Gina 082318

Now entering my third semester of FNP school. Yikes! It’s quite the chore I assure you. I knew it would be but now living it seems to have placed a new spin on this season of life. Hard to imagine something could take over your life to this extent but it has. Seems like many things in life fall into this category… the difference between knowing something vs. living it. I’m in the book of Hosea by the way. In Hosea’s case… knowing that God tells you to marry a prostitute in the name of demonstrating Israel’s unfaithfulness during this time in history and then living that. I can’t imagine how painful that might have been and yet he remained faithful in completing God’s work. I keep trying to make a difference in the lives of my fellow students. It’s tough sometimes for too many reasons to list here. Still, I keep trying to be a light… a flickering one sometimes that seems to fade in and out. Ha! Depends on the day, the hour, or even minute. Fortunately, God’s love for us is steadfast and true. It never fails. So comforting. ~Gina

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Gina Update 031818

Tim Keller

 

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Interesting… the first semester of nurse practitioner school. Overwhelming, exhausting, profitable. That’s how I would describe it. A new journey, unchartered waters, diving into an almost empty swimming pool. That’s how I would describe it. Competitive, harsh, real. That’s how I would describe it. Now back to studying.

P.S. It’s all about God. He’s either in or out. It’s just that simple. It would be impossible to do this on my own. Honestly, it would be absolute silliness to even try it without him. It’s guaranteed failure. Every part of it… absolute failure without Jesus at the core. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness.

90417 Gina Update

Just a quick check in with an update. Back in Florida suddenly after Hurricane Harvey made landfall a little over a week ago near Aransas Pass, TX, where Paul was working for Texas DOT. God literally delivered us from death along with many others as the wind and sea raged around us. I know that sounds a little extreme but it’s simply the truth. May people come to know that You are the Lord of suffering starting with me Father. It’s been one of the most difficult weeks of my life but so much easier with lots of loving support (i.e. countless church family members, my own family, and many dear friends). My husband Paul is a strong tower in my life. He was quickly up on several roofs cutting down tree limbs and picking up our tiny 19ft travel trailer by himself out of a mud bed to rescue it to safety. We’re still not sure if our little shoebox has totally survived but I believe it will be ok with some tender loving care. Just heartbreaking to see the devastation. There aren’t words for it. Still, I have victory in Him! That’s who Jesus is! He is the Sovereign King and nothing has changed in my life other than believing in that even more than I did a week ago before this happened. I’ll write more when I’m able to get rest and recover. Please pray for so many in Texas who have lost so much. I know Jesus hears! ~Gina

 

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I wonder why I’m called to write on this blog when times get tough? I haven’t added to it over the last few years. It’s been such an outlet for me at different times in my life. Difficult times filled with many trials for which I wondered if I would make it out alive. But I did. God gave me strength. He saved me. A wretch like me. Honestly… I feel like a wretch today. Worn out. Poured out. Searching for God in the face of one of my best friends in the whole world who is coming to the end of her life from a horrific cancer that is seeking to destroy. Who would have guessed it would end this way and yet why not… I’m well aware that we’re all called to die. Still, I’m not prepared for it. Living without her seems unimaginable. I’m certainly not mad at God. How could I be when he has proven himself time and time again. How could I ever forget all the times that I’ve called on him and he’s answered swiftly.

Once again it’s like God has called me to grace… “Gina, this is going to take some grace in your life. You’re going to have to trust me deeply in order to get through this. It’s not going to work well if you try doing it alone.” I have to be honest with you… I could hardly stand getting on the phone with my Billy today as she gasped for air to speak from her hospice bed. I felt like yelling “Please Billy, don’t leave me here without you. I can’t make it without you. I don’t want to even try.” Still she gasped and cried on her end too. I have to ask God to free me from the guilt of sobbing with her when she sobs. I freely admit Lord that there is not a single part of me, not even on the cellular level, that is available to stand at her impending funeral. I’m working on beginning the drive from Texas to Florida in a few days. It’s gonna hurt. I can just feel it. Something feels so wrong about letting her go in this manner. Something seems so off about death. It’s comforting to know that God never intended it, wanted it, or ok’d it. One day death will be defeated.

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, {there} you may be also. 4 “And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:1-6).

 

061215 Gina Update

Words from a dear sister in Christ that I just had to share! Hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.
Gina, I wanted to send you some of the reflections I wrote about my grandma, and shared at her service.

