Sunday, March 09, 2014

Sunday Song

Amazing Grace - Connie Talbot

Friday, March 07, 2014

A Familiar Voice

While I was growing up, I always had a pet.  Since we lived on a farm, we tended to have several "barnyard" cats of the mixed breed variety.  I had aquarium fish and gerbils. There was seldom a time when I did not have a dog.  When I left for college, the dog I had was Buddy, a German shepherd.  (My dogs were ALL my buddies.)  Buddy died shortly before I returned home after my freshman year.

I don't have any actual photos of Freddy,
but this little guy looks a lot like him!
A couple of weeks later, my dad brought home a scrawny, malnourished puppy.  He had found it near an irrigation system.  I immediately adopted the little guy, and named him Freddy.  He flourished, and was romping around our yard with me within days.  About three weeks before I left for college, Dad got a phone call.  The man on the line said, "I hear you found one of my puppies?"  Dad affirmed that we had been in possession of the dog since May.  The gist of the conversation was this:  the dog must be returned, but not until I left for college.

During my Thanksgiving break, my mom asked if I would like to visit Freddy?  We drove to the area of Freddy's owner.  When I stepped out of the car, several young dogs, all the same size/age of Freddy came running down the road.  But when I called out, "Freddy!" only one dog came to me. He had instantly recognized me. Freddy and I had a joyous little reunion right there in the middle of the road!

As I was reminiscing on this time, I realized it was a great picture of Lent.  Throughout our lives, we get separated from our Master.  We tend to stray off into the little side roads of life.  But when our Master calls our name, we recognize His voice.  Our decision is whether to run toward that Voice or turn our back and run away.

Lent allows us the opportunities we need to focus on hearing God's voice more distinctly.  Fasting, prayer, and alms giving are the main ways we do this.  Fasting, because it is a choice to separate ourselves from something we want, in order to spend more time with God.  Prayer, because it is the actual participating in listening to God and allowing His Voice to become even clearer, without the distractions.  But alms giving?What is THAT?!  It is an old fashioned term which means giving to the poor.  What does this have to do with drawing closer to God?  The more we focus on God's voice, the more we should want to help those in need.  Letting go of our money is a vivid picture of letting God be in charge of our finances.  It's an amazing reminder of allowing God to be in charge of each and every area of our lives.

When He calls your name, will you recognize His voice?

Monday, March 03, 2014

Speak Life!

I want to share a very personal story with my blog readers.  I was blessed by a total stranger today.  This woman will never know how much she impacted my life.

Now that I'm in the "over 45" crowd (and have been for a couple of years!), my doctor is strongly urging me to undergo some of the tests I've been avoiding because I felt I was too young.  Or, to be more honest, I just didn't want to go through them because I'm a needle-phobe and have severe white coat syndrome.  This is no joke.  The doctor (I'm seeing now) is the first who hasn't made my blood pressure go up just by walking in the room.

Most recently, she made a very convincing argument for the necessity of a mammogram.

I have no knowledge of a woman who enjoys this procedure.  However, there is some history of cysts in my family--no breast cancer I'm aware of--so I figured it was better to make the appointment and just get it over with.  Three to four days of pain, and I would be fine, right?

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the appointment and...survived.  However, a follow-up call from my doctor's office informed me they could not get a good read on one side.  I needed to make another appointment and have some new "pictures" taken.  Ugh.

I went back today, knowing a little better what to expect.  Going by what I was told, there was nothing to worry about.  This was all pretty routine.  Until I walked into the radiology department.

The technician showed me one of the x-rays from my last appointment.  There was a good-sized spot on that picture.  She said there was concern about it.  Thus, the new testing.  I was floored.  She was surprised that I was so...well, surprised.

We went through another round of x-rays.  Then I waited.  Those were some agonizing 15-20 minutes, as I sat alone in the tiny dressing cubicle and prayed.  And prayed.  I felt very alone.

She called me back in, only to inform me the radiologist wanted just "a few" more pictures to read.  As you can imagine, I was getting past the "this-is-no-big-deal" stage to the "what-in-the-world-is-going-on" stage.  More images, more pain, and then more waiting.  More loneliness.

When she called my name again, I stepped out of the dressing area expecting grim news.  However, the tech had a smile on her face.  Her report:  "That last image was the clearest one.  The radiologist said it's all clear.  Everything is fine."  And then, it happened...

She stepped forward and wrapped me in a hug.  Her words:  "I can see the look on your face.  I've been there.  This is good news, though!  Go home and have a great evening!"

That is one of the best hugs I have ever been given.  I will never forget it.  Thank you for blessing me with your friendship today, sweet technician.

Her words breathed life into an afternoon that had become very dark and lonely.  God definitely answered my prayers.  Not so much because of the results (though, of course, that is an answer, too!).  The real answer came in the hug of a stranger.

Thank you, God, for showing me Your love through that amazingly kind woman.