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When GOD Took My Friend & The Trials, Tribulations, And Triumph Of Sparkie Bottoms
By L.D. Hunter
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 L.D. Hunter
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMy Friend
The Big Halle Berry Smile!
My friend was loving. My friend was humorous! My friend loved big houses and nice things in life. Before my friend got really sick we used to ride out and look for a larger place to stay. We decided on a ranch style home, one with everything on the first floor, the master bedroom, kitchen, bath, living room, and outside screened in porch with sliding doors.
You see, my friend was a cancer patient, and could get tired quickly using the stairs so much. We found that out with our condo. What I love most about my friend was her humor and the big Halle Berry Smile she gave to everyone! She loved going to movies, and theatrical plays, and her favorite restaurants here in Raleigh, The Bahama Breeze, and the Red Lobster of which we frequented often when she was strong and vibrant, and her cancer treatments and radiation treatments didn't cause her a flare up, or to become very weak.
Her love for the God who made her really let me know I had the true jewel in a marriage partner. She often talked of the goodness of Jesus, and His love and power, and though weak on occasions would praise God in her holy dance, or get excited when I would praise Him as well. I loved her. She made me happy everyday! She made my day! I remember our very first date. We met at Buffalo Brothers restaurant, Capitol Blvd Raleigh, N.C. She stood there in what looked like 5 inch heel boots, and the biggest Halle Berry Smile you've ever seen, and truthfully we fell in love at first sight! I immediately set out to win her over. We talked till the restaurant got ready to close its doors. I told her I wanted to see her as much as possible.
We worked different hours, her 9 to 5, and I worked 3pm till 11:30 nightly. So, after I got home I would shower, grab a quick bite to eat and spend a couple of hours on the phone with her if her eyes didn't get too heavy? We met just before Valentine's Day. I had been working a temporary job—praying I would soon get full time employment. Then shortly before meeting her I landed a full time job, and I'm still employed at the job till the time of this book. We talked about everything and shared everything for 10 months. After 10 months we decided to get married, the 15th of December just before Christmas!
We were so excited and so much in love and couldn't stand to be away from each other for even a day the whole 10 months that we dated. Sheila had a very loving and sweet family, and so did I. Each of us came from very strong families of faith, and were believers in God, His Son Jesus Christ, the bible, and righteous living.
I found out that my friend was a very devoted woman of God and didn't mind letting people know of her love for Jesus Christ, and she lived that life out in front of me, her family, co-workers, trainee, or supervisor, and we would "Talk It Out" and "Pray It Through" that is, until we got the victory in every situation and we did. I miss her so much my friend!
Sheila worked in human resources. She was an excellent HR Technician. She constantly dealt with the public in oftentimes very challenging situations, but handled herself and her job responsibilities with zest and a glorious smile! She kept her big Halle Berry smile going also which made it easy for her to talk to people, and tear down barriers even while they were being built.
I loved her zest for life, and the way she carried herself and handled herself with people and her family. Oh! How I loved that big Halle Berry smile! Thank you Lord even today for her lovely smile! The bible says of Enoch, and Enoch walked with God and was not for God took him! God also "took" Sheila. Sheila, as well, like Enoch, walked with God.
God is all powerful! God can heal any disease, even cancer. He chose to take Sheila. I believe today she is happy and so excited in the presence of God (Genesis 5.24 & Psalms 16.11) even as Enoch! To all who are in mourning as I was with Sheila whom I loved so dear, may this bring comfort and joy to you to end your mourning and let it "be" your answer as from the Infinite and "all loving" God.
However, just before meeting my friend, I had a big letdown just before Christmas. I had met this beautiful girl at work, and we had started liking each other, and we went on a date after work. We started talking over the phone after work and weekends. We had agreed to share Christmas gifts with each other and we did. We agreed to see each other on Christmas Eve. So, when Christmas Eve arrived I was waiting to receive a call from her about getting together. I didn't get the call so I called her. I got no answer. I called again and still no answer. I found out later that her old boyfriend had come back to town and I had gotten lost in the mix! Today, I'm so glad I got lost in the mix, but then, I was in pain and turmoil emotionally. But God, has reasons sometimes even in our pain and limited knowledge to see things as they really are.
I threw myself into the Christmas spirit as much as I could, though, being a Christian I was greatly hurt. I also could see why so many people committed suicide during the Christmas season due to all the loneliness and pain, though this did not cross my mind. However, I could see in vivid color how people come to do such an evil thing without knowing the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ, Who gives us strength to endure "all things" as is recorded in His word (1 Corinthians 13).
