He has made everything
I had my white activity tracker watch; she had her silver, stretch band Timex Indiglo. We both wore our watches every day. And we were both in the rehab hospital. She was the patient; I was the family member in town to help care for her and to make sure she knew that she wasn’t alone.
My mother-in-law and I had never really gotten along, I am sorry to say. I’m not sure if it was because we had very different personalities or if it was because I had married her third-born and youngest son. Or maybe it was just extenuating circumstances and family dynamics. Maybe it was all of the above. But, for over 30 years, the amount of time that I had been around, since being engaged to and marrying her son, she and I had not really gotten along.
We had experienced some good moments. But, in a span of three decades, to have only had a few good moments is sad, to say the least. So, when I showed up to see her in the hospital, along with her son, my husband, on the evening of Mother’s Day, I wasn’t sure how she would respond. She welcomed us both.
We told her “goodnight,” as the lights in her room were already dimmed for the end of the day, and assured her that we would see her the next morning. I wondered what the next morning would be like as well as the next two weeks, when I would be left as the only family member in town to help care for her.
My mother-in-law had suffered a stroke a little over a month earlier. She had endured the additional trauma of the death of her second husband two weeks after her stroke. Though she was making tremendous progress in her recovery and functionality, the progress came to a screeching halt when she had a second brain hemorrhage, which meant a second trip to ICU and starting all over again at the rehab hospital.
The rehab hospital is where I first saw her. It is where I would begin learning how to interpret her garbled language. Her speech was what the brain hemorrhages had affected most. Though she had regained a lot of speech ability working with speech and occupational therapists after her initial stroke, she was now back at the starting line all over again.
Not being able to speak clearly or be understood was very frustrating to her. I decided that I would seek to be a patient listener to try to help her communicate. After 30 plus years of knowing one another, thus began our friendship.
During the compressed time of two weeks, I would visit my mother-in-law at least twice a day in that rehab hospital. I would sit with her in the dining hall while she re-learned how to use eating utensils. I would push her wheelchair down to the physical therapy room. I would sit with her in the evenings by the large window in her room, overlooking a pretty park. I would read to her from her devotional or from the book, “Mary Poppins.” Sometimes we would just sit on the side of her hospital bed and hold hands. She confided her secrets to me, all be it in her garbled language, but I could understand a lot of it. At least, I could definitely understand her sentiment when she apologized for her part in our relationship difficulty. Each night, I would tuck her into her bed, say a prayer over her and kiss her goodnight.
Our friendship over the next couple of months would be beautiful and meaningful to us both. It would be precious to the two of us and to my husband as well. Unfortunately, the brain hemorrhages in my mother-in-law’s head would continue to occur. She would pass away just two months after our friendship began.
While I was sad that we had so little time together, so to speak, I am also grateful for the healing that took place, not only in the relationship between the two of us, but also in our family.
The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes tells us that “there is a season and time for every matter under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). It also tells us that God “has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11). For my mother-in-law and me, our best season and most beautiful time was at the end of her life. But I am oh-so-grateful that we had that season. It was a miracle orchestrated by our Heavenly Father!!
So, if you have some difficult relationships in your life, take courage and have hope! God is in the making-everything-beautiful-miracle-working business. All He wants from us are willing and humble hearts to work with Him.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.