John and Clara were always showing pictures of their family to everyone they came in contact with. They would have such a glow in their eyes when they spoke of them. Of all their grandchildren, Lisa Ann was special, inasmuch as they had raised her. Lisa Ann’s mom and step-dad would come to visit every other Saturday. Her mom had a successful career now and felt it was better for Lisa Ann to continue to live with her grandparents.
Dillard and Molly MacIntosh told us how, through the years they would see John, Clara and Lisa Ann pass by their house on one of their evening jaunts. They remembered Lisa Ann riding in her stroller, then a tricycle, and finally a bicycle. It was right after Lisa Ann’s sophomore year in high school that she became “Miss Independent” like her mother had before her, and stopped spending time with her grandparents. John and Clara still made their daily walks, but without Lisa Ann; they didn’t seem to have the same spring in their steps.
The day Dillard and Molly stopped in to see Clara, her eyes sparkled as she talked about Lisa Ann. Part of the reason her eyes seemed to sparkle so much was because of the tiny drops of moisture in them. Clara told the MacIntoshes how her husband John would sit in the living room looking out the window during the cold months and on the front porch in the summer months, longing for Lisa Ann to pull in the driveway. In the four years she had been away to college, she had only visited about a half dozen times a year, and only a few of those times did she stay for more than one or two nights. Her grandparents kept her bedroom just like she had left it when Lisa Ann graduated from high school.
The walls were covered with memories! More than once in a while Clara and John would find each other sitting in Lisa Ann’s bedroom, reflecting on the years of love and care they had given her and how they were her whole world until she turned 15.
When Lisa Ann pulled into the driveway her grandfather was there to open the car door before she could turn off the car engine; Clara was there a split second later. They hadn’t seen Lisa Ann since she had graduated from college a few months ago. Tears of joy flowed from John and Clara’s eyes. They could hardly contain themselves when Lisa Ann announced she would be spending the night.
Clara said John was like a little kid as they sat in the family room looking at scrapbooks. He fixed popcorn and cut some apple slices like he had done hundreds of times before, both for their own children when they were younger and then Lisa Ann as she was growing up.
It had been so many years since Clara had felt this good, and especially for her beloved John. As Clara continued recounting these memories, she told us that early that next morning they had another surprise. Their daughter Jan was standing at the door. As delighted as they were to see her, both John and Clara’s intuition told them something was wrong.
Lisa Ann came downstairs, she and her mother Jan told them Lisa Ann had to have a kidney transplant, as her life was in danger. Tests had revealed her mother could not be the donor.
Jan and Lisa Ann didn’t have to say another word before her grandfather enthusiastically volunteered. Tests had found he was the perfect candidate especially since he was in such good health. It was a few months after the transplant that the ongoing complications from a staff infection John got during the time of the transplant caused him to be hospitalized.
When doctors realized he was dying, Clara called their son and daughters, John, Jr. in Minnesota, their daughter Sara in Virginia, and of course Lisa Ann’s mother, Jan. All of them said they would be there by Saturday. Lisa Ann, even though only a few hours away, said it would also be Saturday before she could arrive.
It was late Friday afternoon when John heard a young girl’s voice in the hallway. He asked if that was Lisa Ann. Clara told him it wasn’t, not having the heart to tell her husband that Lisa Ann and her boyfriend had tickets for some big event Friday night; she wouldn’t be there until Saturday.
The nurses on duty all had tears in their eyes. John had asked so many times if Lisa Ann had arrived yet, or when she would be coming. It was early Saturday morning when John took Clara’s hand in his. He told her he loved her, then told her to tell his son and daughters how much he loved them, and then he said, tell Lisa Ann I love her, and tell her I would gladly have given my life for her again if I had to do it all over. I love her so much.
John said, I have been given a glimpse of how much my Savior must love me, and longs for my company. Honey, waiting is so hard, I don’t want to keep my Jesus waiting any longer; I’ll be waiting for you; make sure our children, and Lisa Ann come, too!
Lisa Ann arrived at the hospital Saturday morning, just as some dear friends were helping to take Clara home. Lisa Ann knew immediately she had arrived too late. It was the first time in years she hugged her grandmother the way she did when she was younger.
After the funeral Lisa Ann sat alone with her grandmother and said – “I am so sorry. I have been so self-centered and selfish with my time the last few years.” She asked her grandmother to forgive her. She said she didn’t know how she had come to turn her back on God and had neglected the most loving people she had ever known.
Clara told Lisa Ann that every day since she left to go to college, how her grandfather would sit near the window (or on the porch, looking for her to pull in the driveway) night or day, he always left the light on in the window for her.
Lisa Ann cried and cried. The she said, Grandma, if you think Jesus will forgive me, I want Him to change my heart. Lisa Ann gave her heart to Christ. Her heart of stone and selfishness is no more. She comes to visit her grandmother frequently now.
The day will come when she enters the door to Heaven. Jesus will be there to welcome her, her grandfather, and you can be sure, he’ll be the first one there to open the door!
Her grandfather’s thousands of prayers for Lisa Ann have been answered. What Ezekiel 36:24-26 said concerning the Israelites now came true for Lisa Ann – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take your heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Just think, Jesus loves you a million times more than Lisa Ann’s grandfather loved her. Don’t disappoint Him. He’s waiting for you!
As it says in Romans 10:9 – If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved!
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