TITLE: Blessed Assurance
By Anne Harrell
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Finishing this book has been a very trying time, yet blessings with Dr. White’s and my family has come abundantly through out our time of writing this book. When we breathe a sigh of relief thinking that things are running smooth then--we find out things that literally tear our hearts out of our bodies. When our thoughts that the lesson of faith and trust in Christ was finally learned we realized that a deeper meaning was to be taught to us. We have learned to put our dependence and assurance in Christ to work. Really we never stop learning the lesson of reliance in God. We just find that we are more in love with Christ with each new trial. Our love and devotion for Christ grows even deeper. John 16:33 (KJV) “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Our faithfulness in God has a way of strengthen us through each new trial that does comes our way. When we think that we are over this and don’t want to deal any more we have a friend in our corner that will go before us. Christ is there with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will give us the strength to bare one more thing. Yes there are times when one more thing is place on us where we think that we will break, BUT--- WHEN OUR EYES ARE FIXED ON JESUS THAT EXTRA BURDEN WILL NOT BREAK US!!! I have times that there is no more of me to give yet, when I am told to dig deeper, my response is to the person that tells me to do it is THAT THERE IS NOTHING LEFT! When I finally hear what they are saying and I reach into my pocket, there is something left that I didn’t know I had. It gives me that extra oomph to keep going. Again my favorite verses in the Bible that gives me the strength is, Philip. 4:11-13 (ESV) “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I can carry on once more.
When those category five hurricanes comes your way, where the waves are breaking with in a hair of your toes and the winds are howling at two hundred miles per hour; don’t look down keep looking up at Christ. The moment that you look down and at the storm around you, you will lose your balance. Keep your eyes on Christ! You will not lose your footing; the storm around you will not harm you when you are in the loving arms of CHRIST. Matthew 7:24-25 (KJV) “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
While writing on this chapter, we had one of life’s category five hurricanes hit us where we felt like we were in a boat being toss about in rough seas. What has kept us from drowning at sea was the light house. If it wasn’t for the lighthouse (which is Christ) we would have ship wrecked and drown at sea. That crisis was brought about when I learned that my youngest sister Cathy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My heart went up into my throat fearing that my sister was in danger of leaving us behind. Thank God that my coauthor is a neurologist and was able to help Mark and I work through this painful period in our lives.
The night Cathy had called to tell me the news; we had a severe thunder storm. As a family we had just prayed when my daughter Katie had gone outside to call some of her friends asking for prayer. Soon she came screaming back into the house for us to come outside and look. As I went out there to see what she wanted with me, there was this beautiful rainbow stretch across the sky. In the middle there was a bright spot that caught my attention. I did not understand the full meaning until the next morning when I looked at the pictures of the rainbow on the computer, a peace beyond my understanding came over me when I notice that the bright spot I had seen the night before were Christ’s fingers holding the rainbow in the sky.
I knew that our prayers had been heard. God was telling us to trust Him that Cathy is going to be just fine. My devotion in my Lord has been put to trial once again. I have had to place this in the hands of Christ because I can not fix this problem. It is too big for me to fix. My heart has been so heavy since I found out how sick she is but I know without a doubt that my God will watch over her and will get us through this storm.
Yet, watching God’s plan play out has been such a blessing. There are people praying from all over the world. God has poured out His blessings on my sister’s family. When you look at what all is happening you have to see that there is a God in the mist of this. When people say there is no God, I really pity them. They have no idea what they are saying. God has provided all Cathy’s family’s needs. People have been willing to help has come from out of the wood work. Now if that isn’t God then who is God?
In the next few days of me writing the starting of this chapter we will know the out come of my sister’s surgery. We are trusting that the Lord will guide the doctor’s hands and he will be able to remove the entire tumor. May God get the glory for what He has done for my family. May we continue to lean on Christ and our faith in the Lord becomes even stronger then we have ever known.
Speaking of the Lord’s faithfulness much has happen over the last nineteen years that Mark and I have known Dr. White. Thanks to Cyndy, we have been blessed with countless of Blessings in that span along with the heart breaks that life brings our way. We had welcomed three children into this world and had to tell one of our girls that we would see her in the morning when Christ comes again or we go home to her. Over the years Dr. White has stood beside us through many trials and tribulation and has become a very close friend to us. We all have grown in Christ and have become prayer partners, even brothers and sister in Christ. We treated each other like family. None of us knew what laid a head close to the finishing of this book along with Cathy’s failing health. All of the chapters had been decided and almost finish when Christ showed me how really close we were to each other. None of us were prepared for its findings.
