Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Than Breath II - Gravesite Mission

Yesterday morning I headed to the pcb (physical church building) for the first time in 12 days. Heavy on my mind was Sue and her request which would take me to Ft Worth. I was working through my/our calendar and trying to determine when I could go. Then, I received a comment from one of my dearest friends, Sheri Hammond on the note, "More Than Breath".

"Always on mission, whether on a mission trip or night. It's all in your attitude and willingness. You were put there on purpose :-)"

Funny enough? By those very words I knew somehow that Sheri was going to become even more a part of the story and mission. She was a part of the prayer support team for us in Idaho. She is a part of the G family prayer support team. That's one of the ways we have become such dear friends in the last few months. I wasn't sure what God was up to. Just knew Sheri was going to be used. That she was going to offer herself in some way.

A little bit later, I received a facebook message from Sheri. She was heading in to Ft Worth and offered to go to Mount Olivet Cemetery. I could help but get all teary and was moved beyond words. Most people want nothing to do with cemeteries - especially when they do not personally know the individuals involved. And little did we both know what an adventure her just even getting there would be. Can you say a blowout on one of her tires? Two individuals stopping to help her? And of course, no one that works at a cemetery is usually in a hurry. ;-)

Sue had given me the death certificate and I had written down the exact location. Her daughter's body is buried in the Rose Garden. Soon enough, Sheri had found the spot. She didn't just check on the date of birth on the tombstone... she even took pictures to share with Sue back in Idaho. Sue hasn't been to her daughter's graveside since the funeral due to her own health and living so far away. Did you catch that? Sheri even took pictures for Sue.

Amongst all the hats/titles that Sheri wears, one of them is a Nurse. Her compassion and mercy for individuals who are physically hurting is great. What is even stronger is her love for God and therefore for people. It was out of that and not knowing how much longer Sue is going to be physically alive that she was willing to go to what some would call a stranger's gravesite.

When an individual has come to even taste a tad of God's love for them, strangers are not seen the same way. They simply cannot be. It was not necessary for me to be the one to go the gravesite. Just for me to be willing. Sheri did not go to Idaho in the physical sense. Make no mistake about it though, she was there because of prayer. And it is no coincidence that she offered some of what might seem like her Wednesday afternoon even. Funny how God works when we say, "Here am I, Lord. Send me."

Sheri... Love you beyond words dear sister in Christ. Thank you for answering God's tug on your heartstrings and walking in the overflow of His love.

Today, I will call Sue and give her the news that her daughter's date of birth has indeed been changed. We will then determine how she will see the pictures.

The moments in the dash matter. How are you going to use what may seem like your moments today?

Are you willing to offer yourself to reach out to those who may seem like strangers?

As always, dear reader, you've been prayed for.

Much love,

UPDATE: Sue has been called. The sound of her voice as she heard the news will not leave me for a long time. To hear that Sheri even took pictures for her to see, priceless.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Than Breath

Last Sunday night we arrived in Kuna, ID. We got there a couple of hours later than we had originally planned, so plans had changed some. After dinner, time of fellowshipping with those that had gathered at Ray and Arie's home and getting organized for the day ahead, the G fam prepared to head off to our host home. Little did we know... little did I know...

We pulled into the driveway and were greeted outside the front door by a woman. She told us that Sue was still awake and wanted to meet us. I was taken aback I must confess. I also immediately knew that this host home was going to be different than I had imagined or would have thought I wanted. The woman lives with Sue. She is her dear friend but is also her night caregiver. Yes, you heard me right. Sue is on hospice care.

I was a little upset at first. Here was the first time since 2005 that I had been outside of Texas and actually even away from G-town for more than 3 days other than to my in-laws or to minister to family members as the result of someone in the family passing away. We've lived life's moments as caregivers since moving here in 2005. I thought I was beyond ready to not be in that type of environment for a week. Funny how God works and moves.

Each night, Sue and I would visit for an hour or more. We shared from the depths of two individuals who know what it is like to depend upon others for the most basic needs to be met. She rejoiced with me in my physical healing. The one thing that Sue and I had in common that spoke the most was our undeniable faith in God. No matter what has been thrown our ways - God is good. There is no love like His. Spiritual healing we've come to understand as most important. And we both also spend much time praying. Praying is to Sue as it is to me.... as breathing.

I had to ask for forgiveness from God for my lousy attitude at first hearing Sue was on hospice. For being in an "UGGGH!" state upon seeing and hearing her breathing machine. I ended up being so incredibly thankful for each moment she and I had the pleasure of spending together. Sue was given 6 months to live 15 years ago. Did you catch that?? 15 years ago. Now she is really not well these days but her smiles lights up the room and her encouragement was beyond words.

One night, Sue shared with me about her daughter, Madeleine. She also requested my help with some thing that has been on her mind. You see... Madeleine is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Ft Worth. The tombstone makers had put the wrong date of birth on her headstone. It has supposedly been fixed. Sue asked me if I would visit her daughter's grave and make sure it had been. The moments in-between the dash comes to mind yet again. A few days makes a difference.

I can honestly say if my/our life's moments had not been what they had... I might not have agreed to Sue's request. I do not believe in coincidences. It is my privilege to check on this for Sue. And as strange as it may sound, my pleasure as well. That is not me... that is God's love flowing out of me. His compassion... His tender mercy. Talk about sheer joy and more than breath! And what a generous woman opening up her home to what may have seemed like complete strangers in a time when others would have advised not to. Only God can make that type of impact in a person's life. Sustaining life.

Just a tad of what happened on the "Mission Trip".... More to come. Much more.

As always, dear reader, you've been prayed for.. by me & Sue. ;-)

Much love,