How Others Have Changed our Lives

In November 2014, a routine visit to Zine’s neurologist sent our lives into a tail spin.  For several days, we could get no words out!  It took three or four days before we even talked to my family on the phone.

Right after putting a Facebook update out,  I received a message from Linda that asked if we needed some meals.  I assured her I didn’t know what we needed but I thought we were fine.  To which she responded, I would like to bring you a meal and I think for a few days that would be beneficial.  And within minutes, she had set up a meal calendar for my family.  What I didn’t know was that my mind was not sharp enough to conquer any task.  Much less an entire dinner. For weeks, my mind didn’t function.  Here we are 7 months later and it is still struggling to keep everything straight.  For months, our church provided meals 3 days a week.  And it WAS a blessing!  And….they continue to provide meals during chemo months!  And we are very grateful!!

Our pastor heard and called us and we couldn’t get any words out.  Tried but no words came!  He finally said, let me pray for you and with tears rolling and no words from us, he prayed.  Today, we have no clue what he prayed!  But we know he prayed.  We had elders and their wives come and pray for us.  We don’t know what they prayed for, but we know they prayed!  We had friends come and pray with us!  Once again, grateful!

Three days later, we were still walking in a complete fog and brains were still complete mush, Londa texted and said are you home this morning.  My response as usual…no we have to go to the Eye Glasses store and get Zine’s glasses ordered.  Because at this time in our lives, why would a Saturday  morning be any different than others.  Doctors appts were consuming our lives.  Londa said leave your door open I’m coming to clean your house.  What she didn’t know was that there was junk everywhere!!!!  But while we were away, she collected all my junk and organized it into piles and when we returned, my home felt much more put together.  Blessed!!  We needed something that felt put together!  Once again, grateful!

Our pastor and worship pastors’ wives came and visited.  They had an entire list of things that might bless us.  Sweet Lesley finally said you don’t have to say anything just give us a thumbs up or a thumbs down if it is something that might bless you.  They made it as easy as possible.  From that conversation has come grocery gift cards, dining out gift cards, crockpot dinners and freezer meals!  Once again, grateful!  Grateful not only for the many many people who have blessed us, but also for the sensitivity of my friends to know we are not good at receiving!

Ladies have taken Chloe for allergy shots!   Not only has that been a huge blessing for my schedule, but it has allowed others to love on my sweet Chloe!!  Very grateful!

My first anxiety attack came shortly after that doctors appt.  A sweet couple came and visited and simply were the mouthpiece of several couples who had joined together.  They had hired someone to come every other week and clean my house.  Dumbfounded and overwhelmed!  This one took me awhile to receive gratefully.   It stretched me beyond compare.  But even though I felt uncomortable we were still blessed and grateful!!

People in our church have taken on the role of loving and mentoring our children.  Will and Conner meet weekly for coffee!  And I think this might be a safe place Conner might can share his inner feelings.  I think his walls are tall and thick like his mama’s!  Allison takes Chloe for steak and ice cream on regular basis.  Allison gets many text messages from Chloe, and always loves and responds to her.  Amanda has loved Krisann and even schooled her two days a week for me!  This we are definitely forever grateful for!  Some neighbors hire them for dog sitting, yard work, etc.  And it keeps the big kids well funded for sure!  Grateful!!

Yard work…oh yes…my neighbor mows my front and side yards every time he mows his!  We’ve had friends come and weed our flowerbeds, mow our yard, work on lawn mowers, etc.  I had a young man come and spend an entire day with Conner and repaired my fence outside!  Grateful yet again!

Monetary donations…we had a friend send us a Christmas gift!  Very unexpected!  But that Christmas gift was a huge blessing!  We had a neighbor who shared a monetary gift with us!  We’ve had a couple of Sunday School classes at various times choose to bless us with a monetary gift.  With medical expenses so expensive that many of you cannot even comprehend, it has definitely been a blessing!  Once again, grateful!!

Chemo…only one time have we done chemo just the two of us.  And that time was LONG and stressful!  We have been so blessed that some friends have joined us all the other times.  Nothing anyone can do but it is so nice to have someone there that talks to us and helps us pass the time thinking about other things than chemo running through the veins.

In December, Zine had two surgeries in one week!  I never once sat alone through those!  A friend stopped by and brought bagels early one morning!  One friend came and sat with me for both surgeries.  Our pastor loved and held me up during that week!  During one of those surgeries Londa once again said let me help you get your Christmas put together.  So she began to make a list and did just that!

Did I say Christmas?  Oh yes, there was a secret Santa in the church parking lot with gifts.  I still don’t know who was responsible for the huge love gift but it was a blessing in numerous ways.  There was a lot of learning about how much God loves us through those gifts.  Also,  it made our first Christmas away from family very sweet and less lonely for us!

A small group of men have laid hands on and prayed for Zine on more than one occasion.  There’s a group of ladies who have agreed to go to counseling sessions with me…they gotta love me to endure that!

I’m sure this list is not everything!  But we have been blessed and loved on well!  Zine says all the time, these people are going to get tired of loving on us because we are in for a long road ahead!  But for some reason, I think we have some people that are going to hang with us on this long road!  So very grateful!

If you’ve ever wondered how to minister to someone in crisis situations, I hope this list might have helped.  But from my perspective of one who loves to give and one who just found themselves in the receiving mode, there’s no wrong way to minister.  I can’t think of one thing that someone has done that I said, that was a bad idea!  Or…well…that was nice but it didn’t bless me….nope not words that have escaped my mouth or even entered my thoughts!  We have been nothing but blessed beyond measure!  But I will say, receiving is hard!  For me it’s MUCH easier to give than receive.  I think when I get this receiving thing all figured out and become comfortable with receiving, it might just make me an even better giver!  (At least that’s what Heather tells me and I’m choosing to believe her!)

Thank you to those who have ministered to us over the past several months!  You have changed our lives forever!  God is working in our lives and you are a part of that work…thank you!


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.