Thinking back to the very first time I met Dr. White was August 4, 1988. As I said in an earlier chapter I can remember that meeting by the clowns that came into Cyndy’s room. While they were in the room Cyndy had one of her bouts of seizures. What led up to that hospitalization was that Cyndy had numerous of seizures in a twenty-four hour period that made Dr. Garrison very uneasy with her having those seizures and lasting for a long time. In that office visit he wanted to admit Cyndy immediately; I remember he had told me before I left the office that the doctor that was on call he truly thought that Mark and I would have preferred him over the other doctors in that group. Dr Garrison hit the nail on the head about us liking him.
That first meeting of Dr. White was very impressive, his first impression is the one that he feels should always standout because if that is the only time he sees the child he leaves the parent’s with a good feeling and not bad, no matter what lays a head. Dr. White liked to come in and pull up a chair, finding out all our reservations about Cyndy’s seizures He never is in a hurry when he comes in. It is as if our child or any of his patients is his only patient. He takes his time with all his patients’ whether it is in a hospital setting or his office. He is one before he left the room that made sure that we understood everything that was happening with Cyndy and his course of action. He would tell us if we have anymore questions about Cyndy’s seizures to let him know. He is one that really took his time with his patients and their parents. You could tell that he would think through his strategy before pressing forward.
As the years went on, with each new Harrell baby he would follow them and help guide us with what is the best care for each one of them. He was there with us when our last child Joel, was born prematurely and needed neonatal care. His presences made a difference when he had to tell us that our precious daughter Cyndy was going to be going to Heaven. I will never forget when he confirmed that Cyndy was close to leaving. It was the day before Thanksgiving of 1996. When he told me that what I thought I was seeing was true. The tears streamed down his cheeks as he told me that he has done everything in his power. It was up to the Lord now. Even when Cyndy passed on January 1, 1997, just her passing on made her big physicians, Doctors White and Garrison shed a little tear for her. She left a hole in their hearts. Even now just a mere mention of Cyndy to Dr. White I will see tears come to his eyes. Even in life or death Dr. White has stood and remains close to us.
Over our time together many things have brought us closer to each other. The three of us have had many of laughs along with the tears. Two of the children along with Cyndy’s passing have graduated out of his care. Even when they did move on to adult doctors it was very hard to transfer their care to another doctor. Our other daughter Katie will be finishing school soon and will move on in life. He watched me carry Katie and has followed her through school. We are one school year of seeing her finish and hopefully go into the Air force. Time has gone by fast when we look back at what all has happen. As I write this chapter Cyndy will be gone for eleven years in just six short months.
To name some of the neat things that have brought Dr White closer to us were on May 18, 2005, I had gotten a call from WAVY TV about an essay that I had written about the heartfelt effect that Dr. White had on our family. It had been six months since I had written it and really didn’t think anything would come of it. To our surprise the TV station took the essay and wanted to give Dr. White the shining star for all that he has done. I found out this all on my birthday.
The neatest thing about getting him on TV was he is not one to draw attention to his self. He is fearful of being in front of crowds yet, Mark and I were able to encourage him to do it when we found out just two days before the segment was to be filmed and aired on TV. Before when he had been asked to be interviewed he would turn down the chance to go on TV. He had even told me to pray for him because he wasn’t sure if he would be able to go through with it. At that WAVY TV told me they would film him slowly if he starts having problems. My family really felt blessed that he would do the show for us. When I was looking over the pictures that were taken at that filming I notice that the smile on his face really told of the happiness and joy he experienced that day. He was one very proud well thought-of doctor. It was one time my family felted like we could let him know just how appreciative we were and are of his support over the years. Those pictures were worth a thousand words. His eyes and expression on his face spoke volumes of what he was feeling that day.
Two years later on May 18,2007, I found while doing my family tree that Dr. White and I were related through a couple of our grandmothers in both of my parents side of the family. We knew we were close but neither of us really knew why we cared so much about each other. To be honest he really felt like family (an older brother to me) in fact the whole nineteen years of knowing him. God has been very good to us and has shown us so many special blessings. None of those special blessings would any of us trade.
When I think back to funny things that have happen I remember when I got to carrying my fifth child Buddy, especially with him being so close after Katie I tried hiding that I was pregnant. No matter what I did to hide the fact he always knew. He would let it come close to the end of the visit and then ask how far I was in the pregnancy. I think he worried about me carrying all three of the children he watch come into the world. I had a history of giving birth anywhere form two weeks early to ten weeks early. Each one that came earlier he would worry about.
When I think about being related to Dr. White I think about what Cyndy knows being in Heaven. That had to be a special gift from Cyndy to her Mom for my birthday. I know she and Dad looked down and had to smile when I realize the shock of knowing that Dr. White is my cousin. Yet the funny thing about finding him in my family roots I had came across his Dad’s name just about a month before and kind of laughed at the thought when I notice that there were White’s in my family history. I honestly didn’t think about it anymore until I had followed a rabbit trail down one of my grandmother’s and found his name at the very bottom. I was shocked to see that the Larry E. White at the bottom had the same birth date and that his wife is named Jackie. He was listed in Norfolk, Virginia. That was when I realized that it was our Dr. White. I understood why he had been laid heavy on my heart at times to pray for him. It was times that we knew when the other was having issues and really needed prayer. Our God is so good and true to us.
