Valentine’s Day in Panamá, where I grew up, was usually, for me at least, more about friendship than romantic love. Over the years, it kind of changed and the friendship aspect of the celebration faded into the background. This year, however, I want to bring it back to a special place by praising God for the people He has sent to me to provide support, warmth, assistance and love, particularly during the times of struggle I’ve experienced recently. Thanks to the provision of our Great God, I have not had to go through this rough road alone. He has given me His presence in the presence of those He has surrounded me with.
I’m thinking particularly about those who have prayed for my recovery, sent me cards, and words of encouragement, called me on the phone, texted me, sent me e-mails, and prepared meals during my time in isolation. This last group I very affectionately call, my “dinner angels.” Through their willingness to serve, God showed me His delicious provision! Every day, at dinner time, one of these ladies would show up at my door, where I was spending my isolation time, and drop off the most amazing foods and treats, just custom made to meet my every day needs!
The first night, after enduring a low-iodine diet for the last few weeks, along came Judy, my first angel. I was so ready for something flavorful and different from my usual bland menu, I didn’t even know what I was craving for. But as soon as I waved good bye to Judy through the window and saw her walk away, I went outside, grabbed the containers and anxiously put them on the kitchen table. Immediately after I opened the first container I knew my prayer had been answered. Judy had prepared an amazing, Asian-inspired dish that was exactly what I didn’t know I needed! I fully enjoyed every bite of it… Judy even came back the next day with a bowl of an incredible dip (though the word dip falls way too short in describing what this dish was) with a bag of tortilla chips that tasted just like summer. I gobbled that thing down like I’ve just been rescued from a shipwreck.
Next day I spent the whole afternoon day-dreaming of lasagna…my mouth waters just thinking about it. I don’t know how, but Glenda got the message and among a huge selection of the most thoughtful treats and a gorgeous journal there was a carefully packaged dish of home-made lasagna rolls…it was heavenly!
Later, my brain and stomach remembered that I hadn’t had any bread for a few weeks, so the craving for bread began. Thoughts of warm bread and melting butter were overpowering. But I didn’t have to worry because, just in time, Diana showed up with a loaf of home-made bread and wedding soup, plus a fluffy piece of heaven called: “sneakers caramel apple salad.” The bread was better than my dreams and I treasured every piece of it as my own personal manna from Heaven.
The next evening was a particularly snowy one, so I was happy when I saw that June had sent her son, Tim to deliver dinner because the sidewalk was extremely slippery and I was nervous about her walking on it. So, I guess that night I had a “he” angel too : ). I wrote about June’s dinner in a separate post since it stirred a different trend of thought that I elaborate on that upcoming entry.
And the last day, even though I had told her I didn’t need it because Dan and the boys would come and get me in the afternoon to go home, Shirley, the woman who organized the “angels” (I guess that would make her, “Head Angel” in “Angel Central” …she’ll get this reference : ) insisted in bringing me food for lunch. And I am so glad she did! It was another wonderful soup, perfect for a cold and snowy day. I saw the rather large container and I thought I would save some for dinner, but when I opened it, I said, “nah.” And I gobbled down that tasty broccoli and noodles treat with great delight.
That same evening, back at my own home, I realized my boys had been taken care of by their own dinner angels as well. My sister in law, Laura, had not only taken my sons for a sleep over during the weekend, but she had sent Dan home with enough food for a few days! The Pastor of a new church we’ve been visiting also came in with his wife and dropped off lasagna and bread. And even a complete stranger from that same church, who heard about our situation, brought in a full meal for Dan and the kids which allowed me to take it easy the rest of the week while I adjusted to life at home and back to work again.
These are just a few examples of the kindness of my brothers and sisters in Christ who looked after me during my time of trial. The Lord, in His infinite love, provided, once again, all I needed and more. And though I know my trials in this world are far from over, I also know that no matter what, I will not face them alone. For this and more, I dedicate this Valentine’s to the love that flows from enduring friendships! May we, someday, reminisce about all these up above, when we make it home!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
Linking with: Essential Thing Devotions