This week in Heartbreakingly Beautiful I share some stories of a few of the special visitors Beth received in the last weeks of her life here with us. The story of the angelic visitor is something I contemplate often. Wow – it sure would have been great to see that angel in my girl’s room! But the Lord instead entrusted these glimpses to others. Other trusted people were eyewitnesses to these events and others. The Lord has given me the job to ponder these things in my heart and record them for you.
The usual visitors including family, friends and medical staff were constantly with us, but I was amazed at the new visitors God brought into our midst during the last stages. Although Beth could no longer communicate with us in words or by signs, her eyes sparkled with a knock on the door and we knew that she was still very keen for visitors. Taking the lead from her spirit of forgiveness, when friends came to visit her in these last stages (even friends who had not been there for her during the year) we welcomed them into our home. I admit this was not an easy thing for me to do. But as people came, I saw incredible healing happen in people’s hearts as they gathered around our girl. Some visitors came simply through curiosity and we had to closely guard Beth during those times. But most of the new visitors were those who had been afraid to come previously, especially if they had experienced the loss of a dear one in a similar fashion.
Such a variety of visitors graced our home – the very young and very old, families, orphans, widows, school staff and friends, distant relatives and even a group of God’s Squad bikers! To help protect Beth, a couple of dear friends acted as ‘guards’ to shield us from too many visitors. (I am sure that guardian angel seen in her room was constantly hovering and shielding too!) We also set up ‘visiting hours’ to try to help control the influx. As far as I am aware, we only had to say no to one family who were living interstate and could not make it during the times we had set. To some of us in the house, the amount of visitors was totally overwhelming, but again God strengthened us. I am sure this time would have looked very different if Beth had been a shy introvert!
Beth had often prayed throughout the year that each visitor that came to bless her would be ‘doubly- blessed’ by God. We have no doubt that ‘double -blessings’ were poured all over the place as Beth’s room and very life became a sacred place. God used her like a magnet to draw hearts to Him, especially toward the end, and He continues to do so.
We have talked a lot about ‘pouring out’ and ‘giving offerings’ to the Lord lately, but the lesson I want us to take away this week is that while all this pouring out of blessing is wonderful, the Lord also wants us to be open to receiving the help we need. If we do indeed want to pour out our lives as a fragrant offering like we talked about last week, we need to be filled up by Him – again and again! Sometimes for a person who is a giver, it is very hard to ask for help. It is a difficult thing to BE Helped and Ministered To. Yet, we all need the very help of God Himself, through His Spirit within us, to be able to pour out love and give to anyone else.
I have said it before but it is worth repeating. I believe that the key to Beth’s fragrant offering – poured out for many – was her soft, surrendered heart. Yes, she had the desire to love, give and to bless the Lord and others in His name, but she knew that she was utterly powerless to do so on her own. She asked the Lord for help and accepted all He had to offer her in her time of great distress. Some of the help did not come as she had hoped, but her willingness to BE Helped and Ministered To by Him – in whatever way He chose to give her – is another marker of her life and one I am attempting to learn from. In her cry for help from the Lord, she accepted the help He offered her. She received all her visitors with love – the practical ones, the medical ones, the pastoral ones and the supernatural ones. Most of all, she received the visitation of God Himself deep into her being.
Friends, may our eyes be opened to all the ways the Lord wants to help us and minister to us right now. I know first hand that pain in its various forms can block us from seeing the help on offer. I also know that when anger and pride has hardened my heart, I am unable to receive His ministry. If you also have those kinds of blockages to receiving God’s visitation, turn back to Him and cry out again. Ask Him to open your eyes and soften your heart. Help is certainly there and He longs to bless your socks off! BE Helped and Ministered To in everyway the Lord is offering you – this very moment!
Gaylyn just shared with us quite an experience she had while looking after Bethy on Saturday night. As she was watching over Beth, she felt a presence of peace enter the room and when she looked up, there in the doorway was a very large and very bright angel. The angel’s head nearly touched the ceiling and the face was like a kind mother. Gaylyn says she has never seen the like of it before. She only saw this angel for a short time but was filled with such happiness and peace afterwards. It is a reminder to us that God is here and watching over us and helping us each step of the way. Thank you for your prayer for us all. David, February 2011
Songs to encourage you:
I Was Carried by Roma Waterman
Psalm 91 on your Heartbreakingly Beautiful CD
Books to build you up:
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn