Jackie's Journey: The Inspiration of Gratefulness!

 

“Give thanks in all circumstances (inclusive; no exceptions!), for this is God’s will for you…” 1 Thess. 5:19

Recently a missionary friend posted a picture from our New Tribes Missionary school.  It was taken in what we called “the little dorm” in our early years on the field.  In the picture of about 15 children were my two daughters.  Christina was about 4 and in the foreground was a less-than-2-year-old Kim.  The picture was not significant in itself but the fact that I could not recall when my girls could have ever been in that picture was significant!  I literally, burst into tears!

Christina, my eldest daughter, reminded me that they had spent 6 weeks in “the little dorm” after I was flown out of our village with a ruptured appendix.  There was unrest in Panama City (guns in the streets, riots, etc.) and the Military Police were closing the airport!  We were the last fight allowed to land or take off.  I was hastily loaded onto a gurney directly out of the plane and I watched our Cessna take off into the stormy skies with my two little ones inside! 

I was unaware of most of what was transpiring around me, but I knew my circumstance was bad.  I was rushed to the Military Hospital and was rapidly being moved down the corridor, when Ralph heard someone call his name.  He turned to see a Surgeon that we had recently met through our Pucuro partners.  She had been on duty for 72 hours when she caught a glimpse of Ralph in the hall and instantly turned to help us, never leaving our side until she had run tests, completed my emergency laparotomy and safely escorted us to the ICU hours later.  God had gone before us and sent her to us in His perfect timing…

 This is the posted picture!  Are these not the cutest missionary children…ever!!

This is the posted picture!  Are these not the cutest missionary children…ever!!

I am emotionally astounded that I was so desperately ill that I did not know where my two little girls were in those first days! My recovery was slow and I ran a low-grade fever for a year after this event.  Wanting to reunite our family as quickly as possible and return to the interior, which was our home, we found ourselves in a quandary because we could not get a release from the doctors to go back! 

As I’m writing this, my past and present merge and the surge of gratefulness is overwhelming!

How many people can you think of offhand who have benefited your life in the past?  Whose name immediately comes to mind?

Gratefulness is recognizing the benefits, which God and others have provided.

From the pilot risking his life to save mine to the missionary families who sacrificially opened their hearts and homes to us to see me recover, my heart overflows with inexpressible thanksgiving for their generosity toward our family during this conflicting time in our lives. 

Gratitude is the memory of the heart!  It is said to be the parent of all the other virtues.  My gratitude for those members of the field that picked up the slack and totally covered for me is overpowering.  

Norman and Barbara Slaymaker were the “little dorm” parents at that time and took the loving responsibility of my babies for six weeks after our pilot, Scotty, and his wife, Mary, filled the gap in those first few days in Panama City.  After leaving the hospital, John and Ruth Jenkins, our busy field leaders, “adopted us” for another six weeks (!) until the doctors would release us to return to our post!  What a tremendous weight we must have been…a family of 4 for months!!! 

My memories are scattered and few.  I isolated myself into a survival mode.  I really thought I was going to die.  I had no time for tears and cannot remember even wanting to cry during those weeks, although I am sure I must have and those whose care I was under would readily attest that I did!  My heart cannot express the genuine gratitude that is flooding my eyes and consciousness as I write this!  I am mentally rehearsing the personal cost of the missionary families that encouraged me during those days and blanketed me with prayer and hands of intervention!

Why this flood of overwhelming gratefulness?  Why now?  What is it about life that at unexpected moments God opens our awareness to the magnitude of His Sovereignty, Majesty, Grace and Mercy on our behalf?  

I am sitting here with a keen mindfulness of:

  • My Unworthiness…and His Holiness!   
  • My Pretense of thinking I have any kind of control in this life (other than to choose to walk with Him)…and His complete and encompassing Rule and Protection!
  • My Powerlessness…and His Omnipotent Presence, faithfully accomplishing His purpose with my blindness to His silent footsteps all around me!
  • My Desperate Need to express my gratefulness and indebtedness to God and others! 

Do you make it a habit to thank God and others for the many things in life that others take for granted?

I would like to express my gratitude to you for joining me each Monday morning and for your encouraging words.  I am so blessed! 

Will you take time today to reflect glory back to Him… the Author of every blessing?  Let’s take today’s opportunity to acknowledge those who have and are benefiting our lives!