Welcome to 2TheHeart!
"We must live as true followers of the Christ, with charity toward all, returning good for evil, teaching by example the ways of the Lord, and accomplishing the vast service He has outlined for us. " - Gordon B. Hinckley
I am excited to share a new story by a new (to us!) writer. This story deeply moved me, as I know it will you! Thank you so much to all who wrote regarding my latest "Noah story" - Letting Go. I was amazed at the mail just pouring in and will save it for him to read when he is older. Enjoy Magnolias today! (PS - the rest of this issue is in bold because the formatting is somehow embedded and I can't change it.)
By Edna Ellison
I spent the week before my daughter's June wedding running last-minute trips to the caterer, florist, tuxedo shop, and the church about forty miles away. As happy as I was that Patsy was marrying a good Christian young man, I felt laden with responsibilities as I watched my budget dwindle . . . so many details, so many bills, and so little time. My son Jack was away at college, but he said he would be there to walk his younger sister down the aisle, taking the place of his dad who had died a few years before. He teased Patsy, saying he'd wanted to give her away since she was about three years old!
To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large magnolia trees. Their luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green leaves would make beautiful arrangements against the rich dark wood inside the church.
After the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, we banked the podium area and choir loft with magnolias. As we left just before midnight, I felt tired but satisfied this would be the best wedding any bride had ever had! The music, the ceremony, the reception – and especially the flowers - would be remembered for years.
The big day arrived - the busiest day of my life - and while her bridesmaids helped Patsy to dress, her fiancee Tim, walked with me to the sanctuary to do a final check. When we opened the door and felt a rush of hot air, I almost fainted; and then I saw them - all the beautiful white flowers were black. Funeral black. An electrical storm during the night had knocked out the air conditioning system, and on that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted and died.
I panicked, knowing I didn't have time to drive back to our hometown, gather more flowers, and return in time for the wedding.
Tim turned to me. "Edna, can you get more flowers? I'll throw away these dead ones and put fresh flowers in these arrangements."
I mumbled, "Sure," as he be-bopped down the hall to put on his cuff links.
Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the dark wooden beams in the arched ceiling. "Lord," I prayed, "please help me I don't know anyone in this town. Help me find someone willing to give me flowers - in a hurry!" I scurried out praying for four things: the blessing of white magnolias, courage to find them in an unfamiliar yard, safety from any dog that may bite my leg, and a nice person who would not get out a shotgun when I asked to cut his tree to shreds.
As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the distance. I approached a house . . . no dog in sight. I knocked on the door and an older man answered. So far so good . . . no shotgun. When I stated my plea the man beamed, "I'd be happy to!"
He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to me. Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said, "Sir, you've made the mother of a bride happy today."
"No, Ma'am," he said. "You don't understand what's happening here."
"What?" I asked.
"You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on Monday. On Tuesday I received friends at the funeral home, and on Wednesday . . He paused. I saw tears welling up in his eyes. "On Wednesday I buried her." He looked away. "On Thursday most of my out-of-town relatives went back home, and on Friday - yesterday - my children left.”
"This morning," he continued, "I was sitting in my den crying out loud. I miss her so much. For the last sixteen years, as her health got worse, she needed me. But now nobody needs me. This morning I cried, 'Who needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man? Nobody!' I began to cry louder. 'Nobody needs me!' About that time, you knocked, and said, "Sir, I need you."
I stood with my mouth open.
He asked, "Are you an angel? The way the light shone around your head into my dark living room . "
I assured him I was no angel.
He smiled. "Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those magnolias?"
"I decided I'm needed. My flowers are needed. Why, I might have a flower ministry! I could give them to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home have no flowers. People need flowers at times like that and I have lots of them. They're all over the backyard! I can give them to hospitals, churches - all sorts of places. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to serve the Lord until the day He calls me home!"
I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On Patsy's wedding day, if anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would have said, "Forget it! It's my only daughter's wedding, for goodness' sake! There is no way I can minister to anyone today."
But God found a way. Through dead flowers.
Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.
Dr. Edna Ellison copyright 2001
Dr. Edna Ellison is a Christian mentoring guru, who started a Merea Movement all over the nation. Her two-by-two Bible studies for women are called the Friend to Friend series, and her latest books are called Deeper Still and Stronger Still (guides for a closer walk with God). All published by New Hope Publishers. Visit her web site at www.ednaellison.com
The Letter Box:
Hi Susan, A remarkable story from a remarkable lady! Letting go is extremely hard, but you put his needs first and that is one of the things that make a great mom. I loved the story and hope that Noah continues to strive at school and with his independence. I hope you can survive it all J. Thanks for sharing the story, Miriam Campo
Dear Susan, I love your story, “Letting Go”. May I please copy and share with my pen friends who don’t have a computer? I leave all your personal info at the end of your story. Thanks, Lois
Dear susan, I was thrilled this morning as I was greeted by your wonderful smile and beautiful face. God bless and again I am now enjoying a lot more of your sharing through clicking on your picture. God bless with hugs and love to both u and your precious Noah. A long time fan of yours Leona
2TheHeart, Such a touching and beautiful story. Noah is a very lucky child who lives in a world where love is the answer to many miracles in life. Noah is "your miracle" and you all are his "miracle in life." Love Francine
Sooz, Roots and wings my dear friend. I am always surprised and delighted at Noah's accomplishments but more so even at yours. God chose well giving you His Noah to care for. Kiss my littlr friend for me. - Mary C.
Susan, remember the little boy who wonders why women cry? You're the perfect example, for you also carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and that's exactly what this touching story tells us. Carrying the weight of a handicapped child is nothing short of unimaginable for any mom, yours and Noah's maiden voyage down that lonely path of uncertainty beautifully done as always ..... Kathe Cambell
I loved your story about your son. Our son is special needs, Down Syndrome , so I know exactly what you are talking about. I have friends who had five children, three had a syndrome which I could not possibly spell. It was quite rare but the mom is a carrier. The oldest of these kids was 17, their first born, the other was 12 and the third was nine when they died. Readers Digest carried them as their main story a few years ago.
When the last kid died, their first born, people assumed that there would be grief, yes, but somewhere, some relief. In 17 years they had not had a full nights sleep. They had never heard a single word from any of the three children, only grunts. The youngest never left her bed in nine years and the others could barely prop up their little bodies in their wheelchairs. Relief? Only the parent of a special needs kid knows that the usual, natural process of gradually "letting go," never really takes place. There is this special bond that is unique. So, in actual fact, the pain was perhaps more not less. Yet this couple were the most spiritual couple that I knew. Their dependence upon God was so great that it compelled them into their Heavenly Fathers arms. Do you know that one of their greatest fears when their last child died was that they would lose that intimate place with the Lord. They knew they would see their children again, they knew that all three girls were no longer bound to their beds or to their wheelchairs but danced before the Lord. They knew that since we have to give an account for every word that comes out of our mouths to the Lord, that their girls first ever words would be words of praise for their Lord.
Actually you might know their home town since you moved to the area, they live in Gardner. My wife and family live in Overland Park so welcome to sunny Kansas and I commend your move so that your son may thrive. God bless you Susan...........................Frank
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