Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bloom Where You Stand.

Flowers have a way of conveying great truths. This one silently shouts outside of our design studio. In an abandoned area not owned by us and no longer maintained due to economic cutbacks, this little pansy defied all odds. It bloomed. Despite hard times, economic cut-backs, neglect and total abandonment ...it bloomed. The first day my eyes landed on it’s perky little smiling face in the hard, rocky ground, I burst out laughing in celebration of it’s perseverance. The phrase from Ephesians 6 seemed to emanate from this little flower ... “having done all, STAND” and with it a promise from Isaiah 43, “ I will make a way in the wilderness ... I am doing a new thing ... Now it springs up”

So, stand today, in whatever your circumstances, knowing that God will supply the strength and make a way... and expect a “new thing” to spring up.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

She talked to an angel...

We lost a dear friend this morning to brain cancer. While I am sad at losing her, the story I heard this morning only reinforces my faith and belief in the fact that when God says "He will send his angels..." HE MEANS IT!!

Donna had been fighting brain cancer for almost 3 years. I remember when she first told me she was going in for surgery to remove the tumor (and I almost fell off my chair). I went to see her at the hospital a few days after that...she was extremely optimistic because the doctors had removed most of the tumor (note they could not remove all). And we talked about how they had to cut off her long, beautiful blond hair. Donna continued on to chemo and then maxed out her radiation treatments in both Atlanta and at Duke University. I'd go visit her every once in while and watched the slow downhill progression. It robbed her of balance, walking, writing, talking and her eyesight in one eye. What was always amazing about Donna was the constant smile on her face and the fact that I never once heard her complain about her predicament.

December was the last time I talked to her on the phone. She had pretty much lost her ability to speak clearly. I sent her a few e-mails and cards...we let her know we were praying for her.

Last week, I got the news she had been moved to Hospice. I had planned to go visit her long before that happened. But you know...life gets in the way sometimes. Stupid excuse. Honestly, I was afraid I'd cry in front of her and I wanted to know I could be strong for her. So I made the decision that, no matter how hard it would be, I would go see her before I got too scared to go do it. So I did. And I'm adding that to the list of the top 10 hardest things I've ever had to do in my life.

The Hospice room she was in was calm and peaceful. She was surrounded by friends and family. I think I was surprised when I walked in because, although she could barely talk anymore, she turned her head to look at me and said my name. Funny as it sounds, I know “Donna” was still “Donna” at that point because of the inflection in her voice, even though I couldn't understand it clearly...it was the way she always said my name when I used to walk into her office. And of all things, she asked where my girls were at (that was translated for me by those that had been around her the most – she was pretty hard to understand). It was all I could do to hold myself together in there to talk with her. Hold her hands. Her hands were warmer than mine.

When I got the call this morning, it was both a feeling of sadness and relief for her. But what really gave me goosebumps was what Brenda told me happened on Monday. Donna had friends standing in the room. Donna lifted her head off the pillow, turned her head to look at another part of the room and said, “Yes. (pause) No. (pause). Yes.” Her friends said, “Donna, who are you talking to?” And she simply said, “An angel.”

Donna was definitely a believer and she was ready to go to Heaven...

I firmly believe that when my time comes to leave this Earth, God will send his angels to guide me to Heaven. From Psalms 91:11-12: “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands..”

Rest in God's peace, Donna.