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From God's Lips to My Ears
by Lorraine Davis
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From God’s Lips to My Ears

It was 4:30 a.m. and I’d spent the night watching the blue neon numbers on the clock by my bedside slowly change, minute by minute, hour by hour. The wee hours of the morning were quiet. The kids were in bed. My husband laid next to me sleeping, yet still aware of my restlessness. I prayed constantly, “Lord, please help my sister Sharon. She needs you Lord. Give her Your strength to hold on long enough for the stem cells to take hold of her immune system.” I thanked Jesus for every minute that went by that the phone didn’t ring. And every time it did, my heart would stop, waiting for the voice on the other end to tell me my sister went home to be with our Lord.

I turned the alarm off and got out of bed. I put on my robe and grabbed my cell phone. As I put a cup of water into the microwave to make a warm cup of tea, I dialed the family center at
Sloane Kettering Hospital in New York. A tired voice answered. I knew it wasn’t someone from my family, yet we shared an immediate connection. A connection so deep that words were unnecessary. The gut wrenching pain of watching someone you love battle cancer head on.

May 16, 2000. This was the show down. One of them was going to win, Sharon or cancer. The anticipation is something no other person understands unless they’ve walked down that road. “Hello? I need to speak with Peg, Karen or Kristina please. “ People thrown together by a cruel twist of fate. Spending hours together laughing, crying, hoping, praying, waiting...sharing the agony of not knowing. My mom, Peg, answered the phone. I could barely hear her. Her voice was tired. There was no hope left in her. Her baby girl was fighting for her life and she was watching her slip away, ever so slowly. I asked Mom if I could talk to my youngest sister. Maybe it was better to talk to her. Maybe she was stronger. But she wasn’t that much better than Mom. I asked her how things were going. As usual, she said things were up and down. One moment Sharon was holding her own and the next moment the nurses were telling us she wouldn’t make it through the next hour. Yet she did. She kept holding on.

My sister Karen answered the phone. “I don’t know what to do anymore,” I said. “ I’ve prayed more since the stem cell transplant started on May 2nd than I have for the past year!” “I know”, Karen said, her voice quivering on the other end. “When do we stop praying for her to beat the cancer and start praying that the Lord would take her home?” I asked, not really wanting to know the answer. “I’ve been thinking the same thing,” Karen replied. We were both exhausted. Mentally, physically, spiritually, we were like walking zombies, going through the daily rituals of life. Our thoughts were elsewhere. Praying constantly, reliving memories, singing praise and worship songs, it’s what kept us going. “I’ll call you at lunch time.” I told my little sister. “Okay, hopefully we’ll have some good news,” she said. I hung up the phone and got ready for work.

As I backed out of our driveway, I gripped the steering wheel and began talking aloud to God. “Dear Lord, I’m so tired. I can’t make it through another twenty-four hours living like this. My faith is wavering. I’ve felt so strongly that Sharon would make it through this war with cancer and be a testimony for so many others. Father God, I don’t even know how to pray anymore.” I put my car in reverse and like a robot, backed out of the driveway and headed for the freeway. The Lord’s prayer came to my mind. “Lord, is that you? Do you want me to say the Lord’s Prayer?” “Yes,” He answered. I obeyed, not even realizing that God had just spoken to me. I began saying the words “Our Father who are in Heaven...” and in my mind came these words from the Lord. “My word tells you that the Holy Spirit intercedes in prayer for you when you can not find the words to pray.” “Yes Lord! I remember! “Romans 8:26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words.” (NLT) I continued saying the Lord’s Prayer, but instead of reciting it like memorized words, I said each word slowly. And not even realizing it at the time, the Lord was nourishing me with His word. Nourishing my mind, my body, my soul.

“For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever, Amen.” I held each word in my heart and continued my commute to work. I turned the radio on. I enjoyed listening to contemporary Christian music and as I adjusted the volume, the following words fell upon my ears.

Trust the Lord with all your heart
all of your soul and all of your being
Hold on, listen and obey
surrender your life into His keeping
Choose Life.

“Lord, are you really talking to me?” I quickly reached for the control and turned the radio even louder. The chorus of the song reached deep inside my soul.

Choose life, that you might live
the life that He gives
He gives you forever
Choose life, the way that it's true
from the one who chose you
your father in Heaven
Choose life

“Okay God, I know you are talking to me!” I said out loud. “Choose Life” by Big Tent Revival ended with two powerful words “Choose Life.” “Choose Life Lord, choose life. Which life? We have been praying for over two weeks for Sharon’s life here on earth to continue. We’ve prayed for her to be cured from the lymphoma that has invaded her body like an alien. Lord, are you telling me she is going to live?”

