s picture will glow in brilliant colors for you.

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*The conversation with the Father was shared to me by Aimee. She has a gift for sharing God’s love–just as she has received it…freely. She writes devotional blogs on the Sisters of Faith site….when she has time. As busy wife, mother, and pastoring along side her husband, she juggles her job as a nurse and weekend Sunday School Teacher, amid all the hustle bustle of church life. Thank you Aimee for being the best baby sister anyone could ever dream up!

Copyright © 2008 Angie Knight, author of The Knightly News. All rights reserved.


The Choosing of the Purple

It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:32 NKJV I Thessalonians 4:13

Standing in the living room of the home Mark and Wanda had created, the very breath of Wanda seemed to permeate every object. For each object in the room was strategically placed by her hands, creating a place of comfort and love for Mark and Victoria, the two people she called her own.

Mark had asked Aimee and me to help him select things for Wanda to wear for her funeral service. While we were honored to do this last task for Wanda, we had no idea how we would feel as we performed such a heartbreaking duty.

Peering into her tidy closet felt like an invasion of privacy. To break the painful silence, we began to discuss Wanda’s personality and neatness. The closet was a perfect snapshot of the life she led. While her closet was orderly and organized, it was not confining or obtrusive. That is to say, while it was organized, it was not obsessively so. The only obsession you could attribute to Wanda, with absolute certainty, would be her faith in God and her family.

As we looked through her dresses and began to discuss what we thought of as we recalled how Wanda looked the last time we saw her with this or that on, my eyes fell on the dress of ivory. Hanging at the very end, shrouded in plastic, the ivory gown she wore at her wedding spoke like a banner waving of love and joy. For the most important day of her life, she had created that simple gown with her own hands. Wanda was not a flashy dresser, but chose the simple clean cut lines of all her clothes. To the casual observer, Wanda would exude simple elegance. As a matter of fact, Aimee and I discussed that as we both stood in her closet.

I clamped my jaw tight on the tears that threatened to pour from my heart. “This”, I said to myself, “would be cried over later. Not now.” For now, there was the business of us getting things ready for Mark to take to the funeral home.

So, with stoic posture, we carried out our duty in the bedroom of our sweet sister. We both decided Wanda’s purple suit was the perfect attire for our sister’s final journey. Purple was her favorite color, and it seems that even before she died, I had been inexplicably drawn to this color, a color I, myself, have rarely worn. We discussed the fact that purple was a color which reflected royalty. She was indeed in the very presence of Royalty. And being a daughter of the King making her journey to rest in His court by His side, she deserved no less than her very own purple!

Her jewelry box was next. We didn’t find much there. She generally wore only a few select pieces of jewelry that were gifts from Mark. Wanda was not much for outward glitter or glam. Instead, her jewels were in her heart and soul. We chose a simple heart with tiny diamonds and small gold loop earrings, both gifts from her husband, Mark.

Aimee and I chose carefully the clothes that would cover the shell of her spirit, which had left us just a few days past. As we methodically went about our task of selecting the necessary, and adding a few pieces of non-essentials, we did so with little conversation. Our tightly-constricted throats would have burst forth with cries of our own pain, if we had allowed the emotions to unravel. Struggling to hold back the tears that burned behind our eyes and pressed to be unleashed into the evening, we gathered her purple around us.

We carefully laid everything on the bed, as if we were her handmaids, laying out her clothes for the day. At the dresser collecting undergarments, I noted that even there, everything was folded with such a neat precision. I wondered if she kept her drawers so neat- “expecting” someone to rummage through them. My thoughts immediately were drawn to the condition of my own dresser drawers. Was my life “inspectable?” Would it uphold to such scrutiny? If one is honest with one’s self, none of our lives bear well under great scrutiny.

Upon finishing the task, I wanted to linger in the room, hoping by some chance, I could capture a sense of her to hold in my heart for the long days to come. We found Mark in the living room talking quietly with Aimee’s husband, Juno. We told him, “We have finished. Her clothes are ready.”

I suppose part of me assumed he would want to immediately see what we had selected. Instead, he wanted to share with us how he had shared the news of Wanda’s passing with Victoria, their four-year-old daughter. I think we had all been silently praying for Mark, realizing that his task, explaining her mother’s death to Victoria, would be, by far, the most difficult. As we stood looking into the eyes of a brokenhearted man, we waited expectantly, for him to recount the details of their tear-filled conversation.

