From time to time, we all need a boost, a pick-me-up, or an encouraging word. You may be running on empty either spiritually, physically, mentally or even financially, and then someone walks into your life, be it a stranger, friend or family member, and lifts a bit of the burden from off your shoulders. Because of them, you gather up enough stamina to endure another day.
Earth angels are all around us: friends who lift us up, a stranger who smiles or pays for your coffee in the McDonald's line, a nurse at the hospital who genuinely seems to care that your child is ill or that your parent just passed away. Because I've worked in two different hospices, I've been able to rub shoulders with and see the "wings" and "halos" of some very special earth angels. Some operated as chaplains, others as nurses, counselors, social workers, CNA's and on and on, I could go. I think one big reason for what I've observed with my hospice co-workers is that they know first hand that life is brief and eternity certain.
So, we have established there are indeed earth angels: humans who act "angelic" even if it is "but for a moment." I know personally, as I was enduring a particular trial that seemed to go on and on and on. (Those of you who are older remember Sherry on the "Lambchop" show on PBS and the song: "go on and on my friends.") That song became my "theme song." During that time, I would cry out to God to please send me some help to be able to endure another day. Inevitably, He would send someone, but nine times out of 10, it was my own precious daughter who stepped up to her angel role and saw without my even asking, acted without my prompting, and "performed angel duties" as if that's why she existed.
For instance, I struggled to carry my babies. Three of my babies died before being born and I had to go to bed for much of my pregnancies, and after they were born, they did not sleep. However, whenever I cried out to God for help, the little girl growing into a little woman would step up and anticipate whatever was needed. One sweet memory during the four plus years of not ever sleeping through the night, was of Kristin packing a cooler with bottles made and sippy cups filled and placing it by my bedroom door, so when I was awakened at night, I did not need to go downstairs and make bottles or fill a sippy cup, it was right there all packed in the cooler. I could go on and on about her help and how she canned thousands of quarts of vegetables every year with me, cooked for visitors with me and would never sit until "momma could sit." Earth angels came during those difficult years in droves, and in later years, when I lost my angel girl, they carried me when I couldn't carry myself. They were the hands and feet of Jesus to me. You know I am referring to many of you.
Angels unaware. Most who have been in church or read the Bible have heard of "angels unaware." These are angels sent from Heaven to perform a certain act, say a certain thing, but the result always is the same: they point us to God. Hebrews 13:2 - "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." My dad told a story of a stranger coming to the church that we attended when I was a girl. A stranger in our small town was rare. He kept looking at my dad and my dad felt impressed to go talk to the man, yet he did not. The service ended and the men all gathered to talk as usual and the stranger walked by him and down the street. All the while watching the man, the impression to talk to him increased, but he did not. When the man reached the corner to turn away from my dad's gaze, the stranger looked back at my dad and when he did the chills ran up and down Dad and tears formed.
The man disappeared never to be seen again. Dad believed it was an "angel unaware." I've told this story before, but it is worth repeating, as it was life changing. I was traveling by plane to speak at the East Coast Ladies' conference. I left my boondocks home and boarded a plane in Charleston. I was feeling quite "back woodsy." I had to connect in Washington, D.C. and catch another flight. From the moment I left home the thought kept going through my mind: "What were they thinking when they asked me to speak?" "Who am I?" The other keynote speaking was an accomplished author and college professor... and me?
I was a country woman who homeschooled her kids and wrote. The "Who am I's" continued and fear gripped my heart as I heard this was the largest ladies' conference on the East Coast. And I was to be the speaker? As the plane began the descent into Washington/Dulles airport, it's as if a light came on in my soul. It's not about me, but about Jesus. I prayed a simple heartfelt prayer: "Lord, when the ladies see me, don't let them see me, let them see Jesus. Lord, when they hear me, don't let them hear me, let them hear Jesus." Peace came and I entered the large airport and approached the desk. As I was standing there, I felt someone touch the Bible in my arms. I looked down into the radiant face of an elderly woman in a wheelchair. She was smiling and patting my Bible.
"I love that book," she said. My heart warmed. I love the elderly, and she was just precious. "I love this book, too," I replied. I walked over to find a seat and there she was again. She wheeled over to me. "So, are you a teacher of the Bible?" she asked. I explained where I was going and that I was speaking. We chatted a bit and she told me where she "ministered" usually, and I walked to get a bottle of water and found where I was to board my next flight. Lo and behold, there she was again. I'm telling you the wheels on her wheelchair had to be a-smoking! She motioned me to her in the center of the airport terminal waiting area.
She took my hand in both of her hands. The terminal went silent. Strange in itself as it was Washington/Dulles airport packed with travelers. All eyes turned and looked at us. She began to speak: "May God bless you, young lady. When you speak this weekend, may the ladies not hear you, but may they hear Jesus, and when they see you, may they not see you, but may they see Jesus" Tears were falling down my cheeks and I thanked her several times. It was the very prayer I had prayed on the airplane just minutes before. She then did something I will never forget.
The frail elderly woman wheeled across the terminal, stood up, and walked into the crowd. Immediately, I knew. She had been an "angel unaware." Chills ran all over me and the tears flowed freely as others returned to their own business. The terminal went from silence back to a bustling place. Needless to say, the East Coast Ladies' Conference was amazing, and thousands attended. I will never forget that wonderful experience, nor the angel who spoke God's words to me and instilled courage for the task at hand.
My challenge for myself and for you is: in every way possible and at every opportunity possible, be an earth angel. Speak a kind word, for everyone is fighting some sort of battle. Do a kind deed, Send a card, make a phone call, heed your "gut" when urged to act upon a need. Become a healer for the broken, hurting, addicted, poor, abused and downtrodden, and also know that appearances can be very deceiving. Some do not look like they are hurting or down and out, but they are nevertheless. Oh, their bank account may be filled, but they are hurt, grieving, sinking, and some may even be ready to take their own life. They need a touch from Jesus. Be an earth angel, and by that I am saying: "may they not see you, but may they see Jesus. May they not hear you, but may they hear Jesus." I'm so thankful for those of you who have been earth angels for me. Then, remember, there are angels among us. As the Word states: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for some have entertained angels unaware."
Kimberly Morgan is a wife, homeschool mom, and freelance writer. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, follow on twitter @ kimmorgan63.