God’s timing is perfect
The past few weeks have been the darkest days of my life, yet, out of that darkness, God has opened a door that he held closed for reasons I could not understand until now.
I am saddened and excited at the same time to share that this will be my last week at The Gazette. I have been offered the opportunity to return to my first love, Christian radio, and will start my new position as an on-air host for KVNE, 89.5 FM in Tyler this Friday.
Many of you are aware that my daughter, Mandy, passed away Sept. 10 at the age of 30 after a three-year battle with complications from Type 1 Diabetes, including gastroparesis and kidney failure. So, the timing of this unexpected door opening could only come from the One I put my complete faith and trust in to guide me on my path.
I have always clung to the verse Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Mandy was diagnosed with diabetes when she was three years old and when she got sick in 2016, it forced her to quit working and live at home with me and her dad, Bryan. It is clear to me now that God knew what was coming and that she would need me to be her primary caregiver through those years.
I worked for KVNE part-time and was a freelance writer prior to starting at The Gazette in March 2018. Before moving to East Texas in 2008, I had worked in radio for more than 20 years, weaving back and forth between radio and newspaper gigs from Lawton, Okla. to Huntsville, Ala. to Wichita Falls and Arlington, Texas. The Gazette’s parent company, Northeast Texas Publishing, understanding my situation, generously allowed me the flexibility to work from home when I needed to closely monitor her, and I will be forever grateful for that opportunity.
Mandy was an artist, photographer, graphic designer and crafter, and we shared a lot of the same creative interests, especially photography. So, many times she helped me at events whenever she was well enough, or just hung out with me at the paper after her dialysis treatments. Mandy was on a track to start the kidney-pancreas transplant process when God called her home. While losing her was a devastating loss, we know that she had accepted Christ as her savior, and that she is now running and jumping, creating works of art, and suffering no longer, and one day, we will be reunited with her in Heaven.
I talked with Becky Carpenter on the phone this week. She founded One Day Closer Ministries after losing her teenage daughter, Skylar, eight years ago. Her husband, David, by the way, is a Pittsburg native. Her “momma heart” understanding what we are going through resonated with me, and reminded me that while the pain will never go away, God has given me a new path, a new purpose, and as I take each step, I am one day closer to my panda-loving, blue hair-dyed, hoodie-wearing, wonderfully unique daughter. We described her during her Celebration of Life with three S’s: Sarcastic, Sassy and Stubborn. The last thing Mandy bought on Amazon exemplifies perfectly who she was. It’s a pink and black hoodie emblazoned with the logo for an apparel company called “Beautiful Disaster.”
The words reminded me of the lyrics to a song by Plumb: “Even a million scars don’t change whose you are. You’re worthy. You’re beautifully broken. And you can be whole again.”
We rejoice that she is whole again and, while not with us physically, part of her lives on here on Earth. We received the news soon after her passing that her liver saved the life of a man in his 30’s in the Dallas area and the transplant team was able to use her skin and other tissue to enhance the lives of many others.
I have so enjoyed covering Pittsburg and Camp County. This was my first job at a weekly newspaper, and the dynamics are completely different than that of a daily. I felt like part of the Pittsburg community even though I live in Mount Pleasant. I loved telling your stories, and hopefully, I will be able to continue doing so on a freelance basis in the future.
Thank you all for your support and friendship. I cherish your prayers for my family - for my daughter, Kristin, son, Matt, and daughter-in-law, Meghan, who lost their sister and best friend, and for Bryan and I as we move to the Tyler area in the next few months.
If you tune in to KVNE, you’ll find me filling in for Nikki Martinez during middays while she’s on maternity leave with her precious new baby, Isabella, who was born Sept. 11. When I got to hold her tiny frame last week, my heart soared for Nikki and tears welled up at the memory of when I first held Mandy, and I felt very much at home with my new extended family.
My regular time slot will be 6-9 p.m. weekdays. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to keep in touch with me, or follow my updates on my personal blog Net4Christ.wordpress.com. I plan to freshen it up very soon. I would love to be a blessing to you as you have blessed me.