Every year we take family, sibling, and individual pictures by the beautiful Texas Bluebonnets for my birthday. This year I was in Kentucky with my baby sister and her family when my birthday arrived. It was such a different birthday and I loved every second of it — By God’s miraculous work, Anna’s hubby is on the road to recovery from brain cancer. Just as everything was looking awesome and Mark was feeling great, his incision from surgery became infected.
Hearing this, I asked Anna if I could come help and quickly she let me know that she was okay. “No worries, you have your own family to care for…etc.” You see, Anna is the biggest servant I’ve every known and as any huge servant knows, it’s really hard to receive the gift of service when you’re the one that’s usually serving! My sweet hubby watched me pace up and down the hallways of my little rancher home, got onto the computer and bought me a ticket to fly to Kentucky — leaving at 6am the next day.
When I called Anna back to let her know I was on my way despite her being okay, she became teary-eyed, thankful that God had provided her with what she didn’t even know she needed. The surgery to care for Mark’s infection was a bigger deal than any of us had expected and being able to love on my precious niece and nephew while Anna was by her hubby’s side was the greatest blessing I could have ever received this year on my birthday!
We had five precious days together and I enjoyed every minute of it. Being there gave me a better understanding of their situation. When the unexpected comes, what’s truly in the heart is what pours out. Anna and Mark’s heart is overflowing with an unwavering love for Jesus and He is faithfully carrying them each step, each day! It’s hard to know what to say or do when people are going through tough times. Despite their hearts of gold, this has been a time of suffering that neither of them could have ever anticipated and never would wish on anyone. Sometimes when friends are going through tough challenges, it’s hard to know how to help. Here are some suggestions I gathered personally from my visit with Anna.
1. Tangibly look for ways to serve even when you’re told no (if your gut tells you to deliver a meal — drop it on the doorstep, ring the bell and drive away — the no often means I can’t add anything more to my tight schedule). 2. Be available to listen. Usually it’s too emotionally draining to talk and share the heart strings of the situation, but when that moment arrives and some words need to flow, be available and make sure your friend knows that there’s absolutely no bad time. 3. Hugs. When words aren’t there, a hug says it all. Bridge that awkward gap of tension with an embrace!
And for those of you who struggle to accept help when facing something tough — try not to feel badly when your loved ones care for those jobs you just don’t have time for — toilet cleaning, laundry folding, or vacuuming, etc. Helping those we love is far greater of a blessing than any heart could ever put into words.
The bluebonnet were gone when I returned home, but this year I have pictures that mean far more than my traditional family pictures of us in white clothing with a bluebonnet swept background. For Mother’s Day, my sweet little family took pictures amidst an array of wildflowers and long prairie grass. These will be the perfect fill in for my album. This year’s pictures will forever standout as a backdrop to a season of long suffering and great joy!