Wednesday, January 27, 2010

'Give it up and let Jesus take over'

Have you ever had a "near miss". Whether it is a car passing too close or a slip where you almost fall; a near miss can leave your heart pounding.

The circumstance determines the outcome of its effect on your life. This morning, I took inventory--I had a near miss of what I felt to be life or death.

Starting the day as usual, a stabbing pain suddenly hit me in the back and went to the front of my chest. It took my breath, brought me to tears and screaming for help.

My husband came to my immediate aid. We began to call on the Lord. With tears rolling down my face, not only did the pain grip my chest, but so did fear.

Suddenly, I felt unsure about leaving this earth and meeting my Saviour, Jesus. Crying out to Him, I was ashamed at my reluctance. Realizing that I wanted to see my children and grandchildren again.

Saddened by the thought that I might not be able to say I love you to all the people in my life again. My husaband on his knees praying for God's mercy and intervention through tears of his own. We both knew it was serious.

In a few minutes time the pain lessened, but I was left feeling weak, very, very weak. Wisdom would say I should have gone--and probably still should--go to the doctor, I decided to remain at home.

I wanted to take the time to "get it together" with the Lord and my life. Things I thought I had already done. I want to be ready at any moment to let this world go. To do that, I must seriously turn all my concerns, responsibilities and wordly goods to Jesus.

If you have not already, allow me to encourage you today; be ready. Ready to trust the Lord with our loved ones and our lives.

I'm working on making sure of something I already thought I knew. As one of my favorite songs reads: "give up and let Jesus take over", I realize I must apply the words to my heart.

God's Blessings my friends! I love you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The dawing of a new day

It was a long drive--19 hours--from our home to reach our daughter who was in premature labor. We did not have a cell phone, so about halfway through the trip, we stopped at a pay phone to call and check in with my son-in-law. The blustery cold wind bit at my face and hands as I held the phone close to hear what he had to say.
My entire body went numb as he was crying and kept saying over and over again, "she is retarded".
Madison was the first girl born to our family, we had three grandsons.

After what seemed like an eternity, 10 hours after that phone call, we drove into the hospital parking lot. It was the dawning of a new day. The gray skies allowed purple hues to peek through and streak across the sky.

I whispered one more prayer, "God give me strength". Strength to encourage and uplift my daughter, my son-in-law, my grandson and my new granddaughter. Strength to face what lie ahead and strength to trust Him for this gift.

Upon entering my daughters room, she appeared happy, in an odd kind of way. A smile that was foreign to me seemed glued in place amidst sunken muscles and her furrowed brows, which formed a look of despair and sadness on her beautiful face. A sadness and confusion so deep that I had never seen before or since. Embracing her, I told her how proud I was of her and how much I loved her. Reassuring her that things would be just fine, because God does all things well. She seemed to melt, and began to sob as she lay her head on my shoulder.

It was time to visit Madison. We entered the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and geared up on our sterile wear. We were led by two empathic nurses to where she lay in an incubator. I was numb again. She was so small, so innocent, so helpless. We were able to put our hands through gloves affixed to the incubator and touch her.

The doctor joined us at her side and began to explain that Madison was born with a rare genetic disorder, Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). She quoted--very matter of fact--the statistics regarding survival and all the other pertinent information about symptoms, complications and the like. All which went in one ear and out the other.

Madison Hope Kennedy was beautiful. She was perfect. I could find no defect in her. Later the nurses had to point out the obvious outward signs of CdLS, but I just could not see them.

I remained behind when my husband and son left, so I could help Michelle, James, Dylan and Madison get adjusted in their home. Madison had to be fed through a feeding tube, one that we had to insert through her nose at every feeding.

As the days and nights passed, they turned into weeks, then months. It was time for me to go home. Madison Hope Kennedy was almost three months old.

James and Michelle did a fine job with her. I had trouble readjusting the "normal" life in which I was accustomed, because of the intimacy of caring for this beautiful girl. One day when James and I had trouble getting the feeding tube in Madison's nose, we laughed at our clumsiness. Then he made an admission to me. He said he did not understand at first why God allowed this to happen, but after caring for Madison, he said he felt honored to be trusted with such a gem. He told me he used to look at handicapped people less favorably and this was a challenge for him personally and spiritually. He said through this experience God showed him how special the parents and people are that take care of these precious special people.

Less than one month after our talk, and my return home, God took Madison Hope Kennedy home to be with Him.

I was not there when she passed away, I was not meant to be.

Michelle and James believe God gave them Madison, as a gift so they could grow spiritually, personally and physically stronger. A precious jewel for such a time in each of our lives. She sparked light, laughter and happiness in all of us.

I thank God upon my every remembrance of her. He does all things well at the dawning of a new day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I was once one of 'those'

The "holidays" are past and now we are moving into a new year.

I am thankful for the time of reflection of our Kings birth--Jesus--as we celebrated Christmas. The gift He gave us through His birth, death and resurrection can never be matched. Because of this great gift, we can have life everlasting, with Him.

As we embark on our journey into the new year, many people feel excitement, because all things seem new. Old opportunities become fresh again, and dreams are in full color. Most begin to plan in the last few months of the "old" year about what to do differently in the new.

This year I am purposing to draw closer to my Lord and serve Him with fervency. To do so requires sacrifices of time, energy and finances. Weighing the odds of materialism versus spirituality is vital in achieving this purpose.

There are those who woke up January 1, 2010 still on the park bench or in the card board box they lay down in December 31, 2009. Or the single mom with track marks throbbing from near infection due to dirty needles. Her baby lying next to her or in another room needing food and a change. Perhaps they too, awoke with hope that this year would bring a fresh start for them. But, somehow it seems impossible.

As Christians we are commissioned to reach out to those around us and tell them of the good news of Christ Jesus. There is hope in the hopeless and help for the helpless through Jesus. As a result of my reflection this season, and my pointed purpose; when weighing the odds, the scales tipped in the favor of pursuing the Lord with my whole heart, mind and soul.

You see, I was once one of "those" who woke up in the park on a crisp Janaury morn. My hope quickly dashed by despair, then I met a man named Jesus.

Someone reached out to me and told me about the only hope. How about you? Will you reach out this year, this day, this week or month to someone near you and offer them the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ?

Photo: http://creativecommons/flickr/decafinata