I am really going to have to find time to post more often because there is so much to tell you. I know you all don’t have an hour to read our blog, so I’m going to do my best to keep this concise. (Spoiler alert: I’m just finishing this post, and it is NOT concise. Sorry!)
I’ve been amazed, from the very beginning, at the number of people who have reached out to us, helped us, provided for us, ministered to us…
It’s been a blessing just to watch the way God has drawn people to our situation. So many of you are praying for us and believing God to do a miracle in our lives. One day I’ll have time to sit and count the number of people who have visited Clay during the past 15 months. These pics are just since last Saturday.
Todd, our Hospice Chaplin, and Julie, our nurse, met with us and we were able to share our story with them. It is such a great opportunity to tell about what God has done for us, and why we’re still smiling and believing. I love the pic of them laughing above. Our house has really been filled with joy and peace. Thank God! Julie comes twice a week, and is just managing Clay’s medicine and monitoring symptoms. There is not a lot to be done for him right now. He’s doing well.
Jordan and Patricia Whatley visited us with Chris and Maria Hudson. Interesting story….Patricia is the doctor who helped me at church on the Sunday night when Clay had his first real symptom. He woke up from a nap, and wasn’t able to remember what time church started or how to get there. When he told me, he already had tears in his eyes. He knew something was wrong. When we got to church, I spoke to Patricia. She helped me remain calm, but got us an appointment with one of her partners the next morning at 10:00 am. When I think of all the people God has used in our lives, I remember that moment standing in our foyer with Patricia. Thank God she was there.
So, they brought dinner and ALL their precious kids. There were Krispy Kreme donuts on the counter and Gabby (one of their daughters) asked me, in the cutest, sweetest voice ever,
“Mrs. Kristy, do they really have Kreme in them??”
I replied in shock, “Gabby, you’ve never had a Krispy Kreme donut??!!!”
When she said, “No, ma’am….” I couldn’t hardly believe it. Well, it gets worse! None of them had ever had one! Poor babies. So, we fixed that problem. I gave each of them a donut, and, of course, Clay got one too. Watch this video of their first bite. Wait for Gabby’s response. It’s so cute.
Y’all, while this is really cute, the sweeter (pun intended) thing about this, is that these children have prayed for Clay for 15 months. They pray for him with their parents, and they’ve come over in church and laid hands on him to pray for him. It has touched him so much to see the faith of the children in our lives.
I wonder if they’ll remember that their first Krispy Kreme donut, ever, was with Mr. Clay?!
Wow. I’m not sure I could have taken a worse picture, but it’s the only one we took, so I’ll have to sacrifice for the greater good! Ha. Last Saturday, my high school friends, Todd and Betsy Smith, knocked on my door with their adorable kids. We had a very nice visit over coffee. God gave me some incredible friends in my teenage years who have stayed with me all my life. It’s such a comfort to know they care about us.
He woke up last Saturday to more Krispy Kreme donuts, delivered by his sweet cousin, Stacey Green. His parents came down for the visit, and my cousin, Lori, from Arkansas surprised us when she walked in the room with my grandmother. We had a party in the bedroom!
Our friend, Kenny Kepper, and his wife Kara came. Kenny had a heart attack a week before they were here, and he looked wonderful! I was amazed at how well he was doing. While they were here, our friends from church, Paul and Angie Merchant, came in. Angie had a lumpectomy just a few days before this. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and has a long road of treatment ahead of her.
It was the Lord’s plan for us all to be together. Kenny shared some scripture from Psalm 119 where David says,
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”
We all talked about how that scripture doesn’t really make sense, until you walk through your affliction and you see how God uses it to make you more like Him. Praise God that there is purpose in our pain.
Jill Wyble joined us and brought Middle School yearbooks from Istrouma Middle, when she and Clay were in 7th and 8th grade. They laughed a lot. His long term memory is perfect, so he was telling stories and they were remembering teachers and friends. Very funny to watch.
