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PICKIN' MULBERRIES


It was July, 2010, our first summer in Kansas. The house we were renting had a massive yard & I’d just finished mowing and weed eating. All total, that was 4 hours of work in picky humidity. My Honey wasn’t home & my daughter was doing ministry bookwork in the basement. As per my husband’s instructions, I had hosed off the mower & was returning it to its resting place in the single garage/storage shed in our backyard. That’s when it happened.

As I was pulling down the rolling door, the three middle fingers on my right hand got pinched between 2 of the door sections. Instant pain, breathless…”Oh God…HELP!” No one could’ve heard me, because of the wind, if I had tried to scream. In less than 5 seconds, I had the door back up. But as the blood rushed to my three finger tips, I felt like I was in “orbit” with the pain. Throbbing, pulsating, needle-pricking sensations, that took my breath away, quickened my return to the house—where I grabbed a soft ice pack from the freezer. As I wrapped my hand & yelled for my daughter, I rocked back & forth on the chair while frantically repeating “Talk to me, Jess! Just talk to me!” The ice, though necessary, made me feel like I was losing it!

About 30 minutes later, it dawned on me what had happened, versus what could have happened. Normally, that garage door automatically locked from the outside. But this time, when I pulled it down, it landed on the back tire of our Radio Flyer tricycle, inadvertently parked in the wrong spot by the last rider. Judging from how much pain I was feeling at this point, I physically shuddered at the mental picture of the door…locked, with my fingers between the sections. As it was, my fingertips were purple-black to the base of my nail beds. They were swollen, & so sensitive that any slight contact left me gasping. When my granddaughter saw my hand, she said, “Wow, Oma! It looks like you’ve been pickin’ mulberries.” (Another lesson about fruit stains, discovered earlier in the summer.)

It took a long time for the waves of pain to cease. Since I’m right-handed, I had to write using my thumb & pinky finger…interesting! It was all of 6 months before the discoloration was completely gone & my nails had grown out. To this day, the tip of my middle finger curves up. It reminds me of an elf slipper! I’ve gleaned a couple of spiritual reminders from that experience. I might even go so far as to call that day a “marker” of sorts. First of all, I thank God for His sovereign care that day. Yes, I’m saying that the tricycle was out of place for a reason. As the Creator, it’s obvious to me that God is detailed. I think we often rationalize away much of His divine intervention/protection/provision as merely coincidence. We want to be in control &, sometimes, we want to take the credit. He is not a hit-or-miss type of Father. He is intentional. He knows, He sees, He cares…ABOUT ALL OF IT. However, is He obligated to give us an explanation, just because He sees the bigger picture? No. (See Job 40:1-5; Isaiah 30:30a; 40:21-31; & Romans 11:33-36) Secondly, seemingly small decisions can alter your life. That’s true for positive, obedient choices & also for sinful, defiant responses. Either way, a chain of events or consequences can be set in motion that will change your life on earth, sometimes for just a little while, or maybe for eternity. Every moment counts & you don’t ever get that time back. I thought about this frequently, as I had to constantly adjust my hand motions to avoid nerve pain in my fingers. Every decision, seen or unseen by people (but always by God), affects someone, somewhere, to some degree. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we don’t get to do whatever we want. Because we are not our own. God’s reputation & His glory are at stake. We have a responsibility as image-bearers of the King of Kings. From where I sit, life is short. And getting shorter…by the day. Don’t be so foolish as to take anything, or anyone, for granted. (Matthew 5:16; Colossians 3:25; I Corinthians 6:19&20; 10:23&24; James 4:17)

HEALTH UPDATES: Many of you have been praying for my sister-in-law, Karen, in her 9-month battle with cancer. I am blessed & privileged to share that her scan on May 11 revealed that there is NO EVIDENCE of diseased tissue. We are all so grateful to God! And we are thankful for the many, many people who have prayed for her/us through this process. Karen will complete the remaining 3 months of treatment, which will be followed by another scan. Follow-up will be determined at that time. So please continue in prayer on her behalf. Also, I had the MRI done on my right adrenal. It showed NO growth, over a 1 year period, of the spot first discovered in my 2017 scans. This, too, is great news! To date, my post-cancer checkups have all been encouraging.


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