Through God's help, prayer, my family's love (though, not knowing my circumstances) believers at church, I came through the Christmas season intact and in great spirit to aid and help people rather than being a hindrance and liability in the things of God and for my fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
Attend the Christmas and New Year's services at church, hearing of God's love for all His children under dire circumstances; hang-ups, misery, despair, sinfulness—in spite of all, God is able to keep you, give you joy and meet all of your needs as you call out to Him with your problem, dilemmas, frustrated circumstances, and hopeless situations. He is there to lift you above them all.
He did that for me as I was going through all of this, just prior to meeting Sheila! I'm so glad I kept trusting in Jesus Christ and never gave up, even when it seemed so hard for me, and so frustrating, painful, and agonizing! God came through for me just as He said He would and I continue to believe and trust in Him today, though it's still not perfect and easy for me even now. Someone has said, "I'd rather go with Jesus a mile in the dark than to go with the devil and his crowd an inch in the light!
Again, God gave me hope, strength, and love in the midst of my troubles till I was able to genuinely smile again and become a help and blessing to people and not a hindrance. Then going to the sports bar and restaurant at Buffalo Brothers and seeing Sheila there with this big Halle Berry smile miraculously removed any and all of my pain, sorrow, and sadness! All my pain suddenly disappeared and never returned again till the day I lost her in death.
We did have a glorious honeymoon at Hilton Head Island; we did spend many wonderful weekends at the beach. We did enjoy many many worship services in church together praising and worshipping our great God together, and His Son Jesus Christ, though we knew not what lies before us in the future, and we enjoyed each other one day at a time, and we took it one day at a time, even until God saw fit to separate us in death. Yes, we shopped together. We ate together, slept, rode together, and watched our favorite TV programs together. We bought each other special gifts for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Father's day, Mother's day, birthdays (she always did something very special here and so did I) Valentine's day which was also special, particularly with us because we met around it!
We were not perfect. But, we loved each other, forgave each other, looked out for each other, prayed for each other, wished the best for each other. We shared with each other. We learned each other's likes and dislikes. We did everything together. And lastly, we "romanced" each other, and one of the greatest things my loving friend did for me was to say to me one day, "Honey, please forgive me in that I can't fulfill my wifely duties." To which I immediately said, "Baby, you are doing well, you are doing fine. I'm ok." I just wanted her to know that I was there with her, and going nowhere, and that I loved her.
Even in her pain and weakness she still had her concerns about me ... And how I was doing! What a woman! What a lovely person! What a child of God! Lord Jesus, I thank you for allowing me to experience such undivided love, and such clear understanding of love and what love really is! You showed me in your child Sheila that even though cancer may destroy one's body, it CANNOT destroy or take away your love Lord! Thank you for the love of Sheila that was so evident in the life she lived, and thank you for the love of all your people suffering cancer, sickness, sorrow, divorce, loss of job, income, relative, health, or enjoying the wonderful days like I shared with Sheila. Lord, strengthen them, encourage them, in your love, let them feel your love and care even in the hardest trial because we need that Lord, to know you are here with us now, even as you were with Sheila and me. Lord, even in their pain, weakness, for you said, when we are weak, even then we are strong with you. Help them even as you did with Sheila to look to you, keep the faith, and keep on glowing with that BIG HALLE BERRY smile! Knowing you will never leave them nor forsake them. I pray in Jesus' glorious powerful and immaculate holy name! Amen.
Lovingly, The husband of my friend
Weeping may endure for a night but JOY comes in the morning time.
Precious nugget: there is nothing more joyful than awaking each day with your soul mate, and looking into the eyes of the one that the God of all creation had made just for YOU! I enjoyed so very much looking into Sheila's brown eyes every day, the ONE God made especially for me!
I miss her special words to me, "Honey? Do you think I have pretty legs?"
"Oh yes, yes baby! You have pretty legs!" Laughter is good for the soul. His blessings are new every morning.
When God took my friend
By L.D. Hunter
When God took my friend I thought my life would end.
When God took my friend, I wondered how could I ever start over again.
When God took my friend, what a void was in my heart, because we had promised each other to never part!
When God took my friend on that wonderful sky blue day, He ended the prayers of hundreds who had prayed just like me, Lord, let her stay!
When God took my friend, the Lover of my heart, mind, body, and soul, He knew
He was taking ONE more precious, than a million MOUNTAINS of pure gold!
When God took my friend, HE shattered my life, though HE specializes in putting it all back together again, HE taught a true lesson to us all, the brevity of this earthly life, and oh we're so small!
