Full Circle

I wrote the following post on July 30, 2014 about my sister, Betty, and our decision to bring her to Covington so we could care for her.  Early last Sunday morning, Betty went to be with the Lord. Two months short of four years, the Lord has brought us full circle.  He is faithful.  We can trust Him.

After Waylon preached his last sermon in June, we were excited about enjoying a month’s sabbatical to rest, relax, recoup, and study before beginning another year of ministry.  Little did we know there would be no rest, no relaxation, no time to recoup, and definitely no opportunity to study.  Instead, there was an emotional Category 5 storm already brewing.

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On Sunday evening as Waylon and I began to make our plans for the month, Waylon shared something he had read in one of F.B. Meyer’s books, The Secret of Guidance, about discerning God’s will.  According to Meyer we need to look for three things to converge: God’s Word, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and our circumstances.  He said that when these three line up, the will of God will become so clear it is as if we have glowworms sparkling along our path.  (Since we don’t have glowworms in Louisiana, think of fireflies or lightning bugs as we called them in Alabama).  “You will become so sure that you are right, when God’s three witnesses concur, that you could not be surer though an angel beckoned you on…. I would encourage each troubled and perplexed soul who may read these lines to wait patiently for the Lord until He clearly indicates His will.”   We were clueless as to how much we were going to need Meyer’s wisdom beginning the very next day.

To help you understand what I’m sharing you need to know that I was born into a very needy, dysfunctional family—mentally ill alcoholic father and three teenage siblings.  Because of the age difference, the three older ones were much closer to each other than to me.  Six weeks ago Rose, the youngest of the three who lived in North Carolina, passed away.

Now, back to my storm account—on Monday night I called Betty,  my oldest sister, to check on her knowing that Rose’s death was a terrible loss for her.  (The two of them had talked on the phone every weekend until a few months before Rose’s death). When Betty answered the phone I knew she was in trouble.  She was depressed, gripped in the clutches of desperation, and had lost her will to live.  She could not see how she and Stevie, her special needs son, could make it. Being a diabetic she was also worried about her physical well-being.

To make a long story short, we drove to Alabama and got her in to see her primary care physician, a godly man and a childhood friend of ours.  Seeing her dire condition, he immediately contacted a hospital in a nearby town which had a unit for senior care.  Providentially, we were able to get Betty admitted that afternoon, July 3rd.

Assessing the situation I knew that God’s Word, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and my circumstances had lined up.  I could hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 as He talked about “The Sheep and the Goats.”  “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me,” kept reverberating through my mind.

Also weeks before, the Holy Spirit had been tugging at my heart every time I had heard a song on the radio by Matthew West called “Do Something.” In it West, after looking around at all the pain and suffering in the world,  shook his fist toward Heaven and said, “’God, why don’t You do something?”’

Then God said, “I did, I created you.”

Like Matthew West I begged God to do something in our situation, but instead I heard the words, “I made you.” Waylon and I both knew God was leading us to help this family.

In a few days it became apparent Betty and her son could no longer live independently.  Although Betty could have gone to the local nursing home in Alabama and Stevie could have continued to live in their apartment, I knew that really wasn’t an option.  There was no one there to take care of them.  Besides, I knew I would not be at peace with my being two states away.

With neither of those being a viable option, it appeared that Waylon and I would need to bring both of them home with us.  To be perfectly honest with you, after a few days I began to sink wondering how in the world I could ever manage their care.

We prayed and asked God to show us His will, the glowworms, as He had done so many times before in this situation.  I couldn’t see how this could possibly work.  Then God whispered His Word to me through Waylon:

mb“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path clear.”

Knowing I was between a rock and a hard place, I searched Waylon’s face, looked into his blue eyes, and asked, “Can we REALLY trust God?”

Being the wonderful man of faith he is, Waylon reassured me.  “Of course we can,” he said.  “God has already shown us the glowworms to guide us.”

So for the next few weeks I quoted that verse—Proverbs 3:5-6—over and over every time I began to sink.

God also reminded me of a wonderful passage of Scripture in 2 Chronicles 20 when King Jehoshaphat learned his nation was going to be attacked.  Knowing his kingdom wasn’t strong enough to defend itself, the king came before the LORD and said, “O our God…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

Then one of the Levites said, “This is what the LORD says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s….You will not have to fight this battle….Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”

I can tell you for sure that I read and reread that passage begging the Lord to fight my battle.  And He did!

In my desperation of not knowing how I would be able to care for both Betty and Stevie, my brother and his family willingly and joyfully volunteered to assume the responsibility for Stevie. How that came about is another can of glowworms–another post for another day.

Although I’d love to be able to share many more details of the past month with you, let me just say the Lord has fought for us.  He has opened doors for which we have no explanation other than His mighty hand.  God has continued to sprinkle glowworms along our path.  Last Saturday night I looked out my breakfast room window to see a swarm of fireflies putting on a light show—just for me.  I went back a few minutes later and they were gone.

While this has been a nightmare of a month, I have learned a great lesson about trust and obedience.  I’ve learned that:

  1. I can trust God.  I have to trust God.
  2. There are situations I’m not smart enough to figure out.
  3. If I will acknowledge His sovereignty and act in obedience, He will show me the next step to take.

