Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Hope Chest- Hope Turns Challenges Into Joy by Linda Greenwood

It isn’t a difficult task for me to think of a woman who reflects hope in all seasons and trials of life.  I suspect these women are relatively rare, but I am extraordinarily blessed to know such a woman and to call her my friend. 
She probably doesn’t remember our first meeting.  A mutual friend thought that Marcie and I have a lot in common.   About ten years ago, our friend decided that we should meet one another.  In response, Marcie offered to make lunch for us.  What a lunch!  She made a complete meal.  
There were two truths I learned about her that day.   The first is that whatever Marcie attempts, she does it at full speed ahead.   The second truth is that Marcie likes to eat lunch at 11:30 and she is a meat and potatoes kind of girl.  
During lunch we chatted about our various illnesses and, as I recall, we didn’t quite “click” the way our friend thought we would.  The click would come later. 
In the years following “the lunch”, I ran into Marcie all over the place.  
She played the flute in the Bethany Church holiday orchestra concerts, and we bumped into each other with mutual friends.

I saw the same side of Marcie that everybody sees – the outgoing, smiling, self deprecating, candid and razor witted lady who attacks life head on.
I truly began to know Marcie when I was in her Bible Study group.  I saw a remarkable leader who has the unique ability to draw meandering Bible study discussions gently back on topic, while showing a sensitivity towards ladies is completely honest and real. 
It was during that time that I began to see her as my hero. 
Her smile and gracious, loving attitude shines through the daily, relentless pain she lives with every day.  Marcie silently – no complaints here – is a loving mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend.  She turns every setback, every illness into a positive quality.  
She was born with Nystagamus.  It is a condition where her eyes are constantly moving.  She adjusted to this dizzying condition, and now it is normal for her.  It’s truly amazing that she loves amusement rides that spin.
 If you’ve ever sat next to Marcie you have probably noticed she moves continuously from the waist down.  She really is clinically hyperactive.  Her mom taught her how to control her ADD.  So, she has excellent rhythm in her musical ability.  She turns a disability into joy.
Disfiguring Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia hammer constant pain into her muscles and joints.  I have never seen Marcie grimace or be short tempered while she is going through a flare up.  I have, however, seen her laugh and joke when most of us in her position would be crying. 
 She’s cleaned my house when I couldn’t.  
She visits the sick.  
She is an excellent and fearless mom especially when her husband was away from home on frequent business trips.
Recently, her Godly attitude and bravery shone even more brightly.  She stayed by her Dad’s side through his surgery, decline and passing.  She did not express anger, fear or questioning about God to me about his illness and passing.  In retrospect of that period of time, she often called me when she knew I was going through battles.  She’s stuck by me through thick and thin. 
She is an example of how to encourage the broken hearted.
Last year, my friend suffered mini strokes.  She was in the hospital several times.  I heard a, “HI Lynn!”, as I entered her hospital room.  
Big smile.  No fear.  No attitude.  Determination, Trust in the Lord. Joy.  
The mini strokes have slowed Marcie down physically.  Oh, but not mentally or emotionally. 
 Her prayer life is strong. 
 Her love of the Lord is intact.  
Her smiles and unique laughter still strong. 

Yes Marcie, you are my hero, my steadfast friend.  And, I love you. 

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