God's Amazing Grace
As a Stephen Minister, it has been my great privilege to experience God's amazing grace and love first-hand. The people for whom we care are appropriately named our care receivers because we know that God provides the cure and we provide the care. It is our calling to be God's conduits to those who struggle with challenges and crises.
My first care receiver following an intensive Stephen Ministry training was a young woman who was terminally ill with an incurable cancer. She had decided to forego additional treatment after determining that the side effects diminished any quality of life in her remaining days.
My first thought upon receiving this assignment was that I simply didn't have the necessary words, strength or skills to be of assistance to her. When I parked in front of her home for the first time and prior to every subsequent visit, I prayed for God to provide whatever would be of help to her. I found myself with words that I know came directly from God when she and I discussed her vision of the afterlife and what she had accomplished in this life.
After six months of home visits, I saw her for the last time at Hospice Atlanta the day before she died. She told me that she was "ready to go home" to be with God, knowing that He had prepared a place for her with those she loved who had already gone to be with Him. She envisioned that place to be a simple home on a beach with shimmering blue water and a cloud-filled blue sky. Most of all, she knew it would be a heaven where she would have no more pain and would be reunited with loved ones whose bodies were also without pain.
Her family asked me to speak at her memorial service and, again, God gave me the words to bring solace to those she loved. It has been many years since she died, but I think of her often, and every time I meet with a care receiver for the first time I feel her presence - and always the strength of God guiding me.
- Pat DeBolt