Good Morning!
Happy Wednesday! Today’s beautiful "Words for Wednesday" was written by our sister, Francie Sanderson.
March 2023: I’m sitting in the college counselor’s office crying. Yesterday my colleague, Traci, asked how my day was and I started crying. I knew then that I had to do something. We’ve been short-staffed with more work than ever. I can’t get it all done and I’m missing deadlines. I’m worrying so much that my neck hurts all the time and I’m not sleeping. I’ve been afraid to speak up because if I can’t do the work, someone else will have to take it on. But I’ve reached a breaking point and I know I can’t go on this way. So, after I apologize to Traci, I close my door and start praying. Now it’s the following morning and I’m in the counselor’s office, yes, crying. He waits patiently as I get everything out, and then he looks at me and says, “I appreciate your concerns about your work and not wanting to burden others, but you have to put YOUR HEALTH first above everything else. We talk more and he helps me realize that it’s time for me to have a long talk with my supervisor. Even knowing I still have to meet with her, I walk away feeling lighter than I have in several months.
Why, God, did I wait so long to ask for your help?
May 2023: I’m standing in the Jacksonville, FL Buc-ee's parking lot with my husband, Joe, and daughter, Katie, eating a sandwich and wondering why a place this big doesn’t have anywhere for us to sit while we eat. We are on our way to Orlando to help Katie move into the apartment she will live in during her summer job program. Yes, I’m a little apprehensive but she’s so excited and we are excited for her. As we’re talking and eating, my phone rings. I assume it’s spam because everyone knows we’re on the road, but I look anyway and see my dear friend’s name pop-up. I answer and then I hear the words, “Rebecca’s gone.” The beautiful young woman I’ve known for most of her life, who has just turned 31 years old, is gone. I’ve been praying for her for so long. In fact, practically the whole town has been praying for her. It didn’t matter that she had been getting weaker every day, and in my head, I was wondering how much more she could take. She wasn’t giving up and neither was my heart. I prayed so hard and wanted to believe that she would get better. But she didn’t. Now I'm hurting, and honestly, I’m angry.
Why, God? You could have healed her. Why didn’t you?
July 2023: I’m with Traci, and we are laughing. Our supervisor, Laurie, has just left for a 3-week vacation, and she has left the two directors, me, and Traci, in charge. We’re still not fully staffed, but I’m in a much better place now. Traci and I are laughing because we have had several things come up that we didn’t expect, and Laurie’s only been gone for two days. We know it’s going to be an interesting three weeks, but the important thing is that we’re laughing about it. A few minutes later, I notice that someone is sending me a message through our Microsoft Office Teams chat. I’m very surprised to see that it’s Laurie because she’s supposed to be in Florence, Italy! Her daughter is finishing up a travel abroad study and Laurie and her husband have flown over to meet her. They’re now going to travel throughout Tuscany. So why is she messaging me? I’m just about to fuss at her for thinking about work when these words come through.
“Jerry had a heart attack during the night - our first night here and died. I’m with Alexa and we are both in shock. I go to the US Embassy when it opens at 8:30am to make arrangements for him and us to get home quickly. Please tell our team and I appreciate all prayers. He died peacefully at least.”
I shared the message with Traci and then we told our team.
Why, God? Just….WHY?
I can keep asking that question, but the truth is that I will never really understand why. I can get stressed and cry, or get angry, or feel shocked to my very core, but in the end all I can do is acknowledge that I am too weak to carry these burdens by myself. I must give them over to my Lord and trust Him to handle what I can’t.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
As I write these Words for Wednesday, I’m questioning if I’ve done the right thing in sharing this. Maybe I should be talking about the wonderful blessings that God has given me. He truly has given me more blessings than I can count and I'm so grateful to Him.
Still… the troubles are going to keep coming, and I'm pretty sure that some of you are choosing to suffer in silence. Please know that I'm praying for you, and I would like to leave you with these beautiful words from our Lord Jesus...
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Your loving sister,
Francie Sanderson

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