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.

052515 Gina Update

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Paul and I had the pleasure of walking around DC yesterday for the US Veterans Ride at the Rolling Thunder Biker Rally. There were nearly one million bikers there and the streets were completely closed off other than to pedestrians and bikers. He worked alongside of his CMA fellow workers and served coffee and then cold water to hundreds of bikers. Paul was in his glory which made me happy. God is so good! Thank you Father for a beautiful day filled with various ministry opportunities.

052215 Gina Update

Continuing to help my youngest daughter move into her new house. We’re almost there. Had a lovely phone call from a dear sister who said “get on that blog girl… come on now!” Oh how I hope to stay motivated although it seems as if living life is surely more important than documenting it at times. Just read this today and found it to be so real that I just had to post it.

Author: Julie Ganschow writes…

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One Port In A Storm

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said* to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31

Are you ever so overwhelmed by circumstances that you are nearly paralyzed? I have occasionally found myself there over these last weeks and months. Each time I take my eyes off of Jesus and focus on what is happening in my life, I start to go under from the turmoil in life.

It may resonate with you when I say it is initially so much easier to try and fix things myself than to rely on God when the going is difficult.

This passage is a great reminder to keep our eyes and heart focused on Christ. Peter learned very quickly that he could continue to defy the odds and truly walk on water in the midst of the storm as long as he kept his eyes locked on Christ. We can do the very same thing even in the midst of great storms with trials that want to swamp the boat.

Jesus Christ is our only hope, He is our only “port” in the storms of life. We must keep our eyes fixed on Him, He is our refuge and strength and an ever present help in time of need.

How do you make this practical? Fill your mind with the Word, immerse yourself in the Psalms, pray without ceasing, be thankful for all the Lord is allowing to take place. Rejoice, He is sovereign and in control!

051815 Gina Update

Well, it’s been a while but I guess that’s a good thing. I’m too busy to write apparently and don’t have much time to think and retrospect with so much going on in the present. Simply put, I am well and Paul is well. So far every single thing we felt about leaving Sarasota and seeking God on this journey seems to be happening just as predicted. That’s confirming and I’m thankful that I don’t have to wonder if God really heard my prayers or not because I know he did. I don’t have great stories to tell though. Nothing spectacular or earth-shattering. Just every day life with every day things, good things and sad things that involve family and friends (illness). Still, I’m certain that God is faithful and I never seem to lose sight of that. I praise God for his faithfulness. Thanks for prayers on your end. They are greatly appreciated.

042515 Gina Update

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I think this is a nice photo of Paul at a recent campfire we had. The property that we are staying at has a tiny hollow that has been turned into a campfire. It has a very large pit where many people can sit around. It also has many wooden benches too. The other night we were sitting there and saw about six deer come through the clearing next to us. They are large animals that are graceful and majestic. It’s darn near impossible to sit there and not think about Jesus and what heaven will be like.

I’m still very much seeking God on this journey that I’m on and trying to find out what his will is for my current life. For today, I see his will as us helping the beautiful widow that we are staying with. She is generous and kind. She is a lover of the Word. She is relational and I’m missional so it’s a good fit. She is fifteen years older than me but that doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. We never tire of sharing with one another and some of her most attractive qualities have to do with the grace she bestows everywhere she goes, in particular to her adult children and their families. I would say that she is the picture of Biblical grandmotherhood if there is even such a word.

You know… this business about relating to each other that are close to us in age, have similar interests, come from a similar background… all of it ISN’T Biblical thinking. The truth is that when it comes to the family of Christ, it should be more like, “I love Jesus, you love Jesus, and that’s more than enough for me.” One of the things that would be on my bucket list of all things has to do with “What is thinking Biblically and what isn’t thinking Biblically?” For some reason it feels as if there are times when I’m surrounded by sisters and brothers that seem so comfortable in not thinking Biblically and it has grieved me. Mind you, I often miss the mark when it comes to this but I can honestly say before the Lord that I want to get it right. I’ve often wondered if others have a deep desire to “want to get it right” too? Sometimes it’s pretty hard to tell.

041715 Gina Update

Yesterday was nothing short of a tragedy for two of my closest friends who experienced a sudden and unexpected death in the loss of not one but two dear friends- a father and his 18 year old daughter. We praise God that both knew Jesus intimately and we grieve for the loss that his dear wife, remaining children, and ministry are now experiencing. I praise God for the words below that have brought peace and comfort during this difficult time of trial. To God be all the glory, even when we can’t begin to comprehend these circumstances. Still, we know he is a good God, a loving God, who never leaves us. I praise God for that understanding and what it means deep in my soul.

There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined
Who could understand Your ways
Reigning high above the Heavens
Reaching down in endless grace
You’re the lifter of the lowly
Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me
And Your promises are my delight

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You’re working for our good
You’re working for our good and for Your glory

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

[Words by Michael W. Smith, music by Aaron Keyes]