Staying connected through His love

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

Have you ever watched the ending of a movie, read the last chapter of a book, or caught the end of a sermon, wishing you had seen, read, or heard it all from start to finish? The beginning of this story was supposed to end last week’s story about sitting by the bedside of a 90 year old friend enduring the process of dying. With so many stories waiting in my heart’s file to be written, I almost opted to delete this one. With every attempt to write another, this message and His gentle nudging to share it continued to tug my heartstrings.

I write stories He sends in faith that each message will bless readers to come closer to the Lord and loved ones. That became my mission when my first husband, Tim Spell, battled cancer in 2006. I prayed for God’s best healing for Tim. God spoke to my heart that He wanted my best also. I promised to write good news stories, give Him my best at whatever He called me to do, and encourage people to cherish close relationships with the Lord and loved ones before it was too late.

Tim received God’s best healing when he entered heaven on April 22, 2007. Lyrics to a favorite song, ‘How do you mend a broken heart?’, flooded my mind in that season when Satan tried to steal my joy, kill me when I battled cancer two months after Tim passed away, and destroy our family.

The enemy will pound and plummet people to death through troubles and trials as we write our love stories, unless our eyes are on Jesus and our faith is focused on God’s goodness and grace in our lives. Satan has no power when we trust and obey the Creator of heaven and earth – you and me and all the children of the world, the One who giveth and taketh away, the Great I Am, the Master, the Great Physician, the Messiah, the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, the Son who died for our sins and arose to claim victory over death, the Savior who waits for us to invite Him into our hearts, and the Friend who sticks by us like superglue, speaks to our hearts, and simply loves a close relationship with His children.

Our family has gone through the valley of the shadow of death many times, faced sicknesses, celebrated marriages, anniversaries, birthdays, made decisions that greatly affect our tomorrows, and stayed close to our Lord and one another through it all. Many reading this story relate and recognize tough seasons can bring triumph.

One of my toughest came when James, my second husband and best friend for two wonderful years, passed away so suddenly in the prime time of a love story that showed God’s grace and goodness of second chances, happiness we never imagined possible again in our lives, joy of serving God together in ministry, healing of cancer, dreams of retiring, traveling in our new car we bought together two days before God called him home, and sharing more good times with our children and grandchildren.

When, I wondered how I could overcome the devastating sting of death, God sent a message through a dear friend named Susan. She called the day after James’ funeral with a message from a divine dream. Each detail, from Susan’s dream and God’s promise, comforts my heart on days when loneliness lingers and Satan attacks.

The beauty of the message is knowing Tim and James were God’s gifts to me and He is my husband. People ask how my feelings and faith have been affected after writing stories thanking God for bringing James and me together to share the sunset years of our lives in love with Him and one another. My words and ways, hopefully, answer that question. I am still crazy in love with the Lord who blesses, protects, and continues to enlarge my territories in ways I never imagined. And I am still head over heels in love with Timothy Cameron Spell and James Earl Vann, who will always color my world with the kind of love, sweet, love that there’s just too little of.

I am blessed and loved beyond burdens that could take away my sunshine and thankful beyond grief or grievances that could cripple my close relationship with my Lord and loved one. I choose to honor God while living out loud in love and helping others find sunshine on cloudy days too. Life is too short to live miserly in misery. Give your load to the Lord, give your tithes to your church, give your offerings to help ministries and people in need, and give time and ‘first love’ to the Lord and loved ones. Giving generously from the heart pleases Jesus and helps us heal.

The enemy loathes lovers of God who keep serving, keep covenants, keep believing, keep trusting, and keep writing love stories that share the good news of Jesus. Satan waits for weak moments to mess with our minds and tender times to torment our hearts. When we are weary and worn out, he works overtime. As I try to finish this story at two in the morning…he tries to tell me ‘it’s time to stop, take a break from writing, people don’t want to read them, you can’t keep writing good news stories.’ Being tempted to close my computer and go to sleep, I close my eyes instead and ‘think on things that are lovely’! Then, I whisper loud and clear, “Yes, I can…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”!

The good news is, ‘You Can Too’! We are so blessed. How can we not write good news stories? Christians should be strongly united in word and deed ‘for such a time as this’, when standing up for Jesus and letting our lights shine (even when we are saddled with sorrowful situations) gets God’s attention, gives joy on our journey, provides peace and protection day by day, and promises life everlasting with our Lord and loved ones in Heaven?

As long as God gives me stories, strength, and open doors to share, I will write of his amazing grace and goodness ‘till the cows come home…better yet, until He comes to take me Home.

While writing our stories, let us remember to share messages of love with the Lord and with those He placed in our lives to love and cherish until death parts us. Many people pass away without hearing or reading words of love from loved ones.

Mrs. Kerr’s home is filled with messages of love. A card from Nancy, standing on the nightstand, caught my attention as I typed in darkness beside her mother’s bed. Nancy’s hand rested on top of her mother’s hands as I read words from a daughter who honored and adored her dear mother. May these words touch your life too with inspiration to turn off the television, close computers, silence phones, and get ‘in touch’ with the Lord and loved ones who would love to spend time with you. Letters of love leave marks of love that can never be erased…even after our loved ones are gone.

“Mom…so many of my memories are filled with the sound of your laughter or healing words offered to mend my broken heart. And I know there have been times when you’ve put your own dreams on hold to help make mine come true…these are just a few of the reasons why I feel so lucky to have a mother who has been there for me all the way…I hope you know how much I love you for being my greatest inspiration…all my love, Nancy”

Let this story be the beginning and ending that reminds us to ‘stay connected’ while sharing love letters in words and ways that will mean the world to Him and to them! Amen.

By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist


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