‘Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God’.
This evening as I watched the shadows deepen, my thoughts turned to those who live silent lives of suffering in the Shadows of Life. Shadows are silent, yet possess a beauty, differing in shape and size. The summer sun can create a shadow, as can the pale beam of the moon, yet all bring a distinct silence. The words of C.H. Spurgeon: ‘There are some of your graces, which would never be discovered, if it were not for your trial’. I have known the silence of shadows but I came to know through personal experience that in the darkness of night when the silence was deafening ‘Standing Somewhere In The Shadows’ was One who could enter the depth of despair. I had to learn to ‘dwell,’ to remain close at all times in all situations of life. Psalm 91:1 ‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow ……’ What need I more ?
I am counting the weeks. I am homesick for Romania and yet this mission trip will be filled with change. New students arriving in Emanuel University filled with plans for their future; how blessed to know there is One who already knows the plans He has for us. ‘My Girls’ Oana, Miriam, Silvia, Ligia, Anca, Corneila … now wives, moving to new areas of service, challenge and opportunity. I will miss ‘my times’ with them but so thankful for the years in the Beauty of Holiness Group, where we learned to show Christ to others through hearts of gentleness and acts of kindness. When we include the Lord in every detail, in every moment of our lives, He will lead and He will be our sure guide; our foot will never slip.
‘My Girls’ will always be in my heart. God’s thoughts are always for His children and so my own thoughts will always be directed to the children God has placed in my care if only for a season, a season of blessing that will last my lifetime. ‘For Such A Time As This’.
Emanuel Hospice held their Summer Camp 31 July – 05 August, situated in the beautiful mountains of Romania. The camp is for terminally ill children, children recently bereaved. The team leaders represent Christian role models through their love and care, realising the inner hurt, recognising the pain hidden behind a forced tiny smile. I think of one little boy especially close to my heart in camp one week after losing his precious ‘Mum’ – he had to return home to an empty chair. Not easy when you are only eleven. He is only one of the many I visit and who suffer in silence, behind a smile. How can I resist extending my love, my time. I quote: ‘All that I have I lay at the feet of the wonderful Saviour who loves me’. We too should love.
And yet there are more! Little ones were too ill to attend. Please remember two specific child patients very ill – there are people hurting, there are people drowning in despair, the only love they knew is now lifeless and cold. I quote: ‘If I’ve Jesus, Jesus, only, I possess a cluster rare ….’ His everlasting love will always surround in our quiet and empty times bringing a glow, a warmth to the core of our heart. A few days ago, I visited an elderly couple very dear to my heart. As we shared together and talked about the Lord, suddenly my friend (clasping the hand of his dear wife of sixty eight years) sang: ‘Standing Somewhere In The Shadows You’ll Find Jesus’ – what clusters of fruit in the garden of my heart were mine on this occasion – fruit to take with me on my journey to Romania. Precious memories.
We cannot pass by, our hands should always be outstretched, our heart reaching out to touch the forgotten outcast, the unseen face of darkness. I think of the many who sit by a silent telephone, waiting for the door bell to ring, people totally alone. I cannot close my eyes, my heart to this reality. May I be emptied of ‘self’ and focus on the lives of others . Each new morning brings a new sunrise. He is our refuge. But we must ‘Tell Them’.
As I write, Casa Grace are nearing the end of their two week Summer Camp also in the beautiful mountains of Romania. The first week was for the younger children and this current week is specially designed for young adults. Walter J. Mathams, 1882; wrote these words in Edinburgh, Scotland at the request of the Psalms and Hymns Committee of the Scottish Baptist Union. ‘Jesus, Friend of little children, Be a friend to me; Take my hand, and ever keep me, Close to Thee’. The team of Casa Grace are an example of God’s love and compassion in their level of care for these children who live in poverty, who have never experienced or known ‘a holiday’; the orphan, disabled child are shown the highest level of one to one care. The team put aside their own plans to love these little ones, showing compassion as we are taught in the Word of God to love. There is time for play and activity but always a special time to learn the ‘Story of Jesus’. Love is poured out in abundance and they give with a whole heart.
