Friday, May 15, 2009

What's on your schedule tomorrow?

Proverbs 27:1
(The Message)
Don't brashly announce what you're going to do tomorrow; you don't know the first thing about tomorrow.

At my home health care job I get a schedule for every two weeks.
Sometimes I get to the end of the two weeks and have seen every client on my calendar.
Then some weeks someone has passed away or been admitted to the hospital so I either stay home or go see a new client.
We can plan all we want to, but bottom line is that
God is in control and He is the only One that knows what tomorrow holds.

At the end of April (2009) a lady my husband used to work with...Charity...a 36 year old single Mom to her 15 year old son was told her 2 year battle with cancer had come to an end. 
The doctors gave her 6 months left.

Here is an excerpt from her Caring Bridge journal dated April 28, 2009...
The question of my week....
What would you do if given 6 months to live? 
Would you abandon the career you worked
 so hard to achieve? 
Would you spend every waking moment with the child that you love and
 conceived? With family,with friends? 
When I was a child that 
6 months til my birthday or Christmas seemed like an
 eternity away but now as an adult 6 months seems more like 6 seconds of my beating 
There isn't enough time to know what to do with it. 

My husband worked with this young and courageous woman and also her sister Amber for many years. Yesterday he told me he wanted to go visit her at her parents' home as she had taken a quick turn for the worst. We were going to go in the morning, but then decided to go in the afternoon. The fact Gene even wanted to go surprised me because he does not like to face things that are sad as it reminds him too much of when his own sister was sick. I thought for sure by the time I got home from work his mind would be changed, but it wasn't.

First we stopped at the store to get her son some candy and it took me so long to pick out candy for someone I didn't know and then the cashier had to do a price check on a bag of M&M's.
It took so long that Gene actually fell asleep in the car.
Finally, we made it and her family and friends welcomed us with open arms.

Just a few months ago Gene and I were walking into our son's basketball tournament as Charity was leaving after watching her son. Over the years our boys have either played with or against each other in basketball so we've seen her alot over time. We stopped and talked with her and she told us she was going to start another round of chemo. I admired her for the support she gave her son since it was obvious she didn't feel the best.

We have a friend in common who is really close to Charity and Alethea has kept me informed on how she has been doing, especially these last few months. Since she first told me a few years ago that Charity had cancer, I have felt the desperate need to share Jesus with her. See, Charity and I have casually known each other, but never got to know each other well. Just small talk here and there mostly about the boys.
Years ago I would occasionally join Alethea and her friends on a night out on the town and so Charity saw a side of me that had nothing to do with Jesus.
Her not knowing the Jesus in me, I found myself regretting that I never took advantage of the many opportunities I had to share this different side of me.
Knowing someone has a deadly disease will bring out the preacher in you.

These last few months I made feeble attempts through Alethea to get together with Charity.
I didn't want to intrude, but I felt like the clock was ticking and I had no idea where she stood with Jesus. Then I started reading her Caring Bridge blog and under each post was a verse.
I wondered if she too is a believer and when I asked Alethea she said she thought she is.

Then a few weeks ago I told my friend Charlene about her and asked her to pray.
That's when Charlene said, "You know, I think I heard that she's been hanging out with Sue Hill."
Really???? I asked.
I was so excited because Sue is one that there is no question Who she loves.
With ALL her heart, mind, strength and soul this woman is in love with Jesus Christ and she is not ashamed to tell you about Him.
I got so excited thinking that Charity knew Sue because maybe that meant Charity knew Jesus.

So back to last night.
Charity had been unresponsive for 2 days.
Gene and I were standing at her bedside rubbing her hands and arms and talking to her and Gene quietly prayed over her as I asked one of her friends next if she knew Sue.
She said she did and I had just shared how much I love Sue when into the house walked Ms. Hill.

Sue is not only a woman of God, she's an RN so she just has this special care taking quality about her.
After hugging each other it was so touching to watch Sue sit at Charity's side and just talk to her,
 rub her cheeks and speak verses over her.
She kept saying over and over again in the sweetest voice,
"Charity, I am so glad that you said Yes to Jesus. I am so glad you said Yes to Him."

Here is a picture of Charity(on the left) with Sue at Charity's birthday party April 6, 2009.