That conversation is found in the next blog entry. I purposefully posted it yesterday, for it had truly taken place before the night we chose her clothes. I wanted it to flow into the one below for any “new readers”. I imagine that there are no new ones, but I am so thankful that you have each journeyed with me here.

Someone stated to me that although they read faithfully, these tear streaked passages of days, they chose not to comment, for what, after all would there be left to say? “That is quite alright”, I told my friend. To know she loves, cares and prayed along with many of you –for us during the painful days of last year is enough. So dear friend, don’t feel obligated to comment. I love you still!

I heard just last night that the month of February was “heart health” month. How fitting. Wanda’s heart condition was severe, yet no one that I know—took better care of their health than she.

One more to go. I told someone via e-mail today that although these pages would close this chapter, the book of faith would continue on in the legacy of hope, trust and faith that Wanda instilled in Victoria from the beginning. As she grows and learns to lean on the Father for herself, the story of love continues.

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Copyright © 2008 Angie Knight, author of The Knightly News. All rights reserved.


The Hope We Have!

And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. I Thessalonians 4:13

During Wanda’s last days, Mark left Victoria in the care of Kathy Potter, Mark’s Pastor’s wife, for this last trip to the hospital in Gainesville, Florida. The Potters were also the “chosen” paternal grandparents, as both of Mark’s parents were deceased. Victoria had continued to stay with Granddad and Grandma Potter when Mark returned home.

Just hours after Wanda’s passing, the journey home for Mark began. Upon departure from the hospital, Mark called his pastor. The conversation revolved around, not his own sorrow, but instead around Victoria. He had to tell Victoria that her mommy had died. How? What do you say? The conversation between the two would become pivotal.

After more discussion, prayer and thoughtfulness, Mark made the decision of how and what he would say. He arranged to go directly to his pastor’s home where Victoria was. As she ran to him when he arrived, and he hugged her tightly, biting back the tears that were burning to escape, he felt all the love that a father possibly could for a child, and all the heartache that a husband feels when faced with this great loss. That first hug when he entered their home was special, but it would pale in comparison to the embraces yet to come.

As Mark let Kathy know that he was about to talk to Victoria, she went to her room and began to pray for Mark. She prayed not only for God to grant Mark wisdom in explaining to Wanda’s little angel the death of her mother, but also that He spare Victoria as much pain as possible.

As he pulled Victoria onto his lap, face to face he began, while trying desperately to keep as composed as possible for her sake, “Victoria, you know mommy has been very sick.”

Victoria responded quickly, “yes, Can I go see her? I want to go see her!” Her voice and eyes held an urgency that was so strong for a child her age.

With his heart breaking and obvious pain on his face, he replied, “No sweetie, that’s what daddy wants to talk to you about. You know mommy has been very sick and the doctors have tried to help mommy….” Victoria, who adored her mommy interrupted again. “Take me to see mommy! I want to see her!”

The moment was starring him in the face. The news had to be shared. “Sweetheart, listen to daddy. Daddy loves you. The doctors did everything they could, but mommy’s heart couldn’t be fixed. Victoria, mommy died this morning.” Although Mark had spent many hours in prayer over this conversation, the anguish he felt at this moment was unspeakable.

Mark didn’t want to tell Victoria that “God took mommy to heaven”. He believed that might cause her to be angry with God. He didn’t want to tell her that “God needed mommy”, for Victoria was very smart and she knew that she needed her more than God would.

As those words reached her ears, they instantly seemed to penetrate her heart. The sobs and cries of both father and daughter could be heard throughout the house. Mark was not quite prepared for the long heartrending cries of his child. As they held one another, Victoria’s pleas of “I want my mommy!” were the cries of a frightened child, as painful a scene as one can imagine. Time seemed to stand still for the mourning pair. Their world had just been dramatically altered. Life would never be the same.

As the sobs slowed to hiccups and the waterfall of tears to trickles, he wanted to prepare her for the following days as best he could. He began to explain where Mommy had gone. “We know mommy has gone to heaven. She is no longer in her body like we are. Just as we are standing inside this house, when we step outside, all that’s left is an empty house of wood and furniture. Mommy is in heaven, and all that is left here is skin and bones. Heaven is an amazing place. Mommy is seeing people right now that have died before her in heaven. She is completely healed! Mommy can walk up stairs, breathe without her oxygen machine, has a strong heart, and most of all she can see Jesus!”

