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Archive for July 24th, 2011

Joanie was scheduled for surgery.  “I’m getting my affairs in order,” she told me.

Joanie had come into my life as an older, wiser friend not long after my mom died.  She became my mentor.  A reminder that God’s Word is all that matters.  A reminder that Jesus is that Word for my life.

“My surgery is to repair an aneurysm,” Joanie explained.  “It’s a routine procedure.  But, whatever the Lord’s got going here is fine with me.”

A few days before the surgery, Joanie’s two daughters flew in to be with her.  Joanie called to tell me she had a grand idea.  “We’re going to have a joyful night on the town.”  Later, I learned that night was special indeed.  Over a leisurely dinner, Joanie and her daughters shared many memories.  They laughed, then cried, then laughed some more as they lingered over a single glass of white Zinfandel.  Later, they returned home to curl up in the living room where they continued their story-telling late into the night.  Somehow, I had no difficulty hearing Joanie tell her daughters, “I gotta tell you girls.  Whatever the Lord’s got going here is fine with me.”

When Joanie’s son called to say he would drive down to be with her, she assured him there was no need.  “You stay with your family right now.  I’ll see you soon.”  Then she penned him a loving letter with words that can only flow from a mother’s heart.  The note ended, “Whatever the Lord’s got going here is fine with me.”

On the morning of the surgery, Joanie woke early.  She slipped out the back door to say good-bye to her two dogs, the faithful companions who greeted her this morning as they did every morning.  Coming back inside, she slowly walked through the rooms of the house, touching her lips and planting a “kiss” on the photo faces of her husband, children, and grandchildren.  She sighed, then picked up the bag she had carefully packed the night before.  With one quick glance over her shoulder back at the house, she walked to the car.  No one but her Father heard her say, “Whatever you’ve got going here, Lord, is fine with me.”

The surgery did not go as expected.  There were too many complications.  My friend’s body grew weak and could no longer fight the battle of life over death.  In the distance, she could hear the great choir of heavenly angels praising God.  “Whatever you’ve got going here, Lord, is fine with me.”  Then, a brief hesitation.  Did Joanie hear one of her daughters say, “We must let her go.”  Did she hear the other cry, “No!”  Joanie waited as if she were giving her daughter time to adjust her thinking and receive the same peace that was now flowing through the mother.  It was not easy, but both daughters agreed, “Mom is ready.”  And they entrusted her to God.

Days later, Joanie’s daughters opened the bag which their mom had packed for her hospital stay.  In it were all the things that a woman would take for recovery from surgery — a few toiletries, nightgown, photo or two of her family, books for passing the time, and well-worn Bible.  Looking through the items in the bag, they paused to remember the behavior of their mom the morning she left home for the hospital.  They heard her sigh and saw her lingering glance at the house.  They knew she had written a “good-bye” letter of encouragement to her son.  But, at the same time, here was a bag filled with the items one would need for life.

Joanie truly believed, “Whatever you’ve got going, Lord, is fine with me.”  She lived each day ready to do those things God had already prepared for her to do, yet she kept her eyes focused on the Savior who would one day carry her home.  In the time that I had know her, Joanie spoke with excitement about her eternal home with Jesus.  Yet, never had I met anyone more content to be in the present — loving souls and sharing the Word of life.

Joanie departed my life much too soon.  Plans had been made for her to spend a week in my home.  I anticipated that visit.  I needed more time learning at the feet of my mentor.  Learning how to adjust my attitude.  Learning to focus less on self and more on Christ.  That visit did not happen, but others will.  With all confidence, I anticipate daily visits with Joanie in our Father’s house.

With eagerness, Joanie expected Jesus to come for her.  She only hoped she would not stand before Him ashamed.  Therefore, whether she lived or died, it would be to the glory of her Heavenly Father (Philippians 1:20-21).

“Whatever You’ve got going here Lord is fine with me.”

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