The three friends of hers that were sitting on the other side of the bed stopped talking amongst themselves and just watched as Sue loved on Charity.
Then she began to pray over her and everyone in the room respectfully bowed their head.
Believer or not, Sue had captured the attention of everyone with her acknowledgment of God.
The acknowledgement that Charity had chosen Jesus to be Lord in her life.

After praying, Sue got up and came and talked to Gene and I and told us that the summer of '08 she had been praying about how to reach Charity when God simply told her,

Just ask her

Does she love me?

Sue said that moment was the turning point with Charity as they sat in Sue's car in front of a garage sale.
That question urged Charity to let her guard down and choose to ask Jesus to come into her life.
I was doing all this worrying about how I was going to put on my Super Witness cape and save Charity's soul while God had already captured her heart almost a year before.

I saw how in control our Savior really is last night as I stood at the foot of this dying woman's bed
with such a peace that only He could give.
And because He is the One who does the saving, not us,
all my anxiety left the room knowing
He already got her.

I talked with her sweet and hurting Mom for awhile until the pizza delivery man interrupted us.
Sue was sitting at her bedside again and her Mom suddenly came back in the room along with one of her sister's.
We were all just sitting or standing around her and someone said something about how Sue's sister Angie had been over on Tuesday and sang to Charity.
Sue's entire family can sing and she's a very gifted worship leader at her church.
We've been blessed with knowing the Hill's for about 11 years now through church, so I knew the woman could sing.

That's when the Holy Spirit prompted me.
"Sue, have you sang to Charity?"
She just kind of looked at me and I said, rubbing her shoulder,
"You need to sing to her. You know you can."

She just kind of shook her head as she said "Oh Lord" and then started to sing Amazing Grace.

More beautiful than the perfect pitch of Sue's voice was when Charity responded and turned her head toward her friend. She then opened her gorgeous blue eyes that had been shut for two days and began to mouth the words with Sue.

It was the most beautiful thing I've ever witnessed
as I watched this young Mom being sung into heaven as she took her final breath.
It was peaceful and so sweet.

In the 17 years I've been doing hospice care I have never seen a more beautiful ending to a life on earth like I did last night because it was all about God.
It was as if He just picked her up and carried her through the pearly gates Himself.

As I lay in bed thinking of what I had witnessed only hours earlier,
 I just couldn't wrap my mind around everything.

He is just so much bigger than we know.
The room was filled with nothing but His presence last night.
The timing of our visit was all about God.
From changing our minds of when to visit,
to stalling us at the store, to Sue walking in when she did.
He wanted us there for a reason.
He wanted us to be witness of His greatness.

Right after she died, Charity's Mom was crying, being held by Sue
and then she turned and held her other daughter.
Last summer I watched my daughter welcome her little one into the world and it filled my heart,
but watching a Mom as her daughter leaves it, was beyond heart wrenching.

The end of April, Charity was given 6 months to live by her doctor.
Her Mom told me she figured she had until November
and that the hardest part for her was leaving behind her son Tre.

6:13pm on Thursday, May 14, 2009 was the end of her life on earth.
5 months too fast.
36 years to young.
Only God knew that her 6 months would be 30 days.

We have to be ready.
Ready for no tomorrow.
Where will you spend your eternity because truth is you're going to spend it somewhere.

Like Charity did, will you say Yes to Jesus if you haven't already?

So, today I ask you what God had Sue ask Charity about Him...

Do you love Me?

Love Him today my friend because tomorrow may not come.

~Many Blessings~


Paula (SweetPea) said...

Oh my word. Lelia...this is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. As I read about your delays (Gene saying afternoon instead of morning, price check on M and M's) I knew there was some significance. Maybe you wouldn't have stayed as long had you arrived earlier.

Just everything about this story is you found how Charity knew Sue, and then for Sue to show up...and for Sue to sing, and then the most glorious of all...Charity opening her eyes and singing along, only at that time to leave this earth and meet Jesus. I can't imagine the transition of her spirit as she sung Amazing Grace (of all songs)leaving this earth and singing it as she entered God's presence.

When I saw blogger showed you updated, I thought this was going to be about the new study and various wonderful insights you always bring. I had no idea of the blessing.

You know are church will end a four-week series this Sunday which has been entitled "30 Days to Live". How poignant that you posed six months to live and then Charity only had 30 days not 180 days.

Life is so short. It makes me very nervous to talk and think about this things yet I know I need to live better and more like I only have 30 days. Living like we have forever, is like a terrible habit hard to kick.

