I Thought he was the Gardener – Until he spoke!

I thought he was the gardener until he spoke! And then I knew that he was more than just the gardener! He had a message for me – from You! I will never forget it!


We parked in that all too familiar parking lot after dropping off our new friend who is staying at Ms. Harrison’s. She needed a ride to the hospital Monday morning – what a set-up Lord – how perfect was that! What a great idea! We had someone else to minister to, to think about, to reach out to and our trip back to MD wasn’t about us, was it? It was about You and about the someone else You desired for us to reach out to. Someone who is currently on the path we have just come from – a little different path but a similar journey – a path strewn with the unexpected hurdle of cancer. We had some precious moments with this new friend. You are at work in her life! You are giving her a different perspective – an eternal one! She is seeking You, Lord! Continue to reveal Yourself to her! And thank You for giving her to us for those two days!


She told us where she usually parked her car and suggested that perhaps we should park there also – it would give us a little different “feel” and we wouldn’t have to go back to “that parking lot.” But of course, You wanted us to go back there. You wanted us to walk from our car to those elevators once again. You wanted us to know that the elevator, the parking lot, the walk to and from the car didn’t have any hold on us, didn’t You? It was important. If we had missed that, we would have missed a blessing. You know, it was really amazing how calm You kept our hearts. And so we went right back there – got our ticket and drove to the 6th floor – color orange – so you won’t forget where you parked!


The first thing I wanted to do was to walk through the rose garden. The same garden Kay had walked Hannah through on the first day she was able to leave her bed after many weeks in ICU. They went early in the morning – about 5:30 – while it was cool. I know that blessed Hannah’s heart! We obtain a whole new perspective of the beauty of Your creation when we walk through very difficult journeys – we are so desperate to see You and our spiritual eyes are opened to see You in a whole new way. And just like You met us on the parking lot, You waited for us to arrive in the rose garden. You are always waiting for us, aren’t You, Lord? I wanted to retrace those steps! So we walked through the garden that is surrounded by concrete medical buildings. When we neared the end of the path, there was a gentleman cutting roses. The first words out of his mouth to us on the campus of MD Anderson hospital were, “Look at those doves!”


I was looking! And perhaps, Father, if I hadn’t been looking for You so intently or if I hadn’t just written a book entitled “A Dove Set Free,” I would have let his words go right by me – but I was looking and listening for You and I didn’t miss it! There were two doves – sitting on a bench right beside where we were standing. The gentleman “gardener” went on to say that “They always travel in pairs” – how precious is that – since the time of creation and going onto the ark two by two, I suppose they have traveled in pairs! They weren’t white doves but they were doves! As we began to speak with the gardener, we came to learn that he was a volunteer at the hospital and one of his jobs was to clip the roses and take them to the rooms of the patients. What a great job – spreading sunshine!


I felt compelled to share with him about my “dove” that had been set free! He seemed a little amazed when I pulled out a copy of a book with a dove on the front cover. I shared a little about the story and parallel You had given me and told him I was going to donate it to the library at MD – perhaps he might want to check it out. He went on to tell us that he loved to read stories about mothers and their children and he wanted to have a copy of his own so he took out a piece of paper and wrote down the address! “The gardener” – how amazing was that for a first encounter!


You know, Lord, I pondered later that perhaps those two doves could have represented Hannah and Rebekah – the beautiful friend You brought into our lives while we were there. She had also been set free from this world on Valentine’s Day 2008 after a courageous battle with sarcoma.


You were strengthening us, Lord – step by step. You were building our courage to walk back through those doors. Doug escorted us to the library – we never knew there was a library. The girl behind the desk was precious and accepted our book and DVD’s with welcoming arms. I wrote a note to those who find themselves on a journey and asked You to use those instruments in ways I could never imagine! I’m asking again this morning! You are such a big God – show Yourself big through those little tools.


Physical Therapy was just around the corner on that same floor and it was our first visit. Now it was Mickey’s turn. You had met me before we even went in the door in such a detailed way and You wanted to do the same for Mickey! He had been Hannah’s encourager in physical therapy – he had been the one to push her a little beyond what she thought she could do – he had walked those first steps with her after she had been in bed for such a long time. We walked to the large room where Hannah had gone for therapy many times and didn’t see one familiar face. But as we turned around and began our journey back down the hall, Mickey thought he spotted Michelle in one of the offices. She was talking with someone and her back was to us but Mickey felt confident that was her! I couldn’t believe he remembered her name!


When she finished her conversation and turned to leave, she saw us, recognized us and came to give us a big hug! She knew we were “Hannah’s parents.” She told us that Hannah had been one of her very first patients! She told us that she had followed Hannah’s story after we left the hospital and had gotten a bracelet! That blessed our hearts! All three of us had tears in our eyes before we parted. I gave her a DVD – this morning Lord, I pray You will use it in ways I would never imagine.


You were building our strength – step by step and we were now ready for the sarcoma unit on the 10th floor. Hannah had started out on the 9th floor and we listened while they renovated the 10th floor above us to become the “new sarcoma ward.” Same elevators, same halls, same walk but this time our precious daughter’s life wasn’t hanging in the balance . . . and our hearts were not as raw. We stopped to look at the bulletin boards on the wall where the staff is pictured to see if we saw any familiar faces. We saw a few – not really a lot. You know, Lord, I think there is a lot of turnover. What an intense place to work every day! If you didn’t have a hope beyond this world I don’t know how you could work there!


Once again, by Your providence, as we rounded the corner, there was Chu – Dr. Trent’s physician assistant. We saw her almost everyday while we were there. She would make her rounds about 10 o’clock in the morning – and there we were – It was 10 o’clock and she was making her rounds. She had gotten to know us over those three months and knew us immediately when she looked up from her work. She came around to give us a hug and remind us of our faith that “had been so strong” in her perception. She had no idea how weak we were and how amazed we were to be standing there with her once again. We asked about her daughter who had followed Hannah’s journey. We asked about Dr. Trent and Sue and others. She seemed very pleased to receive a copy of “A Dove Set Free” and the “Hannah’s Journey” DVD for their team. This morning, Father, I pray You will use those little tools in ways I would never imagine! You are a big God – show Yourself big!!


“Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.”


“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”


“Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means teacher).”


Thank You Father for showing me Yourself in the garden. Thank You for speaking my name! I heard You Lord! You are so near and I bless Your name! . . .  











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