I have learned so many lessons over the last few months. Today I want to share with you one of the greatest lessons I remembered. It is remembered because I didn’t just learn this lesson; because I already knew it. I was just simply reminded of it. I was reminded of God’s love for each us. I was reminded of how he shows us his love.
One of the ways God shows his love for us is through what has been called Tender Mercies. Tender Mercies are small evidences of God’s love for us. John 14:18 says, “ I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” One of the ways that he comforts us is through those small evidences. One might say that they are mere coincidences, I like to think of them as the Lord’s assurance that he loves me and will never leave me comfortless. Our lives are directed in a way to move and bend through different paths that we may comfort one another. The Lord uses each of us to be the comforter at times.
One moment in our life when I recognized the tender mercies of the Lord happened to be when I had our little baby Stella Grace.
I was pregnant with her during a time of great change and transition for our family. We moved to the Caribbean when I was 5 months pregnant with her. With 6 weeks left in my pregnancy, I boarded a small airplane bound for Utah with Jex’s 18 month old chubby hand in mine. I watched my husband out the window of that small plane. I watched as he got smaller and smaller. Along with that little island he was standing on; they both became a small speck in the middle of the ocean. Leaving him for 6 weeks was one of the hardest things I had to do.
We both had high hopes that my pregnancy would hold out until he came home to Utah for his semester break.
God had other plans in mind. At 3:15 one August morning, I had our baby girl, while my husband was on the phone listening miles and miles away.
Jonathan met our sweet angel in the SLC airport for the first time when she was one week old.
During this time, I saw God’s love for me; even when I wanted to shout this isn’t fair.
Stella’s birth was complicated and scary. Had she waited until her daddy was home she may not have survived.
This one singular event sent a chain reaction of many more difficulties; but the blessings that followed far outweighed the trying times.
This time in particular I could see the many paths of others cross my life that were sent as reminders of God’s love; he would not leave me or Jonathan comfortless.
…And then this March I lay in a hospital bed almost 10 years later with the same loving reminder; he would not leave me comfortless.
Just days before I landed myself back at the hospital, I lay in bed trying to recover from gall bladder surgery. The pain was intense, little did I know that the pain was not from the surgery at all, but from a complication as a result of the surgery. My stomach was literally filling up with poison as I lay in my bed. I would soon come to realize I had over a liter of bile in my abdomen.
It was while I lay at home in agony, that my dad suggested I read a talk given by one of the leaders of our church. The talk was titled, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord, by Elder Bednar” You can read it here if you like. I had read it many times before, but decided to give it a read again.
Just 3 hours after reading the talk, and pleading with the Lord that he take away my pain, I felt a small prompting enter my mind:
“Andrea, the tender mercy is that your parents are here. They can stay with your children. It is time to go back to the hospital.”
I knew at that moment I should no longer stay at home. That whatever was going on with me required immediate medical attention.
A few moments after arriving at the hospital, my bro-in-law and sis-in-law came to see me in the ER. It was then I discovered that my bro-in-law Wes, was the anesthesiologist on call that night.
That soon proved to be another evidence of God’s love for me.
There was a time in the ER that I was so scared. The pain increased and I knew that I needed a major surgery. Wes was able to help calm my fears through the magic of modern medicine and my IV.
Wes proved to be the aid who helped with my pain over next few days as he helped me through the surgery and then the following day by giving me an epidural to help numb the pain I had.
I know that he was not on-call that weekend by some minor coincidence. He was the tool the Lord used to show me his love for me. Wes was sent on the Lord’s errand as the comforter.
The other amazing blessing was the fact this happened on a Saturday night. Jonathan has Monday’s off so that allowed him to be with me for 2 1/2 days without worrying about his job. He slept near me, helped me, comforted me, and brought a smile to my face.
I also can’t help but think what a tremendous blessing it was that we were living in Utah near family when this happened. We have been away for nearly 10 years. I was certainly being looked out for when just after 7 short months of being here this happened. Having family around to comfort not only me, but Jonathan and my children during this time proved to be an amazing source of strength.
I am thankful that I took the time to read the talk from Elder Bednar. It helped my keep such a focused perspective while I was in the hospital.
The reminder that he would not leave me comfortless helped me to draw on his strength over and over through the course of the following days and weeks.
It helped me smile each time a visitor came by; a constant reminder that he loves me. I knew he sent friends and family to send HIS love.
This love also came through kind texts and phone calls.
…and as the weeks and a whole month has gone by since leaving the hospital, his love still continues to pour down upon me with the many friends, meals and help that has been sent my way.
I know that we are watched over by the many people who surround us.
God certainly puts us on certain paths to bend and weave around each other that we may remind one another of his sweet love and tender mercies.
(Stella’s blessing day September 2004)
Life is not one giant coincidence. Life is a tangled web of friendship, kindness, comfort, and mercy.
I have felt God’s love for me each and every day since this trial began.
His Tender Mercies really are over all his works.