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From time to time we talk about going “home”. Ministry is difficult, finances are low & daily we are stretched and stressed. Although it is tempting to think that life would be easier “there” than it is “here”, We know in reality that life would not be easier, but simply different………

There is a little white farm house that sits empty, it’s back drop, the Smokey Mountains. It is surrounded by fields and cattle. There is a creek that runs through those fields and a red barn where animals once sought shelter. Its rafters were once filled with hay and tobacco. There is a natural spring beside the road and a chicken coop that is covered with vines and a gigantic black walnut tree that faithfully drops it’s nuts each year.

It is a beautiful place that some have described as the embodiment of the 23rd Psalm. Sometimes my mind makes it seem magical. Chickens, and vegetables….wild black berries to make jam. We have learned so much about sustainable living in the past few years. Aguaponics, solar power, organic gardening, composting…. living off grid, and from time to time we wonder if living that life would be enough……..and for now we know that it would not.

I remember as a little girl swimming in that creek and riding on my uncle’s motorcycle as we drove up those curvy mountain roads. And yet I knew then that it was not “home”. Even as a little girl I knew that God was calling me to another place, a place far away, a place I had yet to discover. It’s funny, because now I live in an even smaller town. One with cobblestone streets and wild horses, the population just over 1500. (It’s about the size of my high school.) Though we have lived here for almost 13 years, we are still outsiders……again, not “home”. Next week we are going to visit an even smaller place. A place with a different language and culture. There the people have much darker skin than mine and they stare at me because they’ve never seen blue eyes. Although I love being there, it is also not “home”.

One day we will go to our true home. In a blink of the eye we will head to a place which we have never seen, a home prepared by our maker. But today is not the day for going “home”. Today is not the day for giving up. Today is the day to keep our eyes on The Savior and our ears attuned to His voice to follow Him wherever He leads.

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My friend Maria 5

Maria (the final saga)

Maria’s daughter called on Saturday morning and explained the surgery options, I was asleep when I answered the phone. I remember being taken back that Maria was still waiting for surgery. The dangers from a melon sized cyst filled with parasites rupturing in her body could be deadly. A few days later I spoke with her as she was finally on the gurney headed for surgery. Later that day I went to visit my doctor. He asked if I had spoken with Maria. To my surprise he knew more about her condition than I did. A friend from the hospital had called him with information. He explained that the reason Maria had waited so long for surgery was because her blood clotting times were three times longer than the norm and any surgery before her levels were normal could result in hemorrhaging. It had taken a bit longer to prepare Maria’s body for surgery, but the good news was soon she would be well.

After the surgery, Maria’s recovery took about a week. On the following Monday evening around 8:30pm I received a phone call from her daughter. Maria was going to be discharged within the hour. Unfortunately I would not get to see her for another week. I was scheduled to go out of town the next morning and would would be out of town until the following Saturday evening. I was disappointed that I would not get to see Maria right away, but I was equally excited that she was healing and headed home.

When I arrived back in town, I walked to Maria’s house for a visit. It was good to see her. She sat on the side of her bed, tethered to a drainage tube. She was weak and frail, but on the mend. She told me how very thankful she was for all my help and I told her how very honored I am to have been able to help.

As Maria recovers please continue to keep her in your prayers.

My Friend Maria 4

Maria (Part 4)

As I held Maria’s frail hand and helped her onto the gurney, I over heard the nurse say that there were only 2 more observation spaces available. We had passed through the “secret tunnel” and were actually entering the observation area. Thankfully we were one step closer to our goal of Maria being admitted into the hospital. The difference between the waiting room and the observation area quickly caught my attention. The sights, sounds and smells were in complete contrast to one another.

The gurney was pushed through the passageways and came to a complete stop at an area which was labeled space #24. This is where Maria would stay during the observation phase of her journey. After the nurse and I helped Maria change into the required hospital gown and then climb back onto the gurney, I was asked to leave. I would meet the others outside of the building in a large courtyard and wait until Maria’s assigned nurse summonsed us with the long awaited decision of whether they would admit Maria to the Hospital or send her home.

I looked around the courtyard, many of the sick who were originally in the waiting room had been banished there. I wondered how long they would have to wait to be given the chance to see a doctor. After all this was Friday afternoon and nightfall was fast approaching.

We waited patiently, as the sun moved in the sky above us. One by one various nurses and doctors stepped into the courtyard. With every call for family members we sat on edge listening for Maria’s name. Finally Maria’s nurse appeared with the report. Yes, they would admit her and continue the necessary studies to prepare her for surgery.

I let out a sigh of relief knowing that my phase of this journey was coming to an end. From here Maria would be assigned a room which she would share with five other women. Each woman required to have their personal around the clock attendant. That would most likely be Maria’s daughter or sister. I could physically do nothing more. She was in God’s hands and at the mercy of the doctors at the Civil Hospital.

The drive home was gloriously uneventful. And once there I slept all night Friday night and all day Saturday. In the late afternoon, I woke just in time for dinner and a movie with Rodney and the girls. It had been a long week and my body was demanding rest. After the movie, I quickly returned to bed. I didn’t wake until 10am Sunday morning. The migraine which I had since Friday morning had finally dissipated, now all that remained was a dull ache and the question of what would happen next