July 19, 2004 - "Fighting Prayer" by Susan Farr Fahncke
Welcome to 2TheHeart!
"You may never know, this side of heaven, what happens to the seeds of caring and sharing you plant, but you will know immediately, that the planting made a difference in you." ~Unknown
I am the founder of 2TheHeart.com and Angels2TheHeart and I teach online writing workshops. To read more of my writing, visit my page at 2TheHeart
thank you again Ellie Braun-Haley
http://www.2theheart.com/susan_fahncke -- and to learn more about our wonderful Angels2TheHeart group, click here: www.Angels2TheHeart.com
I always enjoy Mary-Ellen's stories and Mrs W's pinks is no exception. It's hard for a child to learn that all's not right with the world.
John and I gave Eimer a small pair of binoculars for her 7th birthday recently and she wanted to take them to school. It wouldn't be safe, we said, they might get lost or someone might take them. Its alright, I can put my name on them she declared. Ah, the innocence of childhood.
I love the smell of sweet williams and hope soon to have a garden when we move house, not a big one, though, that needs a lot of looking after. I enjoy scented flowers, sweet peas are some of my favourites. Just a quick update for anyone who is missing me. I have been having tests, after waiting a long time, and am awaiting the results. Feeling stronger all the time, so here's hoping I don't need much doing. Hello to all my friends at 2The Heart,
Love, Margaret (Drysdale for 4 years on 29 July!!! and still on honeymoon). Yorkshire, England
Re. "Mrs. Willingham's Pinks": Loved your title, your story, your pink and your pinks. Those are my favorites, too. All best, Gloria Stargel
The Letter Box:
Mary Ellen's story "Mrs. Willingham's Pinks" was a delightful story. Thank you for publishing it.
Mary Ellen's story took me back to my own childhood and I remembered a neighbor across the alley who raised crab apples. Those apples looked really good to quite a few neighborhood kids and we nipped over the fence to see if we could snag a few. Only we got caught. What a blessing that was!. It was embarrassing but a great learning experience and through it all we got to know a wonderful man and neighbor. We were told we could have apples anytime but would we please come by way of the gate and ask first. Years later I would go through the same thing except this time the apples were on my trees. But I had already learned in my childhood how to handle the situation, thanks to a a kind old man.
I am sitting here smiling and remembering more things in my childhood thanks to the trigger of Mary Ellen's story. I am grateful to walk back through some of those experiences.
I have been wanting to tell this story for a long time! Having recently celebrated the one year birthday of Angels2TheHeart, I thought it was high time I wrote the story of how it came to be. If you have been touched by our group of angels, please send me an email!
by Susan Farr Fahncke
I didn't want to do it. I don't care what God kept telling me, I was too busy! But time and time again, the thought kept coming to me. I would wake up in the middle of the night and it was there. I would be driving and it invaded my thoughts. Turning up the radio didn't make it go away, either. I tried that. And yet, deep down I felt God wanted me to do this thing.
As head of my own web site, which shares inspirational stories, I received a lot of email from people with prayer requests and with many writers and readers in my online "family", I was painfully aware of those who were suffering. One of my writers was fighting for every breath and lived on oxygen. She didn't get out much and I knew she was lonely. I prayed for her to breathe easier and to heal, but was it enough?
One of my readers lost her husband suddenly in a terrible accident, leaving her alone with four children. I could feel her anguish through her emails to me. I had several readers battling cancer, writing in to say my stories were a comfort to them. But was it enough?
When my own little sister was fighting brain cancer, many members of my online community reached out to her. Cards and gifts began to flood her mailbox. Her last year on earth was miserable in many ways, but she often looked at me with tears in her eyes, her face just radiant, telling of all the people who loved her, who had never even met her! They were a beautiful rainbow amid the storm of that last year. One of them was the friend who lived on oxygen. Now, her own health was getting worse and she too, needed a rainbow.
I felt that God wanted me to start a foundation that helped people like this; that reached out to them with mail and prayers and friendship. I knew loneliness was a problem with so many people, and I also knew the cure for loneliness would come to both the giver and the receiver.
