Holding hands & flipping eggs

If I could only write in the shower.

It all started before I could even write, using my finger to do “cursive” on the bathtub walls. I advanced to teaching as I grew older – doing commercials extolling the virtues of my shampoo while I played in the tub.

My best sermons come in the shower and I would be quite prolific if I penned everything that comes to mind in there.

You see, if someone would invent a way to write in the shower, it wouldn’t have been an embarrassing amount of months since I’ve written anything. (There is an exciting forthcoming Bible study I’m a part of but more on that later!)

So tonight, I’m sitting down with wet hair to share.

Sometimes life comes to a screeching halt, does a U-turn and the road takes you to places you’ve never been before. That happened last September. My healthy, active 87-year-old mother went to the hospital because of pain. She left a couple of days later on hospice with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

My mom.

Cancer.

Hospice.

My mother raised five kids as a poor preacher’s wife, helped my dad start a mission board, met up with and married her high school sweetheart at age 81 after my father’s death. She’s tiny, active, and will tell anyone sitting on a park bench about Jesus. (Chances are they will walk away with a certainty of heaven and knowing Him as Savior.)

After a 45-minute telephone conversation with the doctor, it was apparent that we needed to move from Dallas, Texas to Verona, Virginia, population 4200. It says something about my husband that he didn’t bat an eye at putting everything in storage and moving into my mother’s basement apartment.

So here we are. It’s seven months later and she has obviously beaten the doctor’s diagnosis of “a couple of months if all goes well.”

People seem to think I’m doing something special, staying here with my mother and her husband. It is special.

For me.

I get to hear the stories that I never heard as the youngest child. I get to spend time with family that there wasn’t time for before.family Collage

There won’t be any “if onlys” or “I should have saids.” We know she won’t be here much longer and we enjoy every minute. We hug every night. We enjoy every game of dominoes. We say thank you over and over. I watch her read, talk on the phone, laugh, hold hands with her husband and I treasure it. I absorb her strength, watch her courteousness, and hope to copy her graciousness. She is the true embodiment of Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” Cards, phone calls and visits from all over the world – greetings, love and prayer from lives she has touched.

I was making her bed one day (Poor Mom, I did not inherit her tidiness) and it hit me. There is amazing peace in all of this – meals, beds, meds, laundry, etc. Because while I may not understand the why, I know the Who.

Two things are emphasized to me over and over.

When we serve, we do not do it on our own.

I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.

I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] (Philippians 4:12-13 AMP)

I love the emphasis in the Amplified version.

I know how to get along and live humbly and how to enjoy abundance. I can do all things He has called me to do. I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.

Read that over again every morning before you throw a load of dirty kids’ clothes in the washer or do a task at work waayy below your pay grade.

All things He has called me to do.

Think that through when you are so ticked off at your spouse that you could scream.

Self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.

Say that out loud when given a Herculean task like leading a small group, decorating for a retreat, or sharing Jesus over coffee.

If He called you to do it, He will make you capable.

And think about this:

When we serve, we serve Jesus.

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40)

One morning I counted – breakfast was six very different smoothies; two eggs over hard, yokes broken, two sausage patties, no toast; one egg over-medium, two sausage patties, toast; two eggs over easy, toast; one egg over very light with very crunchy toast.

Would you believe that was fun? It was. And I didn’t burn a thing! To you large family mamas that’s nothing but I only have one kid. Short-order breakfasts aren’t something in my repertoire.

I’m not great at this. I get upset and feel kinda snarky sometimes. I don’t balance upstairs living and downstairs living very well at all. But here’s the thing: Every egg I flip, every rug I vacuum, every bed I make, every brow I wipe – I do it in the name of Jesus.

What a privilege.

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On compassion…

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I’m sitting in the hospital, waiting for my husband to go into surgery.

That doesn’t mean quite the same thing to me as it does to many of you. Since he is a heart transplant patient, we have spent many nights in the hospital.

I tell friends to please call us when they are having procedures or hospital stays. We really want to be able to be there for them.

One: people have always been here for us. Two: I tell them I am a pro hospital sitter.

It’s true.

If you want someone to sit with you in a waiting room or beside a hospital bed, I’m your gal. I rarely notice that smell everyone talks about, doctors and nurses don’t scare me and I can talk about anything under the sun to keep your mind occupied.

The downside is that sometimes I forget that none of this is easy. My husband has been prodded, poked, bled and cut open so many times that I forget that even “routine surgeries” aren’t routine to the person having them.

I’m not a wimp. But when I had laparoscope surgery, I hurt for weeks. I’m pretty sure this would be a big deal for me. He barely complained of pain after having his chest split open.

When I sit in the cath lab waiting room, waiting for him to have yet one more camera routed into his heart, I look around and remind myself that most of the folks in there have never been through this before. Those waiting with me me have a person they love going through something very traumatic and they are scared.

So God pulls me out of myself and allows me to use what we have been through to comfort others.

“Who is your doctor?” is usually all it takes because people want to talk. People want to hear that they are in good hands. And so many times I forget that people are open to being prayed for.

I try. When I hear that inner Voice, when I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit, I try to listen and obey.

But sometimes I forget to come out of myself long enough to quit listening to what is interesting in able to hear what is afraid.

And occasionally I receive an unintended reminder from my husband, that no matter how much a person goes through, hard stuff is still hard stuff.

Jesus was moved with compassion.But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. (Matthew 9:3) heart-in-hands

I pray for that, not just in hospital waiting rooms, where I am reminded more clearly, but in daily life.

People hurt. God can heal.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)


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