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What gifts do you have?


When I asked my girlfriend…to come visit us in our home, she said, “Yes.”

When I asked my girlfriend…to please pick me up from the airport, she said, “Yes.”

When I asked my girlfriend…to let me stay in her home, she said, “Yes.”

When I asked my girlfriend…to come hear me sing, she said, “Yes.”


When I asked my girlfriend…to travel with me to a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Crusade to help with one of our children, she said, “Yes.”


When I asked my girlfriend…if she could meet me for a quick “catch up” in my car, she said, “Yes.”


When I asked my girlfriend…to stay awhile after Robert’s funeral, she said, “Yes.”


And when I asked my girlfriend to help me edit this blog because I knew her professional skills were needed, she said, “Yes.”


She has shared all her gifts with me for more than 30 years. She has given freely and with joy. She has watched my babies grow to be teenagers and now adults, always gifting them with books to keep their minds engaged. She loved on all of them like an aunt, especially taking note of what I needed while caring for Robert.


You need friends with gifts that you do not possess. You need to ask for help, even when you think it will inconvenience others. This girlfriend was always a gift—at all levels—and never made me feel I had inconvenienced her at any time.


“Aunt Melanie,” as she is known in our household, makes you feel like you are the best friend in the world. (She gave me permission to write about her because she knew I wouldn’t let her say, “No!”) She often tells me that I make her feel special…but I am the one who feels special. She simply comes into my life to edify, encourage, and provide a helping hand. She never asks for special treatment and usually hesitates at taking me up on an offer to stay longer. One thing that COVID-19 has taught most of us is that life is short, and a laptop can be carried almost anywhere! (Always bring your laptop to my house in case you need, or want, to stay longer.)


I’ve heard it said

That people come into our lives for a reason

Bringing something we must learn

And we are led

To those who help us most to grow

If we let them

And we help them in return

Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true

But I know I’m whom I am today

Because I knew you


Do you have people in your life that you can ask for anything from them, and they will show up? Do you have friends that don’t make you feel guilty for asking for help, and never keep a tab? I must tell you that they are out there because I have found a few. I didn’t believe it was true. I thought I had to be perfect all the time in order to earn their help. I have learned better.


I am singling Melanie out because she is a loving part of this blog. I could not edit each one like she is capable of doing. I have a team to help me, and I am so grateful. Melanie and I have completely opposite personalities with differing gifts so, sometimes, we need to discuss the best way to voice a thought so that the grammar is correct. We may be different in some areas, but on the deep and rock bottom issues, we line up perfectly. I know some things, but I do not know everything! I thrive on her input. Her editing expertise gives me the freedom to share my heart. All my team members are so good at what they do, and that makes my life very sweet as I am writing about very deep subjects that stretch me daily.


When we had the blessing of nursing care in our home for Robert, I was responsible to confirm that each person who cared for Robert also served as part of our medical “team.” You who have medical team support, such as nurses, therapists or teachers (maybe all three), know that functioning as a team is not always easy. We had to work constantly to make sure Robert’s care was excellent, but also recognize that, while each of us knew something, none of us knew everything. This is a very hard lesson for the primary caregiver to learn. We were extremely blessed that, throughout his life, most of Robert’s team went out of their way to love and care for him beyond their job descriptions.


Melanie has taught me that lesson of going beyond my natural bent to really care and see people. Like Robert’s medical team, she went beyond her societal label as friend, and became family and trusted travel companion. And oh, the fun we had one time in a beautiful post crusade event as we reveled in God’s goodness! It is not really easy to open your home to new “members.” It takes courage and vulnerability to make it work successfully. I didn’t always do it with grace, but I was shown much grace and grew in my ability to lead and manage Robert’s world.


I have a very small group of friends whose names could easily be listed in this writing today. They know who they are. I will not name them, specifically, because I promised them that I would not reveal their names or photos as I share about Robert. (They don’t need their names in lights!) However, Melanie will continue to walk with me as an editor for the blog for as long as God allows, so I wanted to acknowledge her gifts. I cannot possibly walk alone on this journey. I need help!


I hope you are encouraged today to acknowledge and affirm those people in your life who help you along the way. Family members, friends, colleagues, medical staff, teachers, and therapists who use their gifts to support: those should be thanked. Our community is a vast and vital mix of many gifts and talents. I am grateful for each one in my life.


And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine By being my friend


Thank you, Melanie, for using all your gifts for me.


Listening Library: For Good (Kristin Chenowerth & Idina Menzel)

https://youtu.be/TZ0pXUb5jVU


“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” (John 15:13)



For Good


I've heard it said That people come into our lives for a reason Bringing something we must learn And we are led To those who help us most to grow If we let them And we help them in return

Well, I don't know if I believe that's true But I know I'm who I am today Because I knew you


Like a comet pulled from orbit As it passes a sun Like a stream that meets a boulder Halfway through the wood Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But Because I knew you I have been changed for good


It well may be That we will never meet again In this lifetime So let me say before we part So much of me Is made of what I learned from you You'll be with me Like a handprint on my heart

And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine By being my friend


Like a ship blown from its mooring By a wind off the sea Like a seed dropped by a skybird In a distant wood Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But Because I knew you Because I knew you I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air I ask forgiveness For the things I've done you blame me for

But then, I guess we know there's blame to share And none of it seems to matter anymore


Like a comet pulled from orbit (like a ship blown from its mooring) As it passes a sun (by a wind off the sea) Like a stream that meets a boulder (like a seed dropped by a bird) Halfway through the wood (in the wood) Who can say if I've been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better

And because I knew you Because I knew you Because I knew you I have been changed For good


Songwriters: Stephen Schwartz

For Good lyrics © Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Idina Music, Greydog Music



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In Our Arms

LIFE UNEXPECTED