I also knew that I needed to pray about this. I needed to heed God's prompting and also ask Him HOW to do this. But I fought it. I had my own personal problems, worked hard already and was raising three children. I simply did not want another thing on my plate.
When I prayed at night, or while I was driving, the thoughts about this foundation kept coming at me. I would fight them and pray about everything else in my life. I would dance around that particular prayer, the one I knew God was waiting for. I tried to justify my fighting this prayer, telling myself I was a good person and I already did a lot of good in the world. I'm sure my Father in Heaven rolled his eyes at that one.
One day I came across an email from one of my writers, who was also my friend. She had fought a long, hard battle with a brain tumor, and she had finally beaten that thing and was going back to work and to living. She talked about how cards and little gifts over time had made a difference to her, made her fight more bearable. I thought about my sister and about this friend, who had been stuck in their houses, mail often being the only bright spot in their day. I knew I needed to have that talk with God.
On my knees at my bedside, I thanked Him for so many blessings in my life. I was so blessed, I knew that. I also told Him I knew He wanted me to share these blessings, and to manifest His love to others with my life. I told Him I was pretty sure he wanted me to start this foundation, and talked about what I thought I should do with it. He mostly just listened. (I pictured Him nodding at my sage wisdom and being happy I wasn't falling asleep in the middle, like I usually do.) I told Him if He wanted me to do this, He had to help me find the energy and time. At the end of my prayer, I stayed on my knees, just being still. I felt very excited, very energetic about this new task. Ideas ricocheted around my head like crazy. I knew it was Heavenly Father's way of telling me this is what I needed to do.
After many more prayer sessions, discussing the new foundation with God, the ideas took form and began to take on the shape of something beautiful. I hadn't begun anything yet, just kept it all in my head and my heart. I told no one.
Late one night, I sat down at my computer, went to my web site and began to create a new page for the foundation. I called it Angels2TheHeart, and the words just flowed right out of me as I described our mission and my hopes for the group. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking and I knew without any doubt that God had answered my prayers and helped me find the way to do this. I knew He wanted me to do this!
The response was overwhelming. Signups popped into my mailbox, one after another, both from people needing "angeling" and people wanting to be Angels2TheHeart. I would read the notes and just cry. I felt such a right-ness about this. I was also surprised at how many people with their own illnesses volunteered to help others. But I know from experience, the best medicine is to give.
It is now one year later. We have over 200 volunteers and over the past year have "angeled" hundred and hundreds of people in need. Some we have given love to as they made their way to Heaven's door. One of them was the friend who "angeled" my sister. She was diagnosed with leukemia on top of her lung disease and finally left her earthly body to walk with the Lord. I know we made a difference. Just as she did.
I have received more cards and emails than I can count. Story after story about how this group has changed a life. Hope was given where there was none. Love brought meaning back into lives who were without it before. From both sides of our group. We have lost some of our dear recipients, and we will miss them. But eternal friendships were created and we will see them again. We have also had many heal and move on to become volunteers in our group. Miracles happen within our group all the time.
There are so many stories. So many friendships have grown out of service. Our volunteers truly love our recipients and vice-versa. We all share a bond so powerful that it is like a pocket of heaven on earth. The following letter is one that shows me why God brought me to this.
I talked to my dad the other day and I heard something that I have only heard maybe 5 times in my entire life. He wept. He began to speak of you Angels and the difference you make to him every day and he just wept. Then I wept. I want to thank you for helping my dad and giving him something to look forward to every day. He wanted me to tell you all how deeply moved he is by your ministry in his life, and wanted me to thank you for your how selfless you all are and how much he looks forward to the Angel Cheer he finds in his mailbox! I also want to thank you all for making this difference that you are all so good at, in the life of my precious dad. Thank you Angels....thank you so very, very much....With much Love~ Deb
Our group is gift to all who participate, but especially to me. Heeding God's guidance and going to Him in prayer has brought me incredible joy and awe at seeing His hand in so many lives. Each day brings new miracles and I am blessed to witness them. I can't imagine why I fought this prayer, but in the end, that one prayer changed my life and created a little bit of heaven on earth...one where angels make their home.
Susan Farr Fahncke copyright 2004
Making a difference, one story at a time!