Today is Melanie’s birthday. Last year on this date she was busy winning the Judge’s Award for her fudge at the Taste of All Saints’ food sampling event at our church. It was the last normal event we would enjoy together before I was sidelined by a stroke one week later on Halloween. Today that little trophy sits on top of our refrigerator where I can see it and smile at this happy memory.
We heard from an old friend earlier this week. She was the wife of the Episcopal rector in the small town in Illinois we moved to in the 1980’s. We’d gone there to build a Christian radio station and most Sundays we would be out visiting in local churches. It was at Lloyd and Janie’s church that we decided that one day we would become Episcopalians. Janie’s brother was one of the bishops who consecrated Greg Brewer when he became bishop of our diocese a couple of years ago. And Janie, now widowed, is one of our friends who has been keeping us in prayer this past year.
In the year before the stroke hit me, Melanie began writing books. She started with a daily devotional and we sent a copy to Janie when it was published. Last Tuesday, Janie wrote us that she had already prayed for us before reading Melanie’s devotional entry for the day. After reading that, she had prayed for us all over again.
The past year we’ve also had the experience of catching our breath at what Melanie wrote down before our lives were changed. Over and over we’ve seen the evidence that the Lord was indeed guiding Melanie in what she wrote. We just didn’t know at the time that so many of the lessons would be pertinent to us when it was time to read them again.
I am grateful that, in the midst of our lives turning upside down, the Lord has confirmed to my wife that she was, indeed, listening to His voice as she wrote. It makes a birthday gift out of what would otherwise seem like chaos to me.
Thank you, Lord, for the continuing signs of Your presence in our lives. Thank you for Melanie as a gift to me. I love her dearly. I ask You to especially bless her on her birthday today and for the days ahead.