Advent Reflections

Joyful Expectation | December 12

God’s loving presence and guidance in my life have been amazing moments of feeling connected to the Spirit and love of God. In October 2017, my husband Bill and I decided to go to Hawaii to celebrate 50 years of marriage. Our daughter was healing after a year of treatment for breast cancer.

Claiming and believing “All good things work for those who love the Lord,” (Philippians 4:14) we arrived in Honolulu on Oct 13, 2017. We visited Pearl Harbor, and my husband was so happy – he was in awe of the many memorials. October 14 we boarded a cruise ship, where we relaxed and saw the sights. On October 17 we were in Hilo, Hawaii. We went to a Botanical Gardens by the ocean, and it was so beautiful that Bill said “this is just like paradise.” We went back to the cruise ship, rested, went up on deck and had a drink. When we came back to our cabin to dress for dinner, my husband felt short of breath. I propped him up on pillows and tried his relief inhaler, but there was no improvement. I dialed 911 and opened the door. Help was there within minutes and took him to the ship infirmary. I followed, but they had me go back to my room to pack up with two men assisting. My husband was being taken off the ship and we were leaving the port in 30 minutes. If I did not get down to the dock in time for the ambulance, they would send me by taxi. I hoped and prayed to be on time to be in the ambulance with him. I was.

When I came to the dock, they brought Bill out on a stretcher and were doing chest compressions. “That is not good,” I thought. All the way there, they continued the chest compressions. They took him right in and continued to work on him as I sat outside the curtain in shock. A few minutes later the doctor came out and told me my husband was gone. I was in a state of shock. Moments later a volunteer from VASH (Visitors Aloha Society of Hawaii) named Jerry came to be with me. (His presence formed an immediate connection as my oldest brother is named Jerry.) Jerry stayed with me and we said prayers, and read Psalms 23, the Lord’s Prayer and other bible verses. I felt a strong presence of God.

Jerry spoke with my children. They were assured I would not be alone. Jerry arranged for hotel accommodations, took me to the grocery store, drove me to my hotel, gave me a cell phone number for contact, and made sure I had things to eat and drink. The next day Jerry drove me to the funeral home, stayed with me while I communicated with my son and daughter. The following day, Jerry took me to the airport, and on the way stopped for prayers in a beautiful healing garden. On the flight home, I sat next to mother and daughter, Susan and Allison. This too was of comfort as I have a dear Christian friend named Susan Allison. I saw God working, and I knew that my husband was with God. I felt I had the presence of God and His angels during this transition of death to eternal life.

by Judy Liliensiek

This post is part of a series of Advent Reflections – “Joyful Expectation”
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