I've asked God many times to please not take me or Chris before I have a chance to somehow express my whole heart to him. It would kill me if he passed and I couldn't express that. I guess it wouldn't be as bad if I passed because I would be in Heaven and not worry of such things. Either way, I have such a longing to know he's heard my heart...even if it's a letter I leave behind knowing somehow, someway God would deliver it. I've not written a letter though.

Sorry to be so long winded.
Love ya much,

Angela said...

You did a great job describing everything- I feel like I was in the room with you! Only God can make such a sad day beautiful because we know that death is not the end, but a passage to a life spent looking in the face of Jesus. I will pray for her family. Thanks for sharing this, Lelia.

Heather said...

Oh Lelia,
God touched my heart with this. There was something in it I needed. I need more time to process and figure it out... figure out what God is trying to do... but know you have me in tears with this, and God used your words and the words of others to touch and soften my heart today.
Love you and God bless,

Tammy said...

Oh, that was so bittersweet.

Its hard to watch someone you care about leave yet to know they are dancing in the presence of Jesus, what a blessing!

love and hugs~Tammy

Jill said...

Thanks for sharing - what a beautiful picture you created. What a blessing for you to be there and for the peace that God provided in a very difficult time. Tre and the family will be in my prayers.
Thanks Lelia,

Walking on High Hills said...

I don't think I know what to say except...I had to blink to get the tears to go away.

Thanks for sharing.

LynnSC said...

Oh my Lelia... this is an awesome story. What a privilege it is to a christian with a heart that is so burdened for others to know the Lord. It looks like Charity was blessed with friends around her with that burden. We just never know.

Thank you for sharing this story with us. The tears are flowing.


LisaShaw said...

I really don't have any words. This was so full and touching.

I'm always so blessed in your messages. God is glorified here on your blog and in your lives.

Bless you.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Thanks for sharing a difficult story that has an all-too-relevant take-away point. I am so glad there is hope beyond this life.

Kelly's Ideas said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and meaningful post.. Live each to the fullest and give Glory to Him.


Cora from Hidden Riches said...

I can't begin to tell you how much your post spoke to my heart today! In my own fight against cancer, I am so aware of God's timing, the angels he sends, and the love and tenderness others can give! You know, sometimes we think WE are givers, but it is US who are changed in situations like this -- changed forever! Thank you for sharing, and I will be praying for this precious family!

HisPrincess said...

I'm speachless.

Beautiful and sad. Tragic and triumphant.

Thanks for sharing.

Kelly said...

This is such a powerful story and as always, so well written by you, Lelia...I felt like I was right there in the room. I just watched the Farrah Fawcett story on tv Friday night and your story made me think of her too.
I have never been with anyone who has passed on from this life, that must be such a impacting and powerful you were there to be with your friend and how peaceful it was, is just a confirmation of God's love and grace.

Letters From Midlife said...

As sad as it is to lose someone we care about here on earth, it helps to know they are with Jesus. I don't know how we could bear the loss otherwise.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Lelia, thank you SO much for sharing this today! It has touched me beyond words! You have written about THE most important thing in the world....our need to be ready to LEAVE this world at a moments notice! This is an amazing story about God's love that you have penned for us.

God bless you! !


alethea said... are amazing! i know that i need to return the phone just hurts....i value our friendship so much...i need you in my life and i love you!

Rachel Olsen said...


Hugs ~ Rachel

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story, and sad at the same time. Isn't that life though?

Mining for Diamonds said...

Wow. What an amazing testimony. What got me was the part about the heartbreak of seeing your child slip into Heaven. It reminded me of "Steel Magnolia's" when Sally Field's character spoke of the beauty of seeing her child drift into the world, and then having the privilege of holding her hand as she drifted out. Wow. And the singing!!!! Wow! Music is so incredible that way.

What an amazing post, and tribute to Charity's life.

Lelia Chealey said...

Thank you Josie, it is so sad. Kimberly,oh my goodness, it does remind me of that too! I loved how Sally Field did that whole grave yard scene, makes me cry every time.
Being witness to Sue singing to her and the unexpected response was so amazing. She'd been like that for 2 days, who knew But God that she'd respond and be ready within minutes of Sue arriving. We're talking 15 minutes from the time Sue walked in. Amazing Grace for sure.