Now I can truly understand why the Lord had chosen Dr. White to help write the book about Cyndy’s life and death and healing process. The day I asked Dr. White about helping me with the book he didn’t think about it. As soon as the words got out of my mouth he gave me the answer of yes that he would help me. It was like Christ had gone before me and already laid it on his heart. At that he told me that he was honored that I would ask him of all her doctors to help. And he stood by his word. Over the seven years of writing this book, the more he and I had talked I notice that he had some deep convictions when it came to Christ. There for a while when he would call me every Sunday afternoon about our intentions for the book; I actually looked forward to his calls, the more concentrated I realize his commitments genuinely are.
He would encourage me to write about things in my life that I actually didn’t think had any effect or bearing to the book and come to find out in fact they did. The things he would bring out would show the faith and trust that I had in Christ and how that affected my family as a whole. I don’t know how many times I would just beg him not to make me write about something that hurt, he would tell me to try to write it down. He would say that writing it would bring healthy healing to my mental health along with my physical health. All he was asking was that I really give an effort to writing those thoughts down if I honesty gave an effort then he would encourage me by saying that it was alright and he is proud of me but give it some time and try again later.
There are times when I genuinely have caused him heartache where he should have actually turned his back on me but he didn’t. He would just shake his head and show me the love of Christ and forgive me. He has always shown that he is slow to anger. Proverbs 16:32 (KJV)
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Yet I knew that sometime soon afterwards when he had thought about how to deal with my actions in a loving way that a tongue lashing is coming, the bad thing is that I never know when it was coming. But it is always done with love and understanding even then I could tell that it hurts him just to have to come down on me. He is always tender even when he has been frankly hurt bad. The thing that hurts me the most is knowing that I had disappointed him.
Mark has fun teasing me after I had done something that he knew I was going to be in trouble with Dr. White. When Dr. White would call, Mark would tell me that “big daddy was going to have his say now!” “You are in for it!” Mark always knew that Dr. White would temper his anger with love.
Over the seven years that we have been writing this book I have seen where the Lord has blessed us in awesome ways. I have learned to trust Christ with all my heart and soul. There have been times while writing this book that I had difficulty putting my thoughts down. There were times when I thought about what had happen around Cyndy’s death that I felt that the Lord did not love me.
Yet, when I think about it now I can see where the Lord was just preparing me to be able to handle what ministry He has in store for me. Life seems so unfair at times. Yet Christ never promised us a life that is filled with nothing but good things.
Without those trials we would not appreciate life’s small blessings. One of the things I was challenge to do while writing the book was pray for my coauthor. Well when that was put before me I felt that was easy because I already have been praying for him. Well that was not what the challenger meant. What he intended is that I really spend time in prayer for Dr. White each day. What he wanted me to do is bathe Dr. White in prayer. I did just that and spent time praying each day. I took Dr. White’s favorite song and asked that the Lord would use that song to help remind me of his needs. I could tell how his day was going just by the number of times I would hear the song. Usually I knew when he was pulling duty at the hospital on how many times I would hear the song and how he was fairing during the day while on duty.
When it hit the hardest praying for Dr. White was at times when I realized that something else was hurting him. There were some category five hurricanes in his life that he was dealing with where he needed prayer and strength to continue on in life. I would honestly feel his pain. I might have not known exactly what was happening but I knew that what ever was happening he was having a very rough time. So as you see here prayer has been a big thing that has been taught to me.
Faith is another big issue. I had to learn to trust people and take them at their word. I have also learned to be more loving. And to live life as to if today is my last day here on this earth. I have also looked toward tomorrow to see my daughter once again. When I do see her again I will not have to worry about parting from her ever again. As stated in “Amazing Grace” “when we have been there ten thousand years we have no less days to sing God’s grace.” When I have breathed my last here the pain of losing my daughter is gone forever.
Before turning this chapter over to my coauthor Dr. White, I want to thank him for teaching me the true meaning of “Blessed Assurance”. One Sunday morning when he had attended church with us, my daughter Katie, had played on her viola at his request for offertory “Blessed Assurance”. While she was playing he lean over to me and told me to pay attention to the words of the song and really meditate on them. When I turned and looked at him, his eyes were watering. The song was walking all over him. I knew right then this man really believed and knew the true meaning of the song. And that he lived by that song. In the years after that morning, I have stopped and listen and took the words in I have finally understood the awesome meaning of “Blessed Assurance”. Dr. White, if we could I would love to name this book “Blessed Assurance” because that is what this book is all about. Now I will step aside and let Dr. White finish out this book!
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