Now for an update on ‘Adam’s Room’. Did I ever think? Did I ever imagine?
Lorry number thirteen contained hundreds of Handbags filled with toiletries and hygiene products – these were equally divided and donated to the work of Emanuel Hospice and Casa Grace Foundation. I fondly remember my first meeting with Adam. An extremely cold October morning in Romania, however Monika and I braved the elements and made our way to the Orphanage Centre where we distributed many Handbags for Mums of the disabled children. I suggested we go into the ‘Therapy Centre’ (in case we omitted someone). There in the corner of the room was the most beautiful curly haired little boy with the most amazing eyes. ‘This is Adam’ said my friend Dora (Therapist, Casa Grace). With great excitement and curious to see what goodies were inside the Handbags, he leapt into my arms and remained there throughout my visit, brushing his hair, pretending to clean his teeth … This is great fun but I wonder who this new lady is? We soon developed a bond, a relationship of trust, I was totally caught and this (for me) was a matter to pray about but I needed to get my assignment clear in my mind. And so I waited on God’s timing.
One year later, I can clearly trace God’s amazing love for all. Adam is one of many who lives in the Abandoned Baby Wing – this is Adam’s home and I so wanted Adam and his friends to have a place of play. Let me introduce you to Alice (20) an Art Student with the most amazing talent. I invited Alice to come and share with me in Room 205 just before leaving in June. She was excited about the assignment and lovingly and willingly offered her free time to create a ‘room of memory’.
Once painted, the carpet will be fitted in readiness for the three pallets arriving the first week of our mission trip. The room will be furnished to create peaceful and pleasant surroundings where group activities will be held for abandoned babies and children who are unwanted and unloved, disabled children with special needs from special care homes, where they can know true love and affection through the art of play and receive therapy by trained specialists.
An ‘Army’ of ladies has stood with me giving of their talent, time and patience. ‘Thank you’ is such a small word in comparison to all the love and carefully chosen items donated by Individual gifts enabling the purchase of Fisher Price Toys, Children’s Arm Chairs, children’s Handbags filled with ‘goodies’, Duplo Blocks, Trucks, Train Set, Pram & Doll, Garage, Kitchen, Rocking Horse etc.
Ahoghill Quilters – Patchwork Quilts, Soother Blankets, Patchwork Dolls etc.
Mad About Fabrics & Causeway Fabrics – Material, Cushions, Bean Bags
Village Blinds, Ballymena – Nursery Chairs – Specific Toys for recreational purposes, Blinds for Therapy Room.
Agherton Mother’s Union, Portstewart – Christmas Chocolate Novelties.
Various Groups donating new items of clothing, sleeping bags for the many babies and children and knitted garments.
One lady who filled seventy three Handbags with toiletries and hygiene products, ladies who knitted so lovingly with such attention to detail and colour.
Individual Gift of new Photocopier, HP Printer, Pampers etc.
One couple who donated Baby Creams, Lotions, Pampers, Special Chair for Disabled Child.
Magherafelt and Grace BWF purchasing and filling backpacks for the terminally ill and orphan children.
Logans of Cloughmills who are hosting a Special Evening of Music and Supper by Candlelight in aid of Give With Your Heart Appeal. The list is endless.
I am personally thankful for this project, shaping my character causing me to see the ‘really important’ things in life from the ‘important’. Through this experience I have found ‘something beautiful’, something worth while, something worth living for. Did I ever think? Did I ever imagine?
Abraham Lincoln wrote:’We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own’.
My investment is held by Higher Hands – today I submit my life in thankfulness for the many Riches of His
Grace daily bestowed. To Him belongs the glory for the things He has done, from little there is much.
To Him Be All The Glory.
Shirley 25th August 2017