The Lord didn’t come into my life in the form of a great thunderbolt. Rather he scooped me up at times when I felt alone and scared. Today my faith is strengthened as I look back over my life. I would like to share with you three circumstances that changed my life and how God cared for me and those I loved.
1. Library visits, family vacations, music lessons…these all came to a halt on May 3, 1967. I was 11 years old. My father, a band conductor, was on his way to a concert in White Rock when his station wagon was hit by a train. My mother had wanted to accompany him that night and my father said, “No, the children need you.”
I believe God protected us and gave my father the insight to keep my mother with us. My grandmother was able to come and stay with us as my Mom grieved tremendously. As we were all so young we didn’t know how to comfort her. Despite the fear and sadness that settled in our family over his passing, I know that God’s protective arms were around each of us as we began to heal.
2. Keeping my feelings inside led to increased self-doubt and isolation through my teen years. I missed my father and my mother worked long hours to keep our family of five afloat . My mother remarried. It was during this time that I had my first strong sense of God. I was always drawn to watching the biblical movies like Ben-Hur or the 10 Commandments. I felt truth in Jesus’ words and they brought comfort to a young soul that was struggling with inappropriate behavior from a step-father. When Jesus was crucified my tears would freely flow.
I began to feel like I was not alone in my suffering and that perhaps there’d be a way for me to help my family so my step-father would leave. Unexpectedly God provided an opportunity for this to happen. I gained courage to speak to my mother and as a result our family circumstance changed. It felt like the Lord’s light shone through our kitchen window!
3. Fast forwarding through a divorce and a “prayerful” new marriage in 1983 to my husband of 26 years, God blessed us with a new home and two caring daughters. Then a thunderbolt struck in the form of cancer in our youngest daughter Kristine. At 4 ½ yrs. she began complaining about sore shoulders and she had bruises which were unexplained. I instinctively thought that this was not a normal place for “growing pains” and decided to admit her to the hospital and have blood tests done. While I was at work we got the “call” to rush to the hospital.
As we were driving there I was given a premonition that it would be leukemia. This was confirmed and our life turned upside down. The prognosis at Children’s Hospital was good and we decided to take the treatment day by day, hour by hour. We wondered how we were going to get all the medicines into Krissy. The nurses were compassionate but firm. We finished the protocol but the marrow biopsy did show residual cells.
She finished treatment in November 1996 and relapsed in May 1997. I remember Krissy asking me if she was going to die. I told her we were going to work hard to help her feel better but she would need us by her side. I believe now she was wise beyond her years and knew that this was a journey eventually that would lead her to Jesus. We went back to Children’s Hospital and the new protocol was so brutal that I remember our blood pressures skyrocketing. Again we decided to just go day by day.
Unfortunately on the first day of treatment a medical error occurred and she was given a medicine intrathecally (into the spinal cord) instead of intravenously. This was a fatal mistake. God granted us two weeks where members of our church and our families came and sang to her and prayed over her. We all told her how much we loved her. Before she lost her ability to speak one morning Bruce and I were with her in her room and she said, “Thank you Jesus.” We were profoundly moved and at that moment I realized how involved Jesus and God are in our daily, personal lives.
Again she asked me what was wrong. This time I told her she got good medicine in the wrong part of her body. When she said she was scared I felt sick. However, as the paralysis progressed there seemed to be a peace about her. I honestly think that God spared her from any pain. All I remember doing is stroking her eyebrows.
God gave us the ability to forgive and staff were able to visit Krissy before she died.
For the last few moments of her life I asked everyone to clear her room and sang some hymns to her that she knew like Jesus Loves Me. Her last breath came too soon.
I was later given a gift from our minister’s wife, Angela. She had no idea Krissy had died but as she was going over the Patullo Bridge (in Surrey, BC) and she had a vision.
Krissy was holding Jesus’ hand and they were standing side by side on the far side of a river.
Our little mother had made it safely home.
– Joanne W.
Thank you Joanne – St Stephen’s Anglican Church