Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mama B

God places the lonely in families... ~ Psalm 68:6

Sandy and I are early risers--around five a.m. each day. Our routine: have coffee together, chat for a while, and then go our separate ways to read and journal. After thirty or forty minutes we get back together and kind of compare notes. Today, Sandy shared with me the text from the Psalms. It immediately struck a powerful chord with both of us, and launched another conversation that recounted how God so graciously gave us a family and home away from home during a terribly lonely time.

Sandy and I taught together in China until she got sick. I have written about it before, so I will be brief: she was deathly ill, and if she had gone just a short while longer without the care she received in the U.S., I could very well be a widower. So for Bill and Sandy--Team China China--was out of the equation. Out of necessity I did return alone for another six months.

During my absence, Mama B became like a mother to my Bride. Mama B has a second home that is connected to her primary residence by a carport and she made it available to Sandy. Mama B is eighty years young. The "B" stands for Bedingfield, but I say it stands for Brilliant. She has a keen mind, and an incredible ability to catalogue things, and like my own mother she uses technology. I truly believe she has all eight decades of her life, and every significant event in the life of her husband, her children and their spouses, and her children's children neatly bound in journals and portfolios! Mama B comes from a godly heritage. Her parents were missionaries in China (Manchuria) during the 1920's. I have read letters, seen pictures, and handled the heirlooms from their adventures there. It is fascinating. It is Providential. Mama B's husband, Jim was a decorated hero from WWII. As a marine he was battlefield commissioned several times, survived Iwo Jima and every major hot spot, received several purple hearts, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Gold Star, and citations from some of the most powerful men of his era. My favorite picture of him is the one where he is holding up his helmet that has a bullet hole through it!

Mama B's family share a closeness you will rarely witness, and we know it was a "God thing" for them to open up the family circle and make us their adopted kin. My family in Maine would have done the same, but couldn't, because Sandy was teaching here in Columbus, GA. Mama B nurtured Sandy and gathered her beneath her wing like a mother hen gathers her brood. Mama B's family did the same. There is not a day that passes without Mama B coming up in conversation, and we know we could never adequately express to God, or Mama B and her family, the gratitude we feel for being Providentially placed in such a wonderful family during such a lonely time.

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