By Bella Rossiter
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April held promise for Belinda’s new health initiative; and nothing would distract the focus of her one-track mind. With a fiftieth anniversary in less than a year, she wanted to make the most of what could become an intolerably long, hot summer in Arizona.
It was a perfect plan. Beginning with daily inspiration, such as, “continually cultivate faith and expectancy in your heart that God will use you to express His love to others around you.”
Devotions would be followed by a brisk walk; water aerobics three days a week, and video aerobics twice a week. Belinda planned to fix heart-healthy meals, and work on the 50th Anniversary book – “Five Decades with the Harpers.” By the end of summer, the excess pounds should be effortlessly shed while going about the business of creative living. She couldn’t possibly have foreseen the mishap that would scrap her well-laid plans.
“Oh, God, please forgive me. I’m so, so sorry. It’s all my fault. Please help me, Jesus.” Belinda kept up the litany as she limped to the bathroom and grabbed a bath towel to wrap around the bleeding wound. Anxious to move the long dresser with the heavy mirror, Belinda decided to do it herself, instead of waiting for Harlan’s help. She removed the last screw, planning to ease the three-sectioned mirror gently to the floor. Shock flooded her body instead, as a sharp metal post skewered her left foot. In a split second, her whole world dramatically changed!
Ten stitches were required to close up the deep gash in the crease of her foot. Immobilized with her foot elevated kept her indoors and inactive. Morning devotions became an hour filled with an intense desire to gain understanding from the daily scripture reading. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Then came the call telling her that a friend had just died from cancer in Seattle; and another friend was also hospitalized with terminal cancer. Bee’s voice became hoarse with grief, thanking Susan for letting her know, and promising to pray.
“I can’t believe this!” She rebelled at the thought that five of her office friends had died in a few years’ time; and now the sixth friend was barely clinging to life. Nothing mattered more to Belinda than rushing to Chloe’s side; even though feeling incapable of making the journey alone. How would she get around with her still-injured foot? Calling her daughter in Manhattan, the urgency in her voice convinced Dee to drop everything and meet her mom in Seattle the very next day. Amazingly, her limp forgotten, Bee navigated painlessly through the airport and into the city for the rental car, with her daughter leading the way!
Before the April crises, Belinda set out to “put herself first” for the summer. What transpired was totally unplanned; yet the events were steeped in the love and compassion of God.
Sitting at Chloe’s bedside, Belinda gently took her hand, and softly spoke to her. Dee stood aside silently praying and knew her mom was instantly oblivious of anyone else around her. Murmured words were exchanged, and then became unnecessary for their communication. Bee’s hand rested lightly on Chloe’s head, and she sensed God’s peace flowing through her friend’s body.
Chloe’s eyelids fluttered open and she tried to speak; but her eyes closed again. Belinda caressed her face, whispering clearly into her ear. “Jesus loves you so much...He put it into my heart and told me to go and give it to you. That’s why I’m here now; to remind you that He is near and caring for you.”
Chloe smiled and said, “I love you.” Belinda also smiled and said, “I love you, too.”
Mother and daughter returned to the bedside three more times; feeling God’s love surrounding them when they touched their beloved friend. The heavenly sensation remained upon them even as they visited their own family members in happy reunion.
Gazing at the horizon through the aircraft window heading back to Phoenix, Belinda prayed, “Father, thank you for using me to be your messenger of love for Chloe. Jesus, be her peace today and forever. Amen.”
Belinda prayed, “Lord, not my will, but thine be done,” and vowed to daily look to God for His perfect plan! She understood the message in, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
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