When God took my friend, it made "me" to see, just how many blessing HE had showered on me!
He took her, now she's gone to her home far away, in heaven to live with Jesus, where forever she'll rejoice and stay!
SO when GOD took my friend, it was NOT the very end, but the beginning of living a glorified Life; all new, all triumphant, over Satan, Sin, Cancer again! Amen.
Thank you for your wonderful Life; my smiling, very joyous, lovely, shinning and glorious friend!
Women, Wives, Tell Them Now!
When I met Sheila she had two sons, both were teenagers. They were very well disciplined for the greater part and already gentlemen and very respectful. Sheila had raised them and taught them right from wrong through the knowledge she had gained from her own parents, and her Christian upbringing.
Falling in love with Sheila meant to me that I would automatically accept her children as my own, treating them with love, care, respect, concern, and the love of God even as I would my own children. I would always make sure even when Sheila got to the point she could not do for her sons as she did when she was well, due to the fight with breast cancer. I made sure each day that all her sons' basic needs were taken care of such as getting to the barber shop, having food to eat, picking up a special item at some store, or music and game shop, taking them to school after missing the bus, and that their rooms also were decent from time to time.
I would do my best to make sure these things and more were taken care of without remorse or anger as I would with my own kids. Seeing and understanding the tremendous responsibility Sheila was under when I met her having two teenage boys made me want to do all I could do to make her load lighter and not heavier as a family unit. So on weekends we often did a lot together, especially when Sheila was doing great. We would go for groceries and often times the boys would be there with us. We would also stop at McDonalds, or Burger King, or sometimes at a favorite restaurant we all liked and have an excellent meal and share in conversation together. Even until Sheila got very ill we all knew on Friday night it was Papa John's pizza night. There would be many occasions when Sheila and I would steal away too on a rendezvous on our own for a Snoopy's Hot Dog, catch a movie, or go house looking in different communities if that was her taste. I wanted her happy as much as she wanted me happy, and we were so thrilled to have each other as partners in marriage.
When I first met Sheila one of the most wonderful things we did was with her son Preston, and that was getting him to all the Pop Warner football games! We'd go to the concession stand for drinks and food and just holler and scream from the stands whenever Preston would be in a play, or made a hit, or carried the football, or made a touchdown.
It always was an exciting time for us, and her family. And on their winning seasons we would go to Charlotte, N.C., or Greensboro, N.C., or wherever to see them advance in the tournament. We also enjoyed other family members playing sports in the community, be it basketball, or football, even at home in the yard.
We both loved watching NFL football together as well, Sheila was a Steeler's fan, and I was a Cowboy fan. Sheila's team won a lot more than mine during our brief time together during her four year bout with breast cancer. I think the Steelers even won the Super Bowl one year we were watching together!
I remember her so vividly talking about THE BUS, The Bus! Which was the nickname for one of the key players on her Pittsburg Steeler's team, their running back THE BUS, Jerome Bettis! She would be so excited watching him, and other key players of her team play. Most of the time (sadly to say for me!) her team would win, even if they trailed the last four or five minutes in a game. It seemed they would always find a way to win!
This made Sheila so happy, and all I would do was just smile and say, yeah, y'all did it again, and she would strut through the house with yes, Yes, gestures, while pumping her fist! Sheila, as well was just as excited about her other son Brandon and his gift as well. Her son Brandon's gift was singing. Brandon was very very gifted in singing and still is to this day.
Often times, when we were in church and he led a song, the church would GO UP 10 or 12 notches—for those of you who know what being in church is all about, and who've been touched and blessed by great gospel music, you understand my language here when I say, he "sang"! He really "sang"! You could feel the Spirit whenever Brandon sang, whether at a family function, and there were many, or at church, Brandon's beautiful voice "lit" the place and everyone in attendance!
People would be saying, sing boy! Sing man! And his mom Sheila would be saying the same, being so proud of her son, though his gift was so opposite of her son Preston who is very athletic. She loved both of them alike, and did all she could to show them her love with her support, time, presence and energy, and finance, and I love this in her as well. When it came time for discipline and there were times when both of them needed it. She did not shy away. She knew exactly how to get the results she wanted, and that was basically taking away for a week, month, day depending on the severity of the rule broken—that which they loved most, phone use, Xbox, visiting friends, or going out.
Excerpted from When GOD Took My Friend & The Trials, Tribulations, And Triumph Of Sparkie Bottoms by L.D. Hunter Copyright © 2012 by L.D. Hunter. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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