Friday, April 24, 2015 hero.

I've been living with my Grandma now for more than a year.  She will be 81 next month and is not in the best of health.  However in the last few months I have begun to see her really start to slip in her mind and that is a tough thing to be witness to.  She forgets nearly anything she is told, she is easily frustrated, and I am beginning to see where I get my stubborn streak from.  But the hardest to watch might be her preparation for leaving this world.  She goes through old letters and papers and sets them aside as things that different family members might want.  She talks often of leaving and of how much she misses her sisters and parents who have gone before her.

I do not look forward to the day that she passes away.  I hope it is not for a long time yet.  Grandma has been a shining light in my life for as long as I can remember.  She has always been a listening ear when I needed it, a prayer warrior, and encourager and one who shows unconditional love to all within her reach.  She has demonstrated to me how to show the love of Jesus to those who cause her pain, how to persevere no matter the circumstance, and the joys of the little things in life.   I am quite certain that I will never hear a bird sing or  listen to the wind blow without thinking of her and of how she enjoys those two things so much.

Dad and Grandma
The thing she doesn't realize is just how far a reach her influence has had over the years.  It is not uncommon that I will meet someone whose life she has touched.  She sees herself as a small person (she's not quite 5 feet tall) without much influence, but what I have seen is a mild mannered woman with a superhuman capacity to love, encourage, teach, and pray.  In many ways, she is my hero.

She can not drive, has difficulty walking, one arm is nearly immobile and she can not see all that well.  But she is still one of the most amazing women I have ever known in my life.   I am so blessed to get to live with her.  I am blessed to get to help take care of her as she gets older.

We often take for granted our loved ones.  We get busy and forget to call or choose to let other things take priority in our lives because after all...we can talk to them later.  But living with Grandma reminds me that that is simply not true.  Sadly, one day they will be gone, so we must take advantage of the time that we are given.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Leaving a Lasting Impression...

Today I will be attending a funeral.  The funeral is for Betty Whitteberry, an amazing woman of faith who I have known most of my life.  She was a strong woman who was not afraid to say what was on her mind.  She was a godly woman who wanted others to know her Savior as well.  She and her husband, Rev. David Whitteberry have impacted my life in ways they will never fully know.  Partially because they have had such a profound impact on my parent's life and the life of my grandparents as well.  I have many times heard my Dad speak of Rev. Whitteberry and how much Dad has learned from him over the years.  My Mom loved Betty and my Grandma refers to Betty as someone akin to a sister in her life.  These three people have been some of the biggest influences on my spiritual life and some of their biggest influences were the Whitteberrys.  So you can see, that though I have had the privilege of knowing both Rev. and Mrs. Whitteberry personally, their impact on my life far surpasses the time I have had with them.  Though Betty is now with our loving Savior, her influence can still be seen in all who knew her.

Influence is like that.  We have an impact on those around us, but it can go much farther than we realize.  Those who impact us, impact those we are in contact with as well.  And that leaves a lasting impression on far more people than we realize.

It makes me wonder what kind of impact I am leaving on those around me?  What kind of impact are you leaving?  The memory verse we are learning is Children's Church is James 2:17 "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."  If our faith in Christ isn't being lived out in our lives through our actions, we are not leaving the kind of impression we should be.

Ms. Betty left a legacy of faith being lived out through her actions that will last far longer than her earthly life.  I hope someday the same can be said of me. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Semis still scare me, but...

So, today was not anything like I had expected.  This morning I left the house early to get to Marion for the last day of my Supervised Ministry Class.  I had been working through this class for 6 months, so it was a relief to turn in my binder of papers and complete it.

Around 11:00am, class was over and I started to head for home.  It had started to snow while I was in class and I was amazed at how difficult it was to see and how quickly it had changed from when I had left the house this morning.  I decided to do a quick drive through for lunch and head home.  Normally, I would not have eaten so early, but I just felt like it might be a good idea.  I'm so glad I did.

As I got on interstate 69, I was just amazed at how strange the weather was.  It was bright with sunshine one minute and then nearly a whiteout the next.  I was only going probably 50 miles and hour or less on at 70mph road because it was so frequent that you could not see more than a few dozen feet in front of you.

Directly in front of me.
Then it happened.  I came through at white out section and saw that in front of me was a huge group of cars and trucks...stopped.  I thought to myself, if there is any ice at all here, I'm going to crash, but I hit the brakes and miraculously there was no ice and I stopped before I hit any cars.  There was a large semi perhaps 50-100 yards behind me who had also stopped without hitting anything.  I saw trucks and cars sliding all around me into the ditch on one side or the median on the other.  There was a large group of teenagers (I assume from the school bus in the accident) who were climbing a fence into a field to get away from the oncoming cars who could not stop.  I called 911 and as I talked to the operator (it was now 11:35am) I could see hear cars crunching into the semi behind me hard enough to move the semi forward and I saw parts of one of the cars fly in the air, but having that semi there, kept the cars from hitting me and the couple of cars on either side of me (one of which had 3 small children in it).  Several years ago, a semi accidentally ran my Mom and I off the road, and I've been afraid to be near them ever since...but not today.  Never did I feel so blessed to have a semi behind me. 

The field the teens were going to for safety at one point.
The semi's who protected me
Eventually the crashing stopped and people felt safe enough to get out of their cars and see what was happening.  I, did not personally see any injured person near me, but I did not get out of my car at first.  I was too nervous that some other car would come barreling through. But none did.  I called my parents to let them know what had happened and my Aunt because I knew she had been north of the accident and didn't want her to get caught in it.  Then I called my Grandma so she wouldn't worry (I live with her and she is prone to worry.)  Then I sat in my car and waited.  I knew that I was going to be there awhile.  I got out and took a couple pictures and got back in my car.  The police came through and told everyone to stay in their vehicles so the EMT's could work.  I'm sure there were hurt people (had to be from some of the crashes I heard), but I only saw one gurney come through and only heard a couple of ambulances leave with sirens blaring so I am hopeful that most injuries were not too severe.  For that I am so thankful.

In front and to the left of me.
We sat there for nearly 4 hours.  During that time, I got to thinking about how crazy it was that not only didn't I hit anyone, but no one hit me.  In fact, one of the policemen (or firefighters...was a little hard to tell as there were so many around) asked me several times if I was ok and seemed shocked that I hadn't hit anyone or anyone hit me.  But if that semi and the one behind it, hadn't been there, this would be a very different story.  A very different story.  I very much feel that I was a part of a miracle.  Especially, since I have not heard of one fatality from the pileup.  That, is a miracle indeed.

The news reports I have seen say there were at least 20 cars in this wreck.  I would say it was at least double that number if not more.  I myself, counted 22 and that was just the cars I could see.  Not the ones blocked by the semi's and other vehicles.  In fact, one of the police officers, climbed a ladder leaned against a semi in front of me to take pictures of the accident.  Must have been a huge area to need to get that high. 

As I sit at home now, safe and sound, I am in awe of what could have happened, but didn't.  I felt the prayers of those who were lifting them up.  This was indeed a day that I won't soon forget.  Thank you Jesus, for you protection. 

For the record, I'm still rather afraid of semis...but I am so thankful this one was there today.