Do you trust the Lord to heal you and work things out with family matters? Last week, I wrote about my mother-in-law, Mrs. Willa, and how her faith sustains her as she faces old age and issues many loved ones face. Growing old is great! I am there for goodness sakes; yet, it brings situations that can steal independence, health, loved ones, and things we take for granted…like driving ourselves where we want to go.
As I write, I ponder words written in golden script on a favorite picture of James and me. Our smiles indicate happiness and truth in the message on the frame, “Come grow old with me – the best is yet to be.” We believed we would grow old together and enjoyed every single day God gave us. Tina and Glenn called us love birds…joyful that we were so happy. Our blended family celebrated the love we lived out loud in our “over the hill” years. Having a closely connected family is a blessing to behold, especially when situations happen that steal our sunshine.
When Tim was called Home to Heaven in 2007, I was lost and left to figure out how the world goes on when one’s heart is broken in a million pieces. Then, in 2014, death came suddenly and took James home to heaven. My heart broke in millions of pieces again for we were so in love and comfortable growing old together. With God’s guidance and help from my family and friends, heaven’s sunlight keeps my heart filled with joy and hope. God promises to heal, bind our wounds, and bring good from the bad according to His plans and our faith to carry on with Christ leading the way to happiness.
Surely, my faithful readers relate to seasons when growing old without loved ones by your side could have ruined your tomorrows. We must keep our eyes on Jesus as we walk in faith, growing old to see the best is yet to be…Heaven!
Mrs. Willa and I talk about heaven and her two good men, also. She was married to Herbert Vann, an amazing man who did things with perfection, especially planting straight rows on their farms. Her second husband, Earl Holland, was a God-send. He treated his princess, Willa, like a queen. James, Sarah, his dad and step-dad celebrate together in paradise as his mother and I talk about the joy of going there one day.
A recent visit found her sitting on her couch with an open book and broad smile. She asked me to read an entry in a prayer book, a gift from her sister. Following her request to read it out loud left us both sitting in silence when I finished. A sweet spirit swept through her living room, enveloping us in a comfort that comes only from Christ.
She told me the words seem to have been written just for her. Reading the January 5th entry brought memories of the day I became James’ wife in 2013. The significance of dates has divine relevance that often goes unnoticed. Red letter dates remain special when we honor their significance. Here is the entry my mother-in-law related to in this season of her life.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
My body is fragile and doesn’t always work the way it should. When it doesn’t, I feel sick and frustrated, like I’m wasting time and missing out on life. I know that doctors and medicine are important, that You use them to help us stay healthy. But I also know that my health is really in Your hands.
Heal me, Lord. Make my body work the way it should. Help me be patient, using the time I have right now to rest, relax, and simply talk to You. Thank You for keeping me company today, for lifting my spirits and giving me strength. Remind me of how close You are – Someone I can talk to anytime, night or day.
Do you relate to Mrs. Willa’s devotion, feeling fragile, forgotten, and forlorn while thanking Jesus for keeping you company? Mrs. Willa’s sweet smile warmed my heart as I hugged her tight and told her we would be okay. She told about her son, Donnie, taking her to church with a joy I had not seen in her smile and heard in her voice for a long time. We prayed. What an honor to sit by her side and hear powerful prayers flow from her heart. Mrs. Willa is a mighty woman of God who loves to worship and praise Him at church. She only gets to go when her siblings or Donnie takes her. I have been praying for months for Mrs. Willa’s situation, hoping to see her heart healed and spirits lifted. Never did I stop to think how missing her church services affected her and how I could help.
In a split second, my mouth flew open with words that could only have come from Christ the Lord who loves and looks after each of us in ways we never imagined possible. I said, “Mrs. Willa, what time is the service you want to attend?”
She replied, “It begins at 9 a.m.”
My response flowed like the fountain in my garden. “Well, my dear mother-in-law, how would you like for me to pick you up on Sunday mornings and go to church with you?”
She squeezed my hand and showed her approval with a smile that told me of her faithful love for the Lord, her husbands, her children, and her daughters-in-law (Pat, Melody, and myself)!
“Yes, but how can we do that?” she asked.
“It’s so simple.” I said with joy rising as did the tone of my voice. “I will go with you to your early service, bring you home, and go to my church for the 11 a.m. service.”
We sealed our deal with a prayer and powerful praise. The following Sunday, I picked her up (only 10 minutes late) and headed to Clinton Community Church. We were greeted at the front door with a smiling young man who took our picture and welcomed us to the traditional service. She held my hand as we made our way down the aisle to her favorite pew. Pastor Dunning’s message settled in my heart with confirmation that God was working all things out according to His plans for my life…and for my mother-in-law’s life too. What that means…only He knows…as we both keep loving and serving and walking in faith.
One thing’s for sure…When we grow old with Thee … the BEST truly is yet to be!
Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.