Sunshine During The Rain

My sister had spent yet another week in the hospital, while the doctors scratched their heads and had lots of meetings, trying to figure out how and why she had such a severe infection after her abdominal surgery. They told us that not doing the surgery created risks by allowing the infection to continue, but doing the surgery also created risks because it would expose new tissues to the infection. It was a lose-lose situation, and a hard decision to make. But around noon on Saturday, they came in and whisked her away to surgery.
The doctors completed the surgery in just over three hours, which was supposed to take 30 to 45 minutes. As my family and I waited in the waiting room for hours, anxiously searching the halls for any sign of a doctor to come and give us an update, all we could was pray. The doctor finally appeared, and said it was worse than what they had expected, in fact, it was the worst internal infection he had seen in all his years of practicing medicine. (Gee thanks for telling us that doc.) He explained that she would need at least two or three more weeks in the hospital, and that things would probably get worse before getting better. He made sure we understood that her road to recovery would be long, bumpy and hard. We all stood there crying, hearts filled with worry, not really knowing what to say.

It was a few hours later when she left recovery and I was just about to go and visit her in her room. I was sitting there with my head in my hands, rubbing my red eyes, trying to find an ounce of composure and strength to go stand by her bedside. Just then, another family entered the room, talking and making phone calls. I didn’t pay them much attention. Then a few minutes later, I heard the word “Jesus” loud and clear. Just the sound of Jesus’s name made my heart skip a beat, and felt like music to my ears. My eyes looked up and I saw a sweet, white haired older woman, with beautiful eyes, sitting in a wheelchair. Then I overheard her telling her family members how she just hoped that the Lord would allow her to keep her precious husband a little bit longer here on earth. But despite her worry, her face was glowing with joy.

Before I knew it, she was looking straight at me, and saying “Hey Honey! How are ya!”. I quietly said I was fine and left it at that. But then, she proceeded to roll herself over to where I was sitting, and began talking to me about her husband, how he was the matriarch of their family and such a wonderful Godly man. She asked me some questions about why I was there, and began encouraging me, reminding me of beautiful truths from the Bible, and sharing God’s love with me.

I recall her saying, in a soothing and gentle voice, “child – there is just no way to fathom how much God loves us, and it is so important for us to remember that truth in times like these”. The more she talked, I found myself wishing I could pull out a piece of paper and write down her every word, but I just sat there and let her sweetness pour out on me. Then she said something I will never forget. She said, “honey – you are so sweet, and young, I just hope God blesses your sister. And if He can only save one person today, I hope it is her, because my husband is 85 years old, and has lived a long and fruitful life.”

I was stunned at her selflessness. I was shocked that she would even consider the thought of putting a total stranger’s life ahead of the life of her dear husband. I didn’t even know how to respond to such a heartfelt and Godly expression of love. She took my hands, and my mother’s hands who was sitting there with us, and she prayed for my sister out loud. Afterwards, she encouraged us some more and told us not to worry, and before we left, I told her I wanted to pray for her, and we all held hands again and prayed for her husband, Ernest.

I walked out of that waiting room knowing that I had seen Jesus.

Today my sister is still in a lot of pain and still has a long difficult journey to travel towards recovery, but she got two good reports today, and that is a praise. It was an answered prayer, and I am waiting in anticipation to see what prayers He answers next.

I found out what floor that Mrs. Sykes husband was in, and after visiting with my sister for a while, my daughter Kaitlyn and I went to look for her. I found her in the ICU waiting room, standing there with that same joyful glow on her face, happily talking with another stranger. I had brought her a small vase of fresh gardenias from my back yard, and as the smell permeated the room, her eyes grew wide. I asked if she remembered me, and she smiled and said yes. I thanked her for her kindness last night and gave her a hug, and her eyes welled up with tears, as she poured out more encouragement and compliments that lifted my spirits. She doted on my daughter, how pretty she was, how sweet she was, and how wonderful it was to know that she loved the Lord. Then she told my daughter something very profound – she said, with the way the world is today, many kids never hear God’s Word or set foot in a church, and that Kaitlyn might be the only Bible that some kids ever get to read. Kaitlyn smiled and told her thank you, and it opened up an opportunity for me to talk to my daughter about the importance of being Jesus to others.

I can only hope to be just like Mrs. Sykes one day. To become such a strong woman of faith, such a lover of people, so selfless that I would put even strangers ahead of myself. To become a woman that despite hardships and pain, my face will radiate joy and God’s love. To become someone that leaves other people feeling as if they have seen Jesus, through the light that shone through me.

PS Mrs. Sykes said her husband was doing much better today, so I know that God sees Ernest too, and has His angels hovering around him.


  1. Barbara K on Monday, June 16, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Tracie, I pray that the Lord will give you strength during this difficult recovery for your sister. I thank Him for letting you know He is there. I pray for your sisters comfort and that her body would grow stronger and fight this infection. Lean on Him. Look to Him for your every need. He will supply! Get some rest for yourself. In Jesus Name,
    Barbara K.

  2. Busy Mom on Monday, June 16, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Praying for your family! Wow–what an encouragement you shared with us all–how to be that witness to others in times of trials and hardships. Your post has encouarged me to continue on and pick up the cross of life daily with a smile and a thankful heart! Jesus is everything!

  3. Digging for Pearls on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    What a beautiful story. Isn’t it amazing how God provides when we least expect it and in areas we would never imagine?

    I pray that your sister recovers quickly and that you feel peace as you head to She Speaks. May you rely on His love in a way that you never have before. I pray He will meet your needs abundantly.


  4. Chatty Kelly on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    That was the most beautiful and encouraging story. It’s like God sends us his angels…and that sweet lady was certainly like an angel, wasn’t she?

    May God continue to be with your sister, with Ernest, as well as with your family and his.

  5. Bobbie on Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    God sent you Mrs. Sykes to comfort you. Its so beautiful. I cant even imagine how wonderful God is to us!!!

    Whats your sister’s name so we can all pray for her by name?

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Tracie Miles is a bestselling author and the Director of COMPEL Training with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  She helps women grow stronger in their faith, pursue the life of purpose God designed them for and live a life of peace, joy and happiness despite their circumstances.


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