“We can see mommy again. We may not have to die. Some day soon Jesus will say, “Everyone that loves Me, come up here!” And if we love Jesus, and He lives in our hearts, and we live for Him, we will get to go to heaven, and we will see mommy again!”

Mark could tell there was much activity in his small child’s head. When she spoke again she said, “Daddy, are you going to die?” Even though Mark knew this question would come soon, he wasn’t ready for it right then, but silently prayed, “Lord help me answer well.”

“Yes, honey, I will one day, but people usually die when they are older. Remember mommy was very sick, and the doctors did all they could do.” Mark patiently explained to Victoria what would take place over the next few days.

“When someone dies, we take very good and respectful care of the body that is left. They will put mommy’s body in, what they call a “casket”. Mommy will be all dressed up pretty, and many people will go to the church where the casket will be, and they will hug us and tell us that they loved mommy too.”

As she absorbed this he slowly continued, “The next day they will have a special service for us and everyone will sing and the preacher will talk about how special she was to all of us.”

Continuing in a slow, deliberate manner, Mark asked Victoria if she thought it would be a good idea to place the Valentine’s Day gift she had bought for mommy just days before in the casket. Symbolic of placing their hearts of love inside the casket with mommy, Mark felt the symbolism more important for Victoria than for himself. However, knowing that Victoria might need to “see” something that she had done to help her mommy to be remembered, Mark suggested to Victoria this gift for Wanda’s casket.

With tear-filled eyes, she nodded and then looked away. Knowing Victoria was thinking hard and trying in vain to comprehend, Mark’s heart so filled with a desire to “fix it” for her. He began to wonder if he had overwhelmed Victoria’s little mind with so much information at one time.

Almost as if she understood her father’s dilemma, Victoria turned back to Mark and said, “Yes, and I want to color a picture for mommy. Can I color mommy a Valentine picture?” To keep Victoria’s mind occupied, Mark had purchased a Valentine’s Day coloring book when they had brought Wanda back the gift that Victoria had chosen. I can still remember the enormous amount of strength it took for Wanda to express the obvious joy she felt in receiving something from her darling girl. I can still see the smile she mustered up from within, to make certain her little girl was not alarmed at the drastic changes that the hours had made on her mommy.

Mark told her that would be fine. She jumped from his lap and went in search of her new book. He watched her deliberate movements. She had a job to do. Even then, she seemed to be a focused, mission-minded little girl. Thoughts of “how am I going to do this Lord?” tumbled around his head like the ragged tumbleweed of an old western.

As she settled in at a little table nearby, kneeling on the floor, she began coloring. Tears still in his throat, Mark noticed that as Victoria colored, she was furiously wiping tears from her eyes, in an attempt to keep her vision clear. “Daddy, I can’t see the lines. I want it to be good for mommy.” Still wiping tears that seemed to come from an endless fountain inside her heart, she cried, “Daddy, I can’t see the lines”.

“It’s okay Babe, you just keep coloring”, was his own teary reply. Mark watched her intently as she continued to color and wipe her eyes. Wondering if what Victoria was thinking and feeling, was comparable to his own despair, Mark sat back and waited on Victoria to finish her mother’s final gift.

Victoria finished the picture with great care. It was beautiful. Even the parts that were outside the lines. She then put the final touch to it—signing it. Mark noticed she had written at the top, “To: MOW Love: Victoria”. As she turned, the picture for him to see it completed, he said, “that’s right”. He later confided to Aimee, “You know me, wanting to spell it right, I told her that “Mom” was spelled with an “m” at the end.”

Victoria fixed it, so that it said, “MOWM”. She turned to Mark and said, “Daddy, do you think mommy can see this?” He quickly replied, “Yes, I believe she can!” As she turned and held the picture up to the ceiling, his heart near bursting with the anguish of it all, she then turned back and with tears streaming down her face she said, “She said it was good.”

Mark said, “Yes, Babe, I believe mommy said it was good.” Father and daughter sat and shared their own private moment, as God’s hand, through the eyes of a four-year old girl, started the healing process.

