How We Made the Journey by Mark Edwards: Part Two

God’s presence and love was ever with us each step of our steep climb while we battled Honey’s cancer and dealt with her death, now thirteen months ago.  In my last post, I reported identifying four ways God provided for us during and since that time.  The first was who Honey was. The second was the unbelievable support system, which affectionately called our Herd!

Both of our families – the Edwards’ and Wests, all out-of-state – were attentive and supportive the whole time.  Honey’s two brothers, one in Texas and one in California, made special, separate trips out here to be with their little sis a few days each.  That meant so much to her.  There weren’t many days between phone calls from my three sibs and even a few cousins.  Most of both clans were able to come when Honey died.

One advantage of being allowed to minister in one spot over a long period of time is the long-term relationships that develop, which in life’s low places turns into a strong support system.  For thirty years, Honey and I built relationships at FBC Nashville and wow, did they come out of the woodwork to reciprocate ministry to us!  Here are some of what they did - and I only mention these to share ideas of what you may want to do when ministering to someone in need:

1. Meal Train – an online schedule where people sign up to take food.  Those people brought food to our house at least twice a week for two years.  The schedule always filled up quickly so those that didn't get on the list brought food anyway.  We had plethora of wonderful food.

2. Some don’t cook, so they brought or sent gift cards by the dozens to nearby restaurants.

3. Get well cards by the by the hundreds literally.  Our mailbox bulged many days with more thantwenty cards and the next day there were that many more.  Recipients of some of Honey’s famed “notes” through the years were delighted to finally have an opportunity to send her one.

4. One lady – who must have been looking in our windows – sent her housecleaner to ours and picked up the tab.  That housecleaner has been added to our house permanent “staff”.

5. Some brought an assortment of note cards, envelops, pens, and a roll of stamps.

6. Decorating our house for Christmas – Honey’s favorite season.  She typically spent at least a week after Thanksgiving “trimming the hearth and setting the table.”  But she didn’t have the strength to do it.  This was a huge gift to her and us.

7. Knowing we love hymns, several came over a few nights after dinner to play the piano and sing for us.

8. Flowers galore and somehow they seemed to show up at just the right time.

9. Offer of babysitting all day and off-site when the grandkids were here and Honey needed some quiet.

What an array of thoughtful, creative support! 

Many people don’t know much about their neighbors.  We know most of ours and love them all.  They looked in on us occasionally, brought something, called to see if we needed anything from town, always offering to do anything for us and meaning it.  After Honey died, they pooled their money to fund placing a tree in my yard in her memory, and they continue to check in with me.

As Weslee said on this website video, the Facebook group extended beyond our wildest dream.  More than 600 people near and far monitored it; people we knew and some we didn’t know chimed in with a “like” or a comment of encouragement that meant so very much.  Teenagers I had in youth choirs forty years ago all of a sudden re-surfaced and we were able to catch up.  How cool is that!

Our unbelievable support system, our Herd, went the distance with us in word, in deed, and in prayer. It made all the difference in the world.  They certainly lived out this not-so-old hymn:

We are travelers on a journey, fellow pilgrims on the road; 
we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load. 
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the nighttime of your fear; 
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

Sister, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
Brother, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh, I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow, till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony. 

We Are Travelers on a Journey” – Richard Gillard, 1974 © Scripture In Song/Maranatha! Music

- Mark