As we step away from Thanksgiving Day and move toward the celebration of Christmas, I am considering, as many of us are, all the things I am very thankful for in this life. I have been blessed over and over by God to be able to work and do good in the areas He has made enjoyable to me.
At one point, I was volunteering as a chaplain at the hospital, which was very rewarding to me and hopefully beneficial to the patients, as well.
After my shift, I always went into the chapel to pray to God and to lift up those I had met that day before I left the hospital.
I remember one day in particular when, just as I was exiting the chapel, a lady was coming in. My name tag showed that I was a volunteer chaplain, so she asked if I would stop by and pray for her mother, who she thought might not make it through the night.
She had come to the chapel to pray on her mother’s behalf. I asked her mother’s name and room number and prayed on my way down the hall that God’s will would be done for this woman.
When I entered the room, the woman was in her bed on her back with her eyes closed. She appeared very frail and, indeed, I watched for a moment for the rise and fall of her chest to be assured she was still with us.
As was normal, I leaned toward the bed and spoke softly. Her bed was raised unusually high, and I remember thinking as I leaned in that she was almost at eye level.
I explained to her I was there as a chaplain and that her daughter had asked me to visit. Although there was no response, I told her I would pray for her. I bowed my head and prayed aloud words I have no memory of today.
I am sure I explained about sin and our need for Jesus as our Savior, who Jesus was, and how he loved her and wanted her to be with Him forever when her life on Earth was finished. It was a very sweet time of prayer with God over this frail lady.
When I opened my eyes, I was startled to see that the woman had turned fully towards me as I was praying and was laying there staring at me with her eyes wide open.
I attempted to address her, but there was no response other than the staring. I truly felt and still do that she never saw me in her room, rather she was looking straight into the eyes of Jesus. She had such a lovely glow to her that it could have been nothing else.
Because I only volunteered one day a week, I never found out if she was able to go home to live a longer life, or if she passed while in the hospital, but either way, I was sure she had a beautiful encounter with Jesus.
That memory still makes me smile at the privilege God let me have of serving Him by telling others about His love.
Now, I volunteer with the Ecumenical Council of Ocean City’s Food Cupboard. During my career, I worked with several different computer programs, and just after I retired, there was a notice that the Food Cupboard needed someone with my skills to help out. How exciting!
God gave me another job but one that would not be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one where I would be working for Him. It has been a great joy to be able to get to know the many other volunteers who live in and around Ocean City, many of whom attend the local churches.
I am especially thrilled that God saw fit to introduce me to Arlene, the wonderful woman that trained me. She is a light in my life, and I have enjoyed her friendship, input, and her views on life itself.
I consider how perfect God’s plan is that He set the timing of the need for this volunteer position so seamlessly that it coincided with my retirement. God is so very good to me.
In times of trouble and in times of health, I can always lean on my Heavenly Father, and sometimes I just laugh with joy at the gifts He sends my way, occasionally in the form of people or possibly an occurrence that could be from no one but Him.
Another gift that I am thankful for is the opportunity that arrived to write this column. I always looked forward to reading the weekly columns by Pastor Rudy and enjoyed them thoroughly.
After Pastor Rudy was transferred out of the area, I prayed about the potential opening that might be available. I was very pleased that God and Mr. Hall, the publisher of the Herald, saw fit to use my love for God and the writing ability He has given me for His glory in yet another enjoyable opportunity to serve Him.
This week, I am especially thankful for God and the blessings He has bestowed upon me and those who love Him so that we may share with others from our blessings by living our lives dedicated to giving glory to God.
Thanksgiving Day is over and now we set our hearts and minds on looking forward to the celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Savior, and the start of the Advent Season.
I pray many will be blessed by remembering all God has done for us. We will then join in the celebration of Jesus’ birth that gave way to Jesus’ life and death, all to reconcile us to our God.
Our lives are in His hands. May we use them for His Glory.
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City.