Over an hour had passed when Grandma Potter stepped into the room. You could almost touch the deep pain coming from their hearts, as it seemed to hover like a thick fog. As Grandma Potter was walking toward Victoria, she turned to meet her and said, “Grandma, my mommy died.” With those words spoken from her lips, a sense of God’s presence was evidenced.

After Mark shared this conversation with us, we felt that he had handled it the best way possible. Of course, we couldn’t listen with dry eyes. We found ourselves mopping our own faces as the dam of emotions threatened to explode in our hearts. We knew that God had given him the strength to do and say what was necessary. And that God would help him deal with each day, and each event as each one dawned anew.

Psalm 121:1-4 says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.


Copyright © 2008 Angie Knight, author of The Knightly News. All rights reserved.


Going Home and going home

I can’t go further without thanking someone so dear to our family. Pastor Tommy Moore. We grew up in Carmel Assembly of God Church and raised our family there. There has never, in the history of the Church, been a pastor as caring and protective over his flock as Pastor Tom. Even when the family moves and has to change churches. Thank you Thomas Earl (my name for him), for being the brother-in-Christ that you are—and for loving our family as you do.

Around 10:00 p.m. on Monday night, after much singing, praying and praising the Lord, we sent my husband, Jeff; Aimee’s husband, Juno; and mother’s sweet husband, Grandbuddy (our name for him), to the motel to sleep. Promising to call them with changes. Our home church pastor Tommy Moore, stayed with us. He had driven Juno down after he preached on Sunday and remained by Mark’s side. Tommy and Wanda had graduated high school together and our families are very close.

The monitor numbers had not changed in any significant amount and we felt like it could possibly be days before she (Wanda) left us. Mother, Aimee and I, went around the corner to a little waiting room to pray and get a bit of shut eye. During which time we talked a bit privately, sharing our feelings, sharing some memories that were personal to us and sharing most importantly, that our faith remained in what God decided to do.

A woman that worked in the hospital came in to “play on the computer” and eat her ‘noisy’ snack of potato chips and very smelly burger. Now get this picture with me. The room is fairly large. Has a love seat, some chairs and a square coffee table. On one side there was a work table for patients to do crafts, and on the other side an organ. Books were along one wall for children with a locked cabinet for the craft supplies. The lights were off. We were talking in hushed tones, being the only ones in there, we were in a spiritual mode of resting. Not really able to sleep, but yet, we each arranged our tired bodies as best we could in the chairs, with legs dangling and our heads in odd positions, almost as a hat set askew on our heads, to try and sleep —if sleep would only come.

In our extremely exhausted state, everything was amplified. Every noise. Every click of the computer keys. Did I mention she had potato chips?? We toss. Crunch. We turn—if you can actually ‘turn’ in a chair—Crunch. We look at each other. Crunch. Click Click Click.

I have to be honest with you all here. I was mad. I wanted to scream. I wasn’t necessarily mad at the woman—well—sort of. But I was mad that things were winding up this way. CRUNCH. Mother looked at me. We all sort of took deep breathes. I am certain the woman with her back to us could FEEL the tension in the room. I wanted to scream at her—“Look lady—my sister is dying—right down the hall! COULD YOU PLEASE SHOW A BIT OF RESPECT HERE! COULD YA?” Yes, I wanted to …but no. I didn’t.

I got up several times and went back to the room. (If I didn’t—I would have probably laid that woman out flat.) The sounds in Wanda’s room–brought me back to reality. The sounds of her breathing. In. Out. The tears continually coming down Marks face as he sat there, wiping her mouth or forehead. She never knowing—he always loving. And Pastor Tom. He never left Mark or Wanda’s side. That’s reality. Living and dying. There are always distractions in life (like SweetPea Paula said this week) to get your focus off of what is going on. But we MUST keep our eyes and hearts focused on the bigger picture. WHAT IS GOD DOING in our lives and through the situation. Girls, no matter what it is—how difficult or easy—He has a plan in mind through it all.

