Faith Stories: God Never Sleeps
In the summer of 2006, I moved from my beloved home of over 40 years in Baker to Baton Rouge. I later found my church home here at St. John’s United Methodist Church. My mom and dad, who lived with me for many years, and my beloved husband have all gone to glory, and starting over alone was not easy for me.
In January 2011, I had an early morning doctor appointment for my routine annual checkup. At the end of the appointment, I left with an X-ray showing possible masses and went that afternoon to see a surgeon. The following week I had surgery to investigate what the X-ray was showing. After the surgery, I woke up and learned I had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. My world changed from being a person who has always been the picture of health to being a person with a cancer that had a history of not giving a person any hope and not very long to live.
My church friends gathered at my home, flowers were sent, pastors prayed and comforted, but oh the nights were so frightening. I’d often sit up in my bed as long as I could to not return to the dreams and the fear of what was to come. This happened often and one day a few ladies from the church stopped by and gave me a prayer shawl that had been knitted for me. I was so appreciative of the lovely gift and thanked them for it, knowing the amount of time and talent that had been put into it. I put it in my bedroom over a chair.
Days passed, nights were dreaded and often fear rose up in my soul and I cried for my Mama, my Daddy and my husband. All was quiet one night in February when the fears returned. I sat up in bed, scared and cold (this night was particularly cold), and I remembered the prayer shawl that I had received earlier. I got up and retrieved it from over the chair and got back into bed. I wrapped it around me in an effort to get warm and sat quietly in the darkness and wept, wiping away tears with the shawl. As I sat there in the bed, in darkness, the shawl transformed from just a shawl to keep me warm to a feeling of someone’s arms wrapping around me. I felt warmth, comfort and joy, and I knew I was in the presence of Jesus and it was His arms that wrapped around me. I felt the joy like a river fill my soul and time lost its meaning and I rested my heart with Him. The years have now gone by, and joy, peace and love have remained in my heart. Pity parties are never allowed in my mind.
I later learned that the shawl was knitted by a group of ladies at St. John’s who gather, not to chit chat about the goings on of the day, but rather to knit and pray over the shawls and for the people to whom they will be given. This shawl has transformed my walk with cancer and I am so blessed to have received the shawl that had been so prayerfully knitted by a special woman. It has become more than a shawl to decorate my room. This prayer shawl has shown me that God never sleeps, and brought to life Isaiah 58:9, “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, here I am.”