Tom and I visited some of our church members at Vanderbilt Hospital on Friday afternoon. And I was once again impressed with the presence of God in some amazing women. We visited with little Brenden Roach first. He's 10 and fighting leukemia. His Mom, Micki was all smiles and a tower of strength as she and Brenden's Dad hosted our visit. As I walked down the hallway of that special section of Vanderbilt Children's hospital I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is one place no parent EVER wants to be! But, when Micki found herself there-she did what mother's do...she's being strong for her son!
Brenden showed us their project. Together he and his mom have organized all his Dad's baseball cards--and I mean ORGANIZED! It's really quite impressive. Not just the cards...but that his mother thought to do that to fill the hours that are otherwise filled with pain. Micki amazes me. As she is walking in the strength that God provides--step by step.
After visiting with Brenden we went to the pediatric cardiac floor to see Charlie and Leslie and their newly adopted daughter Susannah. This story is far too long to even summarize in my blog. But you can go to my links and click on Room for At Least One More to read Susannah's story from her mom (who is a very good writer)! When we arrived Susannah had just been brought out of the procedure she had done Friday to prepare for open heart surgery on Tuesday. Because we were their pastor and wife, we were privileged to go back behind closed doors and visit with them both and their baby girl. As we heard snippets of their past week (they just got back from China a few days ago); Tom said to Leslie, "You are radiant hope." And she was!! Then I looked at Charlie, holding Susannah and rocking her (she was still somewhat sedated. I LOVE the way this hospital invites the parents back to be with their children in recovery!) --and I said, "and Charlie is peace." There we stood with peace and hope in that room!!!
Leslie said they've nicknamed her "spitfire" up there. And I've no doubt they have! But she said, "God knew Susannah needed a Spitfire for a Momma!" And He did. :)
We then went over to the adult hospital and visited with one of my favorite women at TSC. Mrs. Laverne has been in our church right by our side, supporting us, praying for us and serving with us almost 20 years. She's funny, practical, and simply amazing. Laverne took great care of her husband for most of the years I've known her. He was disabled and suffered a slow painful process toward his own death a while back. Laverne has had heart surgery and now pancreatic cancer surgery this year and last. We went into her room--visited with her for just a bit and after we prayed with her, she said, "Tom, I have already experienced the miraculous power of God. Here I am and in all of this I haven't sensed the slightest bit of worry." Wow. What an amazing woman.
I teach a conference where I encourage us to put aside our pre-occupations with what the world calls beauty and success. Instead we ought to realize what God longs to see in us. What God longs to see in us is the reflection of His Son. I see Jesus in Micki as she fights the good fight with her son. I see Jesus in Charlie and Leslie as they have chosen the "least of these" to call their own--and especially Leslie as she clings tenaciously to her confidence in God's sovereignty and His love. And I see Jesus in Mrs. Laverne (actually I always have--He just shone pure in that hospital room).
These are women who are skiing the black diamond trails of life and they're doing it with amazing grace and peace that passes all understanding. And in so doing, they are allowing God to shine bright in dark and desperate places. Wow.
(I made reference to black diamond trails of life--pick up my book Women Embracing Life...All of It! at a Lifeway bookstore near you to read more about that.)
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