It was my birthday yesterday. Someone on FB pointed out how nice it was to be able to celebrate my birthday and the Sabbath on the same day. I agree. I wish it fell on the Sabbath every year!
It was a nice day with nothing out of the ordinary for our Sundays -- Sunday School, church and out to lunch with the kids and grandkids. They did treat me to a nice buffet at the Middle Road Inn and topped it off with a delicious almond birthday cake, which was a slight alteration from the norm. But then we all went our separate ways, which left Bill and me on our own to enjoy the rest of the day.
I guess by many standards, it was a boring birthday. But not for me. I spent it with my favorite people. Bill and I bought and planted some geraniums and foxglove and then we made a firepit in our backyard (something we've been talking about for over a year) where we enjoyed a simple, late dinner.
Overshadowing it all, however, was the death of a remarkable lady. Lois Allshouse was a wife, mother of three daughters, sister, daughter, aunt, faithful servant of the Lord and friend to many. And she was a fighter. A couple of years ago, she fought her way back from H1N1 -- which put her in the ICU for quite some time. Shortly after her recovery, Lois was diagnosed with bone cancer. Treatments had just begun when she was struck down by a devastating brain aneurysm, requiring emergency surgery. That was seven months ago. And her last words were spoken on that day.
Oh, how we prayed for Lois to open her eyes (she did), to respond in some way (there were signs of that), to breath on her own (she was going longer and longer without the respirator) and to recover ... completely.
For seven long months, her husband, Bill, sat by her side, with barely a break. I am inspired by this man's love and devotion. A man like Bill Allshouse is hard to find.
But Bill wasn't the only one by her side. Her daughters were there. Her sister was there. Her ministers were there. And many in her church family were there. Seven long months.
And then, on Friday night, God answered our fervent prayers for healing. He just chose a different route. Divine healing sets the soul free from illnesses that imprison. Did we want to see Lois stand up and walk out of the hospital healed and whole? Of course, we did. Instead, as her ravaged body lie still on the hospital bed with the sound of monitors silenced, she danced into the arms of Jesus, where I have no doubt she heard the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Well done, indeed.
Sharing my Sabbath experience,
"Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD." Haggai 1:13