22 February 2010

“For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord…”

My maternal grandmother came from a large family of siblings. 5 girls, 3 boys. I cannot imagine growing up in such a large family since my running joke with my siblings, even to this day is, “You know I shoulda been an only child, right?” But my grandmother, Thelma, was one of eight children growing up in Charleston, SC in early 1900s. I remember as a child journeying to the family homestead and visiting my great-grandmother Rachel and my Aunt Inez in Charleston. (The house was always “spooky” to me, but hey, I was just a child and you go where your parents take you.)

I didn’t really get to “know” my other grandaunts and uncles until I was grown. Of course, I knew of them, but didn’t really get to “know” them until I was older. The first real interaction I remember with them was at a family reunion we had in Atlanta in 1990, and then a subsequent family reunion we had in Charleston, SC in 1997. It was at the Charleston reunion that I was drawn to and intrigued by my grandmother’s sister, Dolly. A short little lady with sparkling eyes and a sweet high pitched voice, she regaled us with stories from her childhood – and surprised us with her skills at the Electric Slide on our family dinner cruise. I remember remarking to her (and my Aunt Julie, her partner in crime and ace buddy), “I didn’t know you knew how to dance, Aunt Dolly!” “There’s a lot you don’t know about me, young lady”, she responded with a laugh and a smile. She endeared me to her from that moment on. After all, she’s a woman after my own heart.

Yesterday, I got a phone call that my dear Aunt Dolly has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and has decided to undergo a radical mastectomy next week to rid her body of the disease. When I heard the news from my mother, I wondered “Why?” and “Why now?” Not that it’s any better to get the diagnosis when you are younger, but surely, when you have already lived 70+ years, shouldn’t you be spared the drama, expense and invasion of such a surgery? Shouldn’t your golden years be just that: golden?

As always, when faced with a sad situation, I turn to my favorite Bible promise and passage, Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (KJV) I may not understand why this is happening to my Aunt Dolly now – but God does. I may not want this to be going on in her life – and ultimately, in the lives of her husband, daughter and the rest of the extended family – but I have to trust that God knows best and that He loves her more than I ever can and that His plan for her life is perfect.

I solicit your prayers next Tuesday as she goes underneath the surgeon’s knife. Pray for her faith and trust in the God she has loved and proclaimed to love all her life. Pray even now that the doctors, nurses and technicians will be successful in removing all traces of the cancer and that she will not have to undergo radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments. Pray for the peace of her husband Palmer, her daughter Gwen and the rest of the family. But most importantly, pray that God’s will be done in this situation. Pray that the outcome of this surgery will be an ongoing praise report to His love, mercy and care for His children. I thank you and my family thanks you in advance.

Be blessed.

© 2010 Kristina E. Smith

PS: The above picture shows my grandmother’s siblings who are still with us: from left to right: Aunt Julie, Aunt Dolly, Uncle Billy, Aunt Glo and Aunt Dolly’s husband, Uncle Palmer. What a great looking group of “old folks”!

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