Feb 4 2019
OUR HERITAGE OUR HOPE
The past two weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions unlike I have ever experienced. Amidst the agonizing pain of watching my beautiful mommy struggle and suffer her last days on Earth, we saw her glorious VICTORY as she finished her race. I KNOW my mama received a well done from God as she jumped and ran into HIS presence.
My mamas life story was shared at her celebration of life service on Saturday. It is an amazing record of God’s Devine orchestration of a life surrendered to service and love for her God.
Mama was a healthy happy chubby (yes, I know that is hard to believe for those that knew her as she was a tiny little bit of a woman❤️ ) two year old. One day an a single momentary event altered the course of her life and begin a domino effect of God’s spectacular grace being unfolded. An out of town visitor to her neighborhood was compelled to pick up and kiss my mama. Her kiss was not the kiss of death, but close. She passed the dreaded polio virus to mama that day. So began a life of crippling pain and handicapped limitations. Also began the life GOD lovingly plucked out of a home without God and placed her onto a new path where hope and Truth ..... and Jesus ... would be found.
Mama was urgently referred to Kernans Children’s hospital in nearby Baltimore Maryland where an amazing Dr loved her like his own child. Years later he would even pay for surgery she needed to fuse her worn down hip. That needed surgery her parents could not afford allowed her to walk until the day God carried her into His presence. She was loved there at Kernans and truly had a great supportive environment those early formative years of her life.
God used some very hard and painful situations to lovingly guide her to become the amazingly strong woman that has left for me and many others a Godly trail of footprints of faith to follow. Our Heritage of Hope was being tenderly cultivated in a greenhouse of difficulties.
Mom’s first recalled life memory was of her standing in her crib looking at her blue lifeless paralyzed left leg. Her Doctors told mom she would never walk. She was bed and wheelchair bound. But God intervened using a very grumpy night nurse who became irate if the kids wet their bed at night. This nurse , who mom conveniently forgot her name😌, liked to listen to a loud radio all night when she was on duty so she could not ( or would not) respond to the children’s calls to be helped to the bathroom. Mom started to pull herself out of her bed and pull herself along from bed to bed to go and come back from the bathroom. God was her physical therapist encouraging her to strengthen that leg. Can you imagine the joy when in rounds she exclaimed “ I can walk” ...then she showed them how❤️.
Being crippled was never easy but mama never let her disability handicap her. She often told me that God crippled her body to make her Spirit free!
In the midst of pain and suffering God threw mom a lifeline. He sent a faithful Sunday school teacher that gathered the children each week and shared the life transforming message of the Gospel of Hope with her and at age 6 she was gloriously saved. The Holy Spirit of God came into her heart and became her lifelong strength and guide. When mama was allowed to visit her home on weekends once she was older and stronger, she brought Jesus with her.
Her father was raised in a very strict German home. God and His Word were not shared with love but with harshness. Granddaddy turn his life in the opposite direction of godliness as a result. His overwhelming love for his little crippled daughter was like a little open door into a very hardened heart. He brought her to church each week and listened to her share about her Jesus but he thought only weak men would follow Christ. It was not until God brought a handsome soldier into her life that God would reach the daddy she adored. When a young man comes all alone on New Years Night to worship his Lord and Savior into the New Year that showed a lot about his character and faith. As secretary to the colonel at his army base mom was able to pull his records and find out all about this young scientist that when she met him God’s Spirit literally spoke to her heart and told her He was the ONE❤️ God is never wrong!! When they joined their lives it was a 60 year pilgrimage through sickness and health that they would lovingly hold each other giving an amazing example of Christian marriage and commitment and unified full surrender and endless service of our Lord. Their wedding also brought a strong hardy farmer , John Arthur Sheldon, into my grandaddy’ s life. His love for Christ shone like a beacon of light for my granddaddy’s lost life. Grandaddy was gloriously transformed and one short year later he was himself ushered into the presence of his Lord.
One by one mamas family came to know her Jesus. Her life impacted so many as she allowed God to hold the pen and write His story in the book of her life and on each page of her heart. Her life became a legacy of God’s love and grace.
Unable to be a teacher because of physical requirements at that time in Maryland her crippled body would prevent her from passing, she poured her life into children as a faithful woman once did for her. Teaching Sunday school , five day Bible clubs and vacation Bible school as well as hosting Bible studies in our home throughout her life, she impacted many lives.
Mom’s greatest burning desire was to just be a mother, though. They did not realize the adverse affect of radiation on reproductive organs during her growing up years. Year upon year she had often weekly xrays monitoring the advancing deterioration of her knee and hip as polio syndrome plagued her body. Pregnancy was humanly very unlikely.... but God!! Mama was a woman of great faith and fervent prayer. God’s Spirit within her was very strong and she was very sensitive to hear his quiet voice. After the miracle of my brothers birth ,mom boldly asked the Dr to help her have just one more baby. She needed her girl. Infertility was fastly overtaking her body and the precancerous tumors covering her uterus and ovaries needed to be removed quickly, but mom had faith and God gave her ME❤️ She told all her family she was having a girl. Many thought I was adopted. When asked HOW she knew my gender she simply said “ I prayed and asked God for a special little girl and He said yes!” Faith! She covered me in Lacey pink from the moment of my birth celebrating me and enveloping me in love. When God called her pink princess to serve Him ( and take her equally loved grand babies) 1/2 way around the world in PNG she sent me off with loving faithful support. She loved God even more ( though ever so slightly) than her baby and her baby ‘s babies. Surrender!
Her children rose and called her blessed on Saturday , Feb 2 , as we said goodbye to the most incredible woman ever to WALK upon this earth. Releasing her was the hardest thing God ever asked me to do. I held her hand and her heart continuously the last 72 hours of her life and she knew I was there to kiss her before her journey of everlasting life began just as he held and kissed me as my journey of life started.
Her husband also praised her in the gates. We will be here to minister to my daddy as we help him through the difficult transition into assisted living and selling our family home full of memories ( and stuff) for 40 years. We need fervent prayer for open doors, direction and provision as we have no idea even WHERE to begin.
We ask prayer for our beloved people and ministries we had to so quickly leave behind in PNG. Our hearts are torn between two worlds once more
We ask prayer for our boys , Amo and Aaron as we navigate homeschooling and culture change so impacting upon their lives right now. We need added strength and wisdom in a very great way right now.
We will never regret the cost in effort or finances to be here at this time gather in tearful embraces with our children and grandchildren as we hurt and rejoice with equal intensity adjusting to life with the HUGE VOID this amazing mom/ grandma/ great grandma has left until we are gloriously reunited in heaven again.
We felt your loving prayers envelope us as we waited in anticipation for Bill and the boys to miraculously return just in time for our celebration of mom’s life THROUGH CHICAGO amidst the Polar Vortex!!
We are so very thankful for the loving support of our field team/ ABWE and supporting churches and friends through this unexpected ( in timing) trip to the USA
PRAY WITH US!
We will be here in the USA until daddy is settled. One day at a time is our plan😊.
Special prayer: Bill saw the eye doctor- He needs to have surgery on his eyes. Friday we have a pre-operation consultation Friday February 8 2019. Surgery should take place in March 2019. This includes removing cataracts and removing the astigmatism in both eyes. Please pray as we expect there to be about $6000 of cost that the insurance will not cover.
No restraint. No retreat. No regret!! Fearless and faithful following our heritage of HOPE.
BILL LORI and the BOYS .. together at last❤️