15 days in a row…away from home. Then four nights in my own bed. Then away again overnight. Then back home to the excitement of company in the cabin for three days. Then the following morning…flying out again for a week in Wyoming and Montana. Eleven speeches in there somewhere and a week of helping (in small ways) a wonderful friend who just had a routine, but very painful knee surgery. A few hours of PTP counseling, a podcast, the launch of a new Digging Deep study, a doctor appointment with my dad, a doctor appointment and some tests run for me (should be psychological, but no!) and all the regular cooking and cleaning and laundry that’s the lay of the land at Serenity. All of that to say it’s a life that God smiles on with many opportunities and deep blessings that just bowl me over daily. Sometimes I just ask Him, “Why me, Lord? Why are you so good to me?” Everyone knows, though, that, when opportunity knocks and you open the door, sometimes exhaustion slips in that open door, too.
The main reason I’m reflecting to you about the past few days and the upcoming ones, though, is so you can understand my utter appreciation for my friend, Alissa Clarke. See, Alissa knew there was company coming to my cabin tomorrow. She further knew that I was out of town today, with my Dad. So, when I got home tonight, my cabin was cleaned! I mean the thing was top-to-bottom, sheets-changed, bathroom-scrubbed spic! Now my friend, Alissa has three kids, ages five and down. She is one of the heads of ladies’ ministries at West Huntsville. She runs a home business and she is sewing all of her twins’ dress clothes for this fall. She attends ladies prayer group, ladies Bible study, and ladies craft night. She has a crowd in her home for every Bama game (which means THIS weekend…Roll Tide!). She also just got back from PTP, thus she had more laundry than I do and she was just as tired as I am. And this Wonder-Woman came over today to clean my cabin. Truly! And, Brody, her five-year-old, worked his funny little self to pieces for ME. (I love you, Brody!) God is so good to me through sisters!
And then there is my friend, Jennifer Benavides. If you are reading this, it’s because of her. There would not, could not be a “Bless Your Heart” blog, a “Digging Deep” study, or a Colley House website were it not for the freely offered technical services of Jennifer. She will not want to post this for me. She never wants any mention or any recognition of any kind. But tonight, as I write this, Jennifer has begun her trip to San Antonio, where she will sit in a waiting room with her dear mother and await the doctor’s report following a difficult surgery on her father to remove a malignant tumor. Will you join me in praying for Jennifer’s parents–the Densons, and for brother Denson’s doctors, for Jennifer and the rest of the family, and for the Benavides family here in Huntsville, who will be missing the keeper of their home for the next couple of weeks? Jennifer has prayed for many of you and I have often been strengthened by her prayers for me. I know God will give what is ultimately best, but having been by my own father’s bedside this year, I know the hope that prayer kindles in weary hearts.
A friend loves at all times, but a brother is born for adversity. Friends can ease burdens. Friends can show kindness. But it’s only family–family in the Lord–that can lift voices in unison before the Father’s throne when another family member is in the midst of adversity. I believe (and know in my own life) that it’s the adverse times of life—the dark times–that make us fully appreciate our place in the family and the benefits of family membership.
I’m humbled by those benefits. I would have never asked my sister to come clean my cabin. But I am truly honored and humbled by her heart of kindness. I’m truly grateful–to her and to the Lord who made us family. She is one of many who would do anything for me…really…anything. My tech-savvy Jen is another. May God help me to be half the servant I see in so many faces of my family in the Lord, particularly at West Huntsville. May I remember, when I do it to the least of these my sisters, I also do it to my older brother. His name is Jesus.