Within an hour Tommy text-messaged us to come back. Her heart rate had dropped. But when we entered the room and began talking to one another—asking questions, her heart rate came right back up. We lingered, praying quietly and singing softly. After about another hour, Aimee and I went to the chapel and mother went back to the waiting room to try and sleep. (The noisy chip eater was gone–PTL). We had been in the chapel for about 30 minutes when we got a text from Tommy, come back. We went by and got mother and decided not to call the men yet. We felt they needed to sleep. And—probably—this would be the same thing. Watching the numbers go up and down.

Before we walked in, I took mother’s hand and said to her and Aimee, “let’s be real quiet this time–I think our talking is disturbing her”. So we entered and all knelt around the bed and laid our hands on Wanda. I took one hand, Aimee took the other. Mark had been loving on her sweet face and mother’s hand rested on her leg. We all began to quietly pray. For mercy. For grace. For peace. For the help we needed to let go.

As the tears fell, and we began to release her, I watched the numbers began to change. They started slowly dropping. We felt, more than saw, something spiritual taking place. It was as if a Presence had entered the room and was taking her lovingly by the hand.

As the heart line became straight, I felt in my spirit her take her leave. As a music conductor holds his wand for the high note to be reached, I felt her soar up off that bed and into His waiting arms. In one gentle sweeping motion of the Conductor’s Arm…she was gone. She was healed. She was breathing celestial air…without any help from any breathing apparatus. She was whole. For the first time in her life.

I remember Aimee telling me that as we were kneeling by Wanda’s bed, she glanced at mother, to make sure she was okay—the nurse-daughter instinct. She said that mother’s face held a look of pained intensity—as a woman does when she is pushing with all her might and body to give birth to the life trying so hard to get out. If you think about it in life giving terms—that’s what was happening. Wanda was leaving this shell—this mortal—for that immortal life. She was being birthed into the eternal. And mother was releasing her once again. The bodily fluids lost by mother this time though, were the rivers of tears falling to the bed.

When the nurses came in, in response to the alarm on the monitors, they turned off the alarm and were very tender toward us. They notified the doctor on call and he came quickly. Aimee and I had stepped out of the room briefly to call the sleeping men. We returned just as the doctor pronounced her “gone”. I don’t like the word dead. I didn’t use it then—and I don’t use it now. The dictionary defines “dead” as, no longer living; deprived of life…but she was living! She was FAR FROM DEPRIVED OF LIFE! It was a life that we can not even imagine!

As we stood in the room, waiting for our husbands, we all were praying. You will think this strange—but we were praising the Lord. I know that so many would find that so hard to believe! But God had given us an awesome gift! Wanda’s faith was incredible—and it spread over into our lives in such a wonderful way. As we were standing, with arms raised toward heaven, thanking the Almighty for the gift of mercy and grace—I felt mother touch my back, almost as if she was wanting to get closer. But when I opened my eyes, mother was further down to my left. The touch came from my right. Aimee was across the room on the other side of the bed. I turned around and no one was there. Maybe it was an angel. Maybe it was God’s gentle way of allowing Wanda to say goodbye. I felt His love. More than I can say.

A few hours later, we left the hospital to drive home. Home. What did it mean to me? Surely I would never look at anything the same. Jeff and I drove Mark’s car home. Pastor Tom drove Mark. I sat in the seat that Wanda had just a few days before. I leaned it all the way back to shield my face from passing cars. I wept quietly. As Jeff made a few phone calls, he wept openly. Hardly able to talk at times. That was my total undoing.

I am leaving this post as is. Only minor details were left out. I was glad she didn’t leave on the 11th, for that is Grandbuddy’s birthday. Nor on the 14th…for Mark always celebrated the sweetheart day with much grandeur. Those days needed to retain their good memories. But she left us right in the middle. On the 12th. God knows what is best for all His beloved children. Even when we can’t see His plan for the tears in our eyes…it’s still exists. We must keep trusting. Just as Wanda did. Although she didn’t know the “whys” —she trusted.

So do I.

Today, we leave for vacation. I have 3 more posts regarding this time last year. I will save them until I return. Next week is the 12th. Aimee and I will be together sharing memories of Wanda while we are on vacation. Mother is in Israel. God is working incredibly sweet blessings in Mark and Victoria’s life. They are doing very well. I thank you for all your prayers.

Just in case you are worried about our new baby Lucy—someone will be staying in our house and looking after her. She has been a fun blessing. Oh—maybe you don’t know about Lucy. Well—scroll down until you see the brown-eyed beautiful lab-mix.

