By the time you read this our Thanksgiving
gatherings will be history and already we’ll be moving
into the full anticipation of all that the Christmas season
brings. Regardless our circumstances, we who know Jesus have
much for which to give thanks and much to anticipate as we
celebrate the goodness of God in the gift of His Son. I love
this time of year with all of its encouragement to remember
and enjoy the most important things in life.
And this holiday season there are two women who are front and
center on my heart and mind even as I reflect on the many ways
in which we have been so greatly blessed. The first is my mother,
Jean Hong, of Bellingham, Washington. The other is Nina Williams,
daughter of Forrest and Madge Williams, a local girl from right
here in Carmel Valley.
Almost two weeks ago now on November 19 the Lord called my
mom home…to our heavenly home. On the same day Nina Williams
underwent surgery and received a new set of lungs. Both passages
were profound. One, completing a rich life of love and service,
and another, just opening the door on many more rich opportunities
yet to come. And as I think about these two ladies, I am struck
by how each have found delight in life and how each have persevered
through challenges with great determination.
Nina’s recent surgery at Stanford came only after years
of waiting, waiting and hoping, waiting in the face of a wasting
disease that made even drawing a breath a difficult chore.
And there were numerous false starts where Nina was called
up to Stanford to be prepped for the transplant, only to learn
that the donor lungs would not work. But through the years
of her waiting, Nina has chosen delight over discouragement
and determination to trust God for a good outcome. As an accomplished
artist, Nina has found joy in the beauty of our central coast
countryside, painting blue skies, rocky hillsides and surging
ocean waves or all the delicate intricacies of a blooming orchid
or begonia with whirring hummingbird nearby. We often don’t
get to choose our circumstances, but there’s delight
to be found when we look beyond our hardships to see the beauties
of God’s goodness and His kind provisions.
And then there’s my mom. What a remarkable woman of delight
and determination. The sparkle in her eyes and the giggle in
her laughter drew you to her. She could find the bright side
of any difficult situation…which served her well through
25 years of teaching elementary school children and then traveling
to Ghana, West Africa for another 18 years of missionary service
(and she hated to fly!). Mom delighted in my dad, their 3 kids,
their 12 grandkids and 14 great grandchildren. She loved finding
gifts for them. She loved the adventure of driving across country
to be with them. (Mom drove down to camp with us at Tahoe this
past July, and in August she ordered a new bathing suit, hoping
for one more chance to go swimming : ). Mom delighted in her
Scottie dog, Angie, and she delighted in rooting for the Mariners.
Even after the stroke that made words hard to find, Mom found
delight in the flowers and birds that came to feed just outside
her care center’s window. Most profoundly, Mom delighted
in the Lord and all her life she excelled in teaching and mentoring
other women to follow Him.
I don’t know what you are facing as you walk through
this holiday season. My heart will be drawn back to the joy
and determination of these two lovely ladies. What lives, rich
with grace. And, I’ll be drawn to the God who gives us
life and breath for each new day, until that day He so chooses
to call us home. Every day is a gift and an opportunity for
discovery. Each one is marked with His goodness. Delight can
be found if our eyes are on Him.
Refreshed again by the reminder of God’s faithfulness