Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Goodbye to Howard and Charlotte

8:57 p.m. Today's project was to pray and say goodbye to my dear friend Charlotte Stevens. After a tense month of a lingering escrow, the sale of their home closed, and they are moving into the home that's been waiting for them in Prescott, Arizona.

Charlotte and I were very slightly acquainted while I taught in the 1997-98 school year at Riverside Christian School. Because she taught 4th grade and I was a kinder teacher in the distant nursery building, we may only have seen one another at staff prayer. Kindergarten even had a separate Back to School night!

In 2003 we met again at ladies' Bible study at Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley. She introduced herself one Monday evening, and in later years we both served as discussion group leaders. In 2005, I began a summer Bible study, Charlotte joined the next year, and has been a stalwart, studious and knowledgeable member of the group each year. Since her house is only a few miles from mine, we've carpooled to study every Thursday, and also to ladies' Bible study at church. What good friends we've become--and what trials we have seen one another through!

In the last year, I have found the true meaning of Proverbs 17:17:

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Both being elementary teachers, we have always had so much in common, even though I transitioned to public school and she remained a Christian school teacher. While I retired in 2009 due to Steve's Alzheimers, Charlotte lost her job due to cutbacks in 2010. We could visit more often, and found we are both huge fiction readers. She introduced me to authors Karen Kingsbury and Terri Blackstock; she delved into Mary Higgins Clark's mysteries and the whole Amish inspirational genre. We had our own lending library going.

The Stevens' contribution really came to the forefront when the Lord sat me down to write Galatians: An Exploration of Faith and Freedom. I needed at least three hours of uninterrupted time daily to edit the Bible study and write anecdotes and introductions. Howard volunteered to have Steve come over and work in his orchard once or twice a week for months. Steve enjoyed the work, felt useful, I had time to write, and the Lord gave me the relief from caregiving duties so I could concentrate. I was delighted to give her a copy of the book she so generously endorsed!

I remember how Charlotte continued and will continue to pray in faith for Steve's complete healing, up to and including today as we said our private goodbyes at our home where she brought the contents of her fridge before they have the power cut off. On the practical side, last year she was the one who saw a segment on CBN about a powerful brain stimulant called Phosphatidylserine (PS) that greatly aids Alzheimer victims. It's available at health food stores, so I picked some up immediately, as a supplement to his Namenda and Aricept. Steve did improve markedly, and I'd notice a drop in his cognition when I fell behind in his supply.

Charlotte and Howard, in her 60's and his 70's, are going to join their son Justin, soon to be a father, in Arizona, a great adventure God has called them to. As He has in the decades of their entire Christian walk, may the Lord Jesus go before them!! We love you guys!!

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