Angie Robertson is an old girlfriend of Clay’s. I had only met her once, but she started writing me as soon as Clay got sick. She has kept up with our blog and written me several times to tell us how much it has ministered to her. Her children ask her to read it to them and they pray for Clay, as a family. She asked if she could see him.
Now, I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten some funny looks from people when I say that Clay’s ex-girlfriend’s are visiting him. (Angie is the second one!) But, let me tell you…..I have nothing to be insecure about. This man loves me with all of his heart, and I know it. I was glad that Angie had the chance to see him and thank him.
She said something really sweet to Clay that is a common theme for how many of you feel about him, and there is a lesson in it for all of us. She told him that she always remembered how he made her feel loved. He showed her how a man should treat her, and he set a standard for her future relationships.
Other people have told him similar things. He has a way of making people feel special. He is genuinely interested when you talk to him. He pays attention to what people say. He always speaks. You know, like, when we’re in Wal-Mart at 10:00 pm, and he sees an old friend from Middle School 3 aisles over??!! He’s going over there to speak to them. You can bet on it. And, while there were times when I would have preferred to walk the other way, since I had no make up and I was tired – we spoke. And, now, I am so thankful for that. Because all that love and attention is getting returned to him 100 fold, at a time when he desperately needs it.
I’m so proud of him. Proud to be his wife. Proud to sit beside him while people love on him and take time out of their busy lives to come tell him what he has meant to them. I’m so proud that he has lived his life for the Lord and allowed God to love people through him. God has made him a light and a testimony for many, many people to see, and I have had the best seat in the house for 15 months, as I’ve watched God minister through him.
Do you ever wonder why we’re not depressed? Why we’re not scared? Why we’re smiling?
This is why. Because God is ministering to people through him. There is purpose in our pain. There is a great hope in us that God has allowed affliction for a reason. Yes, it has brought us so much closer to the Lord, but it has also become a ministry. You see these pictures of all the visits, and all the people who have come through our home. And, many of you have asked me if he’s tired of it, or if I’m tired.
The answer is no. I believe that God is giving Clay health in the midst of sickness because he is allowing God to speak through him. Although his short term memory is not functioning properly, he is able to testify of God’s love every time someone comes to see him. Watch this….
This is a regular occurrence in our house. Wether he’s talking to long time veterans of the faith, or people who don’t know the Lord, he tells them the same thing. “It’s Jesus, y’all!” He says that a lot.
He had a visit from some friends he worked with at Hancock Bank several years ago. He loved it, and he told them all the same things he always says. Love the Lord. Jesus is everything. Nothing else matters. God is carrying the burden. When they left, he asked me to remind him what he said. He looked at me very serious and said, “Kristy, did I tell them about Jesus?” I assured him that they heard the name of Jesus that night. And, they all seemed to love Him, too. Clearly, they care deeply for Clay. It was a sweet time.
We continue to be blessed with help. Jean Raggio mowed our grass, while Sam helped a little. She made his day much easier. Richard Jordan cleaned our windows this week. Man, my house is in great shape! Thank you, to so many who have helped us during this time.
All these visits! So many prayers. So much love. Sooooooo much food! So much laughter. So much peace. Praise God for all of you!
We had another all night prayer meeting last night. We stayed until almost 1:00 am. Clay just laid on the pew when he felt tired, but he still prayed and worshipped. I have never done this before, but I played the piano and sang for a little while. Clay loves Kari Jobe’s song, “I Am Not Alone.” Every time he hears it, he remembers that he had a vision of Jesus while he was recovering from surgery and it is triggered by this song.
My sweet friends, who know how much I love pictures, and who also know how sentimental I am, captured this sweet moment. He was laying down when I went to the piano and started playing. His eyes were closed. But, when I started singing, his head popped up. I guess in shock because he listens to me play and sing at home, but never in public. He laid back down, but his hand went right up in the air in worship to the Lord.
I’m probably going to take a nap, now. I love you people who love us so much! You’ll never understand how encouraged we are by your love and prayers. Thank you.