As the youngest of five granddaughters, I am honored to share memories and reflections on my grandmother’s life. Though these specifics are my own, I know that each of her granddaughters would share similarly their memory of this amazing woman, and of being so loved and cherished by her.

Virginia Harris Hendricks, known to us as Grandma Ginny or GG, truly left this world a better place. She was a beautiful lady, both outside and within; she had poise and style, humility and quiet strength. She had a significant impact on us, her family, and also on the many lives she touched. With Grandpa’s death last fall and now GG’s, their house is empty and quiet, but they live on vividly in a great legacy and in our memories. 

It is rare to have had my grandmother through so many seasons of my life – most even here in the same town. Many of the specific snapshots of memory I have of my childhood are of my yearly trips to their home in Glorieta, NM. My mind floods with images from those visits: splashing in the pool in the house Grandpa built, horseback rides, disney movies, GG’s doll collection, long talks with cousins on the basement chest freezers, Sunset Peak, the deck for meals and catching hummingbirds on my finger, and of course, the countless ice cream sundaes.

When I was a freshman in highschool, GG and Grandpa moved to Blacksburg, where they became woven into the everyday rhythms of my life. GG saw this season, after nearly dying from a serious heart condition, as ‘borrowed time.’ Her perspective that life is a gift to be cherished, yet held loosely, and her determination to live to the fullest were a powerful combination. She began serious exercise for the first time in her 70s and continued all the way through this spring, going as often as she was able, even with advanced congestive heart failure. She worked hard and was so dedicated, and what an impact it had on her quality and length of life! This exercise affected more than just her health – as always, she and Grandpa also brought their usual loving, charming selves. They developed a special relationship with her trainer, Sharon, who became like family.

As I grew older, I began to recognize more consciously many of the things that seeped into me as a child from GG. Her relationship with God was her foundation, and the rest of her life poured out from that love. Her marriage with Grandpa, built over so many decades, was an incredible example: full of love, delight, serving and being served, each in their own ways. Their home was always warm and welcoming as she exercised exceptional hospitality, nourishing both the body and soul of guests, from family to traveling missionaries. Her creativity was expressed in many outlets: music, photography, collecting, cooking, and writing – including a travel photo journal column when they lived in France called “Globe Trotting with Ginny.” She learned how to use a computer and digital photography, and combined her creative eye and thoughtful heart in special, personalized photo cards for friends and family.

GG delighted in family, near and far. It was clear that she got great joy from frequent visits from me and my daughter Micha. She had a basket of toys and an endless stash of Goldfish – Micha’s special treat every time we came over. I appreciated getting to catch her up on our hectic lives and knowing how much she prayed for us.

I continued to learn new things about her with each new challenge faced. I was amazed at the strength and peace she exhibited after losing her beloved husband and partner of 69 years. I remember her determination to get out of the house in spite of her increasing physical limitations, declaring to me, “I will not be a shut-in!” Seeing her live out her last years, down to her last days, with such grace and sweetness of spirit made a another deep impression on me.

Just days before she became confined to the hospital bed in her living room, I got to share with GG some of my reflections on gifts she and Grandpa passed on to me personally – identifying two of the attributes I value about myself as coming from them. Sifting through old photos after Grandpa died, I realized what many others in the family probably already took for granted but that I’d missed: I have his smile! This discovery was a true treasure to me, as I cherish the thought of carrying on his joy and laughter in my smile. A similar lightbulb moment came when my husband Dan recently reflected that he sees GG in my optimism and resilience. Grandpa’s smile and GG’s optimism are a legacy I am proud to carry, indeed!

The best words I have found to describe how I am feeling are very simple and came through trying to explain my tears to my three-year-old. “Mama, are you sad and happy at the same time?” she continues to repeat back to me. Yes, my darling child, today I am both sad AND happy. I am sad as I ride the waves of grief, as I miss already my trips down Dunton Drive to see her, wish to share more meals around her table, as I close my eyes to see her ready smile and hear her musical voice. Yet, I am happy as I celebrate my beautiful grandmother’s remarkable faith- and love-filled life; as I relish sharing memories together; and as the strength and confidence of GG’s own faith keeps returning me to hope: knowing that her last breath was not the end, but the new beginning for which she longed, beyond our reach and comprehension, her joyful eternal Home.