Tuesday, February 5, 2013

the gift that made me cry

My friend Leanne, who is a volunteer nurse at a local maternity clinic, texted me last Wednesday morning.  She wanted to drop by for a minute.  I brushed my hair and put on a smile to meet her at my gate.  Leanne came in and handed me a big, golden mango saying, “Yesterday I delivered a baby girl at the clinic.  I had in my purse a couple of the baby blankets your sister Judy had sent for the new babies, so I gave a pink one to the mother.  She was so happy, she gave me two mangoes in return!  So I want to share this one with you, since the blanket was a gift from your sister.”

I couldn’t help it.  I began to cry.

What Leanne didn’t know yet was that earlier that very morning I had received an email from the US from my sister Judy, to tell me that she had been given a very different sort of gift from the hand of God.   Judy had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  

Judy is my closest sister, both in age and in friendship.  She is the one who shared a bedroom with me from before I could remember.  She’s the one who made a list on the inside of our closet door of fun games to play when we were bored.  She’s the sister who loaned me her Charlie Brown books to take to the hospital when I was hospitalized as a six-year-old for surgery, and then made me cards and bought me presents with her allowance to cheer me up.  She’s the one who tolerated her 5th grade sister at her high school basketball games, took me to see Chariots of Fire, twice, at the theater, let me borrow her much more fashionable clothes, wrote me long entertaining letters from Europe when she worked in a Swiss camp for a summer, discussed with me theological questions deep into the night, and now sends me boxes filled with the school books we need, special gifts from home, and baby blankets for new babies who have no blankets.
Judy and me in November 2012
 How can we possibly call this evil, Judy’s cancer, a gift from God?  

Joni Eareckson Tada, speaks with years of experience about God’s faithfulness in suffering:
“Sometimes God allows what He hates 
to accomplish what He loves.”

That’s a gift.  That God plans for our lives the very things that will fit us most for Heaven, even when those things are the hardest things on earth.

Judy is convinced that this cancer is what God allowed.  She wrote:
” I have been … realizing that my worry is centered in my wanting to control everything. It's like me being on an airplane and questioning the pilot about everything he does, annoying him and being a back seat driver when I know nothing about flying or the skies ahead. And the pilot says, ‘Don't worry, just leave it to me, I'll do the flying, you just sit back and relax and read a book or something.’  
So I'm trying to not be a back seat driver to God, but to just allow Him to fly (my husband, our sons) and me through the unknown skies ahead, and trust Him to carry us safely through.”

I wish I could take this burden for Judy.  It’s very hard to be so far away at a time like this.  But I can stand behind her, cheering her on as she bears the burden, encouraging her to hold on to the knowledge that God is faithful, and that He’s a pilot to be trusted.   

When Leanne arrived at my door on Wednesday morning, my heart was too raw with the heavy news.  I didn’t think I could talk about Judy’s cancer yet.  But when Leanne held out that gift, I knew this was God’s provision for me, that it was time already to share the load. (Thank you, Leanne, for being there at that moment.) 
Will you share the load too, by praying today for Judy and for her family? 

Judy has an appointment next week at the local cancer center, where she will meet with multiple doctors to discuss a plan for treatment.  Please pray that God will continue to calm her heart, and for restful sleep instead of wakeful hours.   

Thank you for praying.  We are convinced that God hears and that,
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 
James 5:16 

May God show off His glory, even through the gifts that make us cry.

Giving thanks,


Kay @ The Church Cook said...

We are standing with Judy, you, and families in prayer. How marvelous is our God to show His care for you through a humble mango! We are with you all the way, Judy!

Choate Family said...

How like our God to shower you with his love in the form of a friend and a mango!!! Asking Him to continue to soothe your hurting heart on one side of the ocean and Judy's on the other side.

Judy said...

Thank you very much Kay! I value your prayers!

us5 said...

♥ thank you, dear Kay...

us5 said...

God is truly good. thanks for your prayers, Joanna. ♥