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While We Were Waiting

We stayed by her bed. Off and on each taking turns.

The room was small and we went out from time to time to give other family members a minute…but Aimee, mother and I were claiming our place by her side. I was up and down, having trouble sitting still from the back problem I had encountered in November. I would try and walk –never leaving the room for long—fearing what might happen if I did. I was dealing with my emotions as best I could. Aimee, the loving nurse-sister was able to understand more of what was actually going on than the rest of us.

Of course, Mark rarely left her side. Not even for food. When they told us they would do all they could to keep her comfortable, he never left her again. No naps, no food. We brought food into him, he ate some, picked mostly.

I take that back on the no naps. On Sunday night, in a brief 20 minute nap, the man snored so loud while we were keeping watch, that I figured the nurses could hear him. It became quite comical to Aimee and me. Little Wanda never knew. As her body processes began to slow, she had been less “with us” and more “somewhere else” over the past few hours. The minutes ticked by slowly, just watching the monitor and it’s glaring digits.

After her doctor informed us that she was not having any kidney output, and that tests had shown her kidney function had all but ceased, she knew what was next. She was an incredibly loving doctor and had talked to Mark about “releasing” Wanda, and that we each needed to do the same. We in turn, began to go to her and love on her and tell her that it was okay that she left us. It really wasn’t okay with us. But in the deepest part of my heart, I knew that she would be whole again with Him.

So, with tears and severe heartache like we had never before experienced we each did as the doctor instructed. We had been singing to Wanda, songs of praise, like “As Long As I Have Breath…I will praise You Lord”…and other such worship songs. The Presence of the Holy God could be felt. After I spoke to her again, I slipped out of the room to go to the bathroom. I regret my bladder keeping me from hearing her voice for the last time.

On Monday morning, Wanda spoke her last words. Talking had become so difficult—requiring far too much breath and effort. Even today, her words ring in my heart. As she looked up at Mark very solemnly she said, “I don’t understand….(long pause)….we trusted God….(long pause for breath)….but….I still….trust Him“. The last five words were said with a resolute firmness of one who has walked through the fire and seen the reward up ahead.

And trust Him she did. With every single ounce of flesh and blood she possessed. A short while later, she lapsed into a semi-coma like state. We continued to sing over her…we talked about who would be in her “greeting party” upon entering those Gates. Even in our tired delirium, we laughed quite a bit about silly memories, and funny family stories. My sister Aimee kept us in stitches as she shared funny antics of her teenage son.

And then we’d cry.

A whirlwind of emotions. Aimee, mother and I had only been to bed for an hour on Monday afternoon. That evening after much prayer and talking and singing, we felt that it could be another couple of days. Her heart beat was very strong, although she never gained consciousness again.

I told mother, I think Wanda was floating somewhere between her body on the bed and her heavenly destination and she was getting a big kick out of all the singing, stories and laughter. When we looked into her eyes, which could not completely close, we couldn’t see Wanda anymore. I think that even then, she was preparing to leave us soon.

I clung to a sweet memory from when we entered the room that Sunday morning. Aimee was searching for something behind Wanda in the cabinet. I was sitting directly in front of her. She rarely spoke. She had no energy. I searched her face for signs that she completely understood what we said. She did. I asked her a question and got no answer. Just a puzzled look. I asked her again. She looked at me and smiled and said, “I’m thinking.” With a brilliant, sister-shared smile, my eyes filled. I knew that spectacular smile would soon be witnessed by our loved ones who were waiting for her There.

A quick note to my sweet readers. I’m almost done. Just a few more posts. I know some of you were with me last year when all of this happened. I wasn’t able to share this last year. I was too raw. It was too hard. It hurt too bad. Today, the pain is different. I KNOW I will see her again. Perhaps very soon. “No man knoweth the day or the hour the Son of Man cometh”…I intend to be ready. If I can encourage anyone to make sure they have their hearts in tune with God—that you give EVERY thing in your life to Christ—holding nothing back—I ask you to simply examine your life. Talk to the Savior. He’s always ready to listen.

Thank you all for your patience and your comments. I have not had a chance to respond to everyone….but I will. You have all blessed me with your ear and shoulder more than you realize. I love you dear sisters!