I hope your path is smooth right now, but if it isn’t I pray you will claim every word of Proverbs 3:5-6.

You can REALLY trust God!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. “  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

 

OROS, Ms. Betty Jean, a resident of Covington, Louisiana and formerly of Brantley, Alabama, passed away on Sunday, May 27, 2018. A graveside service for Ms. Oros will be held at 11 AM on Friday, June 1, in Mt. Zion Cemetery with Dr. Waylon Bailey from FBC Covington officiating and Turners Funeral Home of Luverne directing. Betty resided in Brantley most of her life, but spent the last four years in Covington, Louisiana in the Forest Manor Nursing Home. She enjoyed her life there and was blessed by her loving family and friends from First Baptist Church Covington. Ms. Oros was preceded in death by her parents, Ira and Sara Layton, and her sister, Rose Layton DePauw. She is survived her two sons, James Oros Jr and Carl Stephen Oros; sister, Martha Layton (Waylon) Bailey; brother, Tommy (Dorothy) Layton; and brother-in-law, Morris DePauw. The family requests that any memorial donations be made to the First Baptist Church in Covington, Louisiana for the Capital Campaign or Library. Family and friends will meet in the cemetery on Friday at the service time.


23 thoughts on “Full Circle

  1. Dear Martha, My deepest sympathy to you & your family on your loss. Betty was such a quiet, sweet soul & always enjoyed seeing the therapy dogs when we visited the nursing home. But Praise God, she is at her forever home now, at peace! Hugs, Fay

    1. Thank you, Fay, for sharing about your visits with Betty. She loved it when you came with your dog. It’s conforting to know that she was blessed by many “Louisiana friends” like you. Knowing that she is with Jesus and will forever live in peace in His presence is almost more than I can comprehend.

  2. Martha, I am so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know your sister and her son, but she was sure blessed to have you, as a loving sister, to ensure that she was cared for. Thank you for sharing.
    Tammy Snyder

  3. So sorry for your loss of a 2nd sister. Will be praying for your family and the service Friday. Becky and Eddie P.S. You have been a good sister.

    1. It’s been quite a journey, Tammy, but the Lord has been faithful to help us all the way. Betty was 16 when I was born and always called me “the baby.”

    2. Becky, thank you for praying for us. Yesterday’s service was a sweet time of celebration and helped us bring closure to a difficult journey. God has been faithful.

  4. So sorry to hear of your loss. It is amazing to see the full circle of the needs of your sister and nephew and the purpose of the family members who offered support. Bless you, Martha and I lift you to our Father for peace, comfort, and discernment during this difficult time. Hugs and Prayers.

    1. Thank you, Kelsey. We have been comforted and supported by the prayers and love of our friends. God provided fir us in remarkable ways. So blessed.

  5. Martha, you and Waylon have been more than sister and brother-in-law to Ms. Betty. You have been “like” Jesus and it doesn’t get better than that.
    We will miss Betty and the sweet, fun moments we shared with her.
    Much love, Audley, Randy, Anne, Susan, Mary and Cindy (and all the ladies at the aquarium table).

    1. It’s so comforting to have those who have already walked our path to come along beside us to comfort and encourage us, Audley. What a blessing you and your family have been to us!

  6. When I die,
    Hallelujah by and by,
    I’ll Fly away!

    Prayer without ceasing. Heath and Jan

  7. When I die,
    Hallelujah by and by,
    I’ll fly away!

    Prayer without ceasing! Heath and Jan

    1. Heath, when I heard y’all singing those words last Sunday morning at Forest Manor, Betty had just made her flight to heaven and I had to come down and sing with you. You’ll never know how much it meant to have friends in the facility who came quickly to pray with us and offer words of love and comfort. What a blessing your ministry is to the residents at Forest Manor.

  8. My heart hurts for you Martha but we all know how you & Waylon took care of your sister in her time of need. She was so blessed to have you in her life. Especially those last few years when she needed the support & caring the most. I will pray for safe travels in the next few days to celebrate her life. And most important of all peace in your heart that she is in heaven with our Savior!

    1. Eileen, yesterday’s service was a sweet time of celebration as we honored our Lord and Betty and her last wishes. Thank you for praying for us.

  9. Dear Waylon and Martha, I am so sorry for your loss of this precious one. What comfort we have in knowing she is now healed in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Prayers going up for you both and trusting Him for the blessings yet to come for you.

  10. Martha and Waylon, I am so sorry about your precious sister. I know she is in heaven perfect and happy with Jesus. You both can be proud you followed God’s wish and took such good care of her. I enjoyed meeting her at our Bible study. I continue to pray for you both and your family. ❤️

  11. You and Waylon are precious and we love you both so very much. Thank you so much for this amazing post!!!

  12. I remember how much Betty enjoyed coming to your Bible study when she first arrived here. She also loved all the
    attention she received from visitors . You and Waylon certainly did a magnificent job of caring for her every need

    1. Yes, she did enjoy Bible study. I was sad when it became impossible for her to attend. Y’all were so sweet to her. She had never experienced anything like that. You Louisiana folks really blessed her life. We are so grateful, Marge.

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