I merged from one freeway to the other and something caught my eye on the side of the road. As I rounded the curve, there on my left , was a mylar balloon. The balloon danced in the air, and the morning sun shimmered off of it like the silver bursts from a 4th of July sparkler. My eyes moved quickly taking it all in while maintaining control of my car. I realized that the balloon was not attached to anything. It was just bobbing up and down. I’ve driven the Phoenix freeways to work for 20 years and have never seen a helium balloon off the freeway. And then, all of a sudden, I saw it! It was a butterfly! The balloon had a butterfly on it! Butterflies, butterflies, they mean something, I thought to myself. “Lord,” I asked, “what are you telling me? I know butterflies represent something, but what?” My mind was racing. Mom! Mom has butterfly wallpaper in her bedroom. She will know. “Please Father, I don’t understand what you’re telling me! Please continue to talk to me until I understand.” My heart was racing and I continued praying out loud as I got closer to my destination. “Dear Father in Heaven, thank you so much for the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, you are awesome! The Perfect One, the only One that can translate the words of my broken soul and whisper them into the ears of our Almighty Lord. Jesus, please continue to talk to me throughout the day. Amen.”

I pulled off to the side of the street in front of the entrance to the parking garage. I grabbed my cell phone and hit redial. “Sloane Kettering Hospital, Family Center,” the exhausted voice said on the other line. “Karen?” “Yes.” “It’s me. I just had the weirdest thing happen to me! As I was driving to work the Lord and I talked. Seriously, we talked!” “Where’s Mom?” I asked excitedly. “Right here, tell me what happened.” I relived the experience with my sister and could feel the strength of God fill both of our bodies. “You need to tell Mom!” Karen said. “ I know, but first, do you know what butterflies signify?” Mom has them all over her bedroom, does she know?” “I have no idea,” my sister said, her voice sounded stronger. “Talk to Mom!”

Our Mom took the phone and I again relived my conversation with God and asked her “What do butterflies mean?” “Life!” she said excitedly. “They signify life!” God’s strength filled my Mom and she wanted to get off of the phone to tell my niece and brother in law. Before we hung up, we prayed, asking the Lord to continue filling us with his power.

I called again at lunch time and things weren’t looking good. We’d been through this routine so many times that numbness became our friend. Yet this time, it was different. We knew all along that God was in control, yet we were praying for our will and not His. It was like a light bulb moment and although I knew that choosing life could mean that my sister would leave us, choosing life meant that she would be in His kingdom forever. “Lord, if that is Your will, please take her today. Please don’t let our family anguish in this hell any longer!” I’d finally come to peace knowing that whatever happened, it was in God’s infinite wisdom and love.

Shortly after dinner that night, I received a phone call. My family at Sloane Kettering had decided to call people and hold the phone to Sharon’s ear so we could tell her we loved her and that it was alright for her to go live with the Lord. “Hi sis, it’s me. I’m going to miss you so much! I’m jealous you know! You get to be the first one of the girls to go to Heaven. I guess you really are Daddy’s favorite! By the way, give him a hug for me and tell him I miss him. Remember you promised to see what you could do about a phone line in Heaven. I love you! Try to get our mansions in Heaven on the same street. The Bible tells us the streets are paved in gold. I can’t wait to get there to be with you. I’ll see you soon. I love you my sister, I love you.”

Within an hour I received the call that my sister Sharon had chosen life! She chose eternal life with our Lord in Heaven.

I boarded a red eye flight and headed to Pennsylvania. My brother in law picked me up at the airport and we arrived at the house just as my niece and nephew got out of bed. They already knew that Sharon was in Heaven now. I told them the butterfly story and my nephews eyes grew big. “I know that song! It’s by Big Tent Revival. I think I have the CD.” He raced off to his room to find it. Returning quickly, he placed the CD into the player and the words of the song began echoing into our hearts.

A choice is set before you now
living or dying, blessing or cursing
You know, the time has come around
to turn from your fighting
and rest in his mercy

Choose life, that you might live
the life that He gives
He gives you forever
Choose life, the way that it's true
from the one who chose you
your father in Heaven
Choose Life

Trust the Lord with all your heart
all of your soul and all of your being
Hold on, listen and obey
surrender your life into His keeping
Choose Life
And the weight you're under
will be lifted away
And the world will wonder
what happened here today
then you'll stand right here and say

Choose life, that you might live
the life that He givesHe gives you forever
Choose life, the way that it's true
from the one who chose you
your father in Heaven
Choose life

Tears streamed down our faces as we all realized it. Had I heard the first verse of the song that morning, I would’ve known that my sister was going to choose life with Jesus. But it wasn’t God’s will for me to know that, for us to know that. His will was to empower us with His strength and mercy and to carry us through this battle in our lives. He reached down and lifted each one of us up into His mighty arms and held us closely. It’s been six years since that day. I think of Sharon every single day and I miss her so much. It still hurts. But, I know we’ll spend eternity together, and, if given the choice, I’d have done the same thing. Choose life!

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