Preface: This story was written in 2004, I stumbled across it today and felt lead to share. How I stumbled across it is a testimony all it’s own and follows this story….
“Stop! Did you turn off your curling iron?” “Wait! Make sure you check the air in the tire before you leave.” “Leave! Now! Before something bad happens.” I have heard all of these things in my head as loud as if someone were standing right next to me, speaking at a normal volume. One thing I have learned is to welcome those voices, and not ignore them. Once I was on the highway with my mother and father, coming back from my mothers’ chemo treatment and heard “Get gas now.” I still had a quarter of a tank, and gas prices were much cheaper once I got off the highway. But I listened to that voice, pulled off and got some overpriced gas. Five minutes later we were stuck in traffic, on the highway, for over an hour. Had I not listened, I would have ran out of gas, and been stranded, waiting for help with my very sick mother in tow.
As I was walking from cubicle to cubicle, trying to sell some professional baseball tickets I had and couldn’t use, I overheard a couple of ladies I work with discussing a lady who worked at our company who was very sick with cancer. I was told her family was friends with my boss. By this time I had already lost my mother to her battle with pancreatic cancer. I remembered that what sustained me through her death and the time after, were memories. Those memories of times together comforted me. The voice spoke. “Give the tickets to that family.” I first argued with that voice as I said to myself “But I can’t afford to just GIVE them away.” I must not have been very convincing because the reply was “Yes, you can.” I offered the tickets up through my boss, who in turn got them to her and her family. She and her family went and shared a day at the ballpark and I thought my work was done.
A week later I picked up the local newspaper and read the article entitled “How to Cope When You’ve Been Told You Only Have 6 Months To Live.” The article brought me to tears. It was a story about Jeanne, the lady I gave the tickets to. Her fate was inevitable. She would die within the next 6 months. Her dying wish was to go to Hawaii with her family, but they were unable to afford it. Some of her fellow co-workers set up a fund in her name and were asking for help. Money was needed, and it was needed fast.
There was the voice again. “Put on a Benefit Concert for This Lady.” What? Really? “Yes! Put on a concert.” At that moment, something took over my very being, down to my core. I sat down at the computer and started writing. The words were not my own. It was a full page touching on the loss of my mother, my desire to help, and a request for help from a local venue. I phoned the venue and asked for a fax number and asked the girl on the other end of the line to please get my request to someone who would have the ability to help me, by days end. Not only did I want someone to give me a venue, I wanted an answer that day. If I had stopped and thought about any of this, instead of just acting out of instinct, I would never have gone any further. This was a huge, impressive venue. Wouldn’t they just laugh at me? Too many times, if we think too much, we impose human limits on situations and people and do not allow for great things to happen.
I remember looking at the clock. It was 4:30 p.m. The phone rang on an outside line and I assumed it was one of my children calling to say they needed picked up from practice. But on the other end of the phone was the general manager of the large venue I was requesting. He said he was touched by my letter and wanted to meet with me over lunch the next day. He wanted to help me help Jeanne. Tears started to stream down my face as I hung up.
The next day I took my husband along for the meeting. He was a member of one of the bands that would be performing at this event. My husband can be very skeptical, he calls himself a “realist”. He said “Who are we going to meet with Kris? Are you sure it’s someone who can decide if we can play out there? I mean you are going to try and pull off a charity event in 12 days. It just can’t be done.” Those words did not faze me, for I knew this was bigger than me at this point. We walked into the meeting and the gentleman introduced himself as the GM of the venue and corporation I was working with. I smiled slyly at my husband as if to say “Look, I got the big guy!” Not only did I get the big guy, but his PR people and his staff for the event. It was agreed. We were going to hold a concert for this dying lady. The response in the community with raffle prizes, volunteers, donations of time and money, it was all overwhelming.
A couple of days before the big event, I had a moment where I was no longer running on adrenaline. I had been focusing on the event, and had not been praying like I should have. I had a moment where I froze and freaked out and thought “Who am I kidding?” “I can’t pull this off. No one is going to show up and I will have let everyone down.” That’s when the voice appeared again and said “This isn’t about you. It’s not you anyway, God is working through you. Don’t forget that!”
The night of the benefit finally arrived, and we made enough money to send Jeanne to Hawaii with her family, along with some spending money. Jeanne passed away shortly after their return trip. Had I postponed the date for the concert even one week, she would not have been able to enjoy the trip. God used me, someone who knew that cancer could rip through your body and take your life from you in a fast frenzy. Someone who listens to those voices and knew I had to act with the urgency placed in my heart.
I’d like to say that when Jeanne came back I went to visit her and got to know her. But I didn’t. I couldn’t for some reason. But I don’t think that was in the plan. The plan was just for me to listen to those voices in my head…..or in my heart…and obey. In doing so, I was able to help rally a community who touched the lives of another family. I truly believe we all have these voices inside, but we have to acknowledge them when they guide us.
Some people call these voices our conscious, a sixth sense, or a woman’s intuition. I personally feel it is God’s Holy Spirit, watching over me, even in the smallest of details. This thought brings me comfort, for if He cares enough to make sure I don’t suffer by leaving on my curling irons, or running out of gas, then there is no limit to what He can do!
Post story comment: Funny how God works. I can see the finish line, almost there with my book, and yet a bit discouraged as I try to tie up the loose ends and finish it up. I was praying about this today. I came home and was looking for a picture from a few years ago – totally unrelated. I’ve moved many times (and computers) since then. I happened to find an old CD that I thought may have the picture on it. I put it in my laptop and what appeared? Word files from 2004 – 11 years ago – with a folder entitled “My Book Ideas & Stories”! I read those. Things I had written about moments in time I had forgotten. And as I read them, I realized a few things: It’s good to journal and write things down and pull them out years later to see how far we’ve come. And I realized why it’s taken so long for this book. While my writing was good, it didn’t have quite the impact and experience I have now after having gone through my valleys and spent some time wandering in the desert. Then came the peace and a reminder “I put this in your heart a long time ago. It’s already done. It’s already written. Just be patient for that ending….” A sweet, gentle reminder that all good things happen in God’s perfect timing when you have faith.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11