The Blessing in the Thorn

At 2 a.m., Dorie’s phone rang. “Your house is on fire!” said her best friend on the other end. “I gotta go.”

Dorie was in the horse breeding business and thankfully was at a horse show in Atlanta when the call came. A drunk driver had plowed into her house, setting it a blaze.

Dorie’s friend let the fire department know no one was inside and hurried over to the scene . Then she called Dorie back and said, “You’re free.”

It’s amazing how God prepares you for things. This friend had been praying with Dorie for 2 years about whether or not she should move. Dorie couldn’t bring herself leave the place she and her then, new husband had moved into 20 years ago. Six years into their marriage he had left, leaving her the house and the all bills to pay.

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You’re Not Alone

by Janine Smale

Grief.  How do I describe it? It’s gut wrenching and lonely.  It’s dark. Oppressive. Inexpressible.

I found myself in such a state after dealing with the loss of my Mother, who was my best friend, to cancer. My Father passed when I was 16 and now at 41, I was an orphan.

I felt alone.  For weeks, as my Mom laid in her hospital bed, I had prayed she would not leave this earth on my one year wedding anniversary. As the day drew to a close, praise the Lord, this prayer was answered.  She departed for His eternal kingdom minutes into the next day. Thankfully, my husband Brian was by my side as I processed that I was now an orphan. God was drawing me near, and oh how comforting were the words, “Abba, Father”.

My Mother’s last visit with us was during the previous Christmas season.  During this time, we saw a Christmas drama at our church with an adoption theme.  The drama featured a song by Meredith Andrews, titled You’re Not Alone.  The words in the chorus penetrated my heart.

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“I Am Truly Blessed.” A Journey Through Cancer

As a kid I loved reading mysteries. I would curl up with a new Nancy Drew novel, break open the pages and speed through the chapters. Of course, the first few chapters read quite casually as the author set the scene and developed the characters, but as the plot line thickened and events turned suspenseful, I couldn’t read fast enough. So I would conveniently place a book mark where I was, flip a few pages ahead to see how things turned out, and then resume reading from the bookmarked place. Somehow knowing who-did-what-and-how gave me the endurance to read through the middle suspense chapters with peace and calmness.

What if you could read the story of your life backwards and see how everything turned out? Would it make enduring through trials and tribulations easier, knowing the end result?

I knew Micki Green from serving on staff with her at Grace Community Church. I watched her walk through this journey with cancer and cling to her faith in God. Her sense of humor and homemade melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake made the church office a little slice of home.

As I sat down to write her story, I read much of her Caring Bridge entries with the end in view. I knew after chemo she was declared “cancer free” and spent close to five years that way.

So as I read her day-to-day journal of those days at MD Anderson, it was like I had skipped ahead a few chapters and then resumed my reading. I knew God would hear and heal. The chemo that produced painful side effects would work. The pain would subside. She would have a normal or “cancer free” day (as she called it) soon.

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When We Went to the Zoo

For weeks, my youngest son has been pulling on me to do something special, just me and him. With winter masquerading as spring this year, he asked if we could go to the zoo. I saw the picture in his mind: He and mom at the zoo, with some ice cream to follow it up. Sounds amazing, right?

The morning of this wonderful idea started out as usual – up a little before 7, dogs barking, kids waking, breakfast bowls filling with cereal. Then onto chores, school and sorting laundry baskets that had filled up overnight. (If there’s a fairy that helps fill the baskets, where’s the fairy that helps empty them?!)

My to-do list was full. I had projects I wanted to finish, lessons plans to look over, and then as I walked across the living room floor, the grit on my bare feet reminded me it had been awhile since I swept.

But my son wanted to go to the zoo.

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