March 4, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: Our Precious Abbie

It was Super Bowl Sunday, January 27th, 1997.

Marianne and I were anxiously awaiting the birth of our first grandchild, Abbie.

We had been summonsed to the hospital, only to be told that the delivery would not be that night.

So, we went on our merry way to the evening service at Roper Heights Baptist Church in West Point Georgia, where I was serving as the pastor.

Now, this was before cellphones were common place. I wore a pager. So, well in advance of January 27th, my son and I had devised a plan that when the baby was about to be born, he would page me and put all 5’s in the pager. I would know that this meant the baby is coming and to get to the hospital asap!

We had just made it to the church from the hospital. (Remember, we had been told that there was not going to be a birth that night.) I was standing in the sound room when my pager went off. Guess what? It was all 5’s.

I stared at it totally bewildered. I thought to myself, “All 5’s.  What does that mean?” Then it hit me! The baby page! I yelled across the church to Marianne, “Baby page!  Let’s go!” And we did!

And before long our precious Abbie, the one who made me a Pawpaw and Marianne a Nana, was born.

Today, 12-20-2020, has been one of the longest days of mine and Marianne’s life.  This morning, at 6:32 AM, I received another call from my son. But there was no joy associated with this call. He told me that our 23-year-old granddaughter, our precious Abbie, had died very unexpectedly during the night. It was most likely from Covid-19, although we are not yet 100% sure of that.

Marianne and I, along with family members on both sides, have reached a “Watershed Moment” in life. We know that life will go on; it will just never be the same.

When you reach moments like this, your mind begins to remember.

Today, we have discussed all kinds of “little moments,” and “special memories” of Abbie. We have laughed and shed tears. But somewhere during the day, my mind flashed back to the words of the great Dr. Seuss. He said, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”

And as I sit here late at night in my study writing this column, somehow, I know that while many more tears are to be shed, in the end, I will smile because she happened.

Tonight, in a way that there are no words to adequately describe, somehow, I am more keenly aware of the presence of God than ever. I have discovered afresh and anew that the promises of God are true. He will never leave or forsake you; He will stick closer than a brother, and there is a peace that passes understanding. He is my Lord, my faith, and my hope. My everything is in Him and Him alone!

As I close this article, I do so with a portion of an article I wrote for my oldest daughter on the occasion of her wedding. I have modified it for Abbie.

“All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind as I stared at her through the nursery window. I wondered what she would look like, what kind of personality she would have, what talents she would have, what her likes and dislikes would be, what she would grow up to be, and most importantly, what kind of Pawpaw would I be to a girl!

As I stared at her through that nursery window, I made a mistake – I blinked.

Seemingly, I closed my eyes looking at a newborn infant and opened them looking at a beautiful young lady. Seemingly in the time it took to blink, a lifetime passed by in a blur.

The important things of life such as first steps, first words, training wheels, Barbie dolls, Pawpaw & Nana’s lap, kindergarten, the tickle monster, tea parties, boys, telephones, driver’s license, curfews, high school graduation, and college are now just faded memories.

She blew through our lives like a hurricane strewing dust and dolls everywhere she went. Her Nana has long since cleaned her room and put the dolls away.

But the sunshine she brought into our lives, simply by passing our way, has made the trip worth the effort.”

Please, hold your babies a little tighter this year as you celebrate Christmas.  And be sure to tell the special people in your life that you love them!

Brother Aaron

Comments

  1. This broke my heart. Prayers for peace and comfort for you all

  2. Tracie Blair says

    Much love and many prayers for your family, The Blair’s

  3. Suzanne Presley says

    Your words mean alot to me. I lost my 19 year old son in 91 and my oldest son this past May. If it were not for my God, I would have never made it this far. We will rejoice the day we see them again. My prayers are with your family especially her Mother.

  4. Matt Kaurin says

    God bless and comfort you and in your family in this time.

  5. Tesia McCormick says

    So very Sorry to hear this. Just so Heartbreaking. Yall are In my prayers for Peace & Comfort. I know this Beautiful Young Lady will be very missed here on Earth. But one day What A Celebration ! She will be waiting.

  6. Dudley Gunter says

    Amen.
    Prayers for your family. God bless you all,

  7. Annette and Ray Harrington. Warm springs. Ga says

    We are so sorry to hear about your granddaughter. Praying for all the family

  8. Lisa Willingham says

    Aaron I am so sorry for your loss, I saw Pastoral Nuggets pop up on my Facebook and I thought of you, when I opened it and begin to read it, my breath was taken for a moment from the pain and hurt I know that you and the family are going through at this time. No words to say to make this better for you and the family, find comfort in God as you already know that’s the only way to walk through life now. You will forever be my Pastor and I will always love you and Marianne for all the love y’all have shown my family over the years.
    God Bless and Be With You

    • Thank you so much for your prayers. We love you and your family and forever will be grateful for the time that the Lord allowed us to serve Him together!
      Marianne

    • Lisa: Thank you! You know we love you. And I am honored to be your pastor! Please keep the prayers coming. Bro. Aaron

    • Lisa: Thank you for your prayers! I am honored to be your pastor. Please keep the prayers coming. You know we love you! Bro. Aaron

  9. Johnnie Grainger says

    We are so very sorry for your tremendous loss. Our hearts breaks with you, but also our love, hugs and prayers are with you.please know we love you all so very much.
    Dwight and Johnnie

  10. May God overwhelm you with His love and comfort. Your family is so loved on earth and in Heaven!

  11. Barbara Nivens says

    Reading of this tragedy I can’t help but pray my witness would be as excellent as yours under the same circumstances. Though shocked at her unexpected homegoing, you and Marianne live testimonies that are so Christ-centered all the time which makes your testimony even more impactful now. Jesus will carry all your family through this and make you stronger still. We’ll pray and share your need with other prayer warriors.

  12. What a beautiful tribute and reminder for us all. Praying for peace and comfort and many smiles with the memories you have for your granddaughter.

  13. Beth Jackson says

    Sending you so much love, prayers, and hugs. What a sweet tribute to a selfless human being. May God keep your family during this most difficult time.

  14. Debbie and Rob Elzey says

    I remember the day you came to Church of God and you had a sermon planned but as you got up the Holy Spirit gave you another. I had just lost my son, I was hurt, I was in a dark place, I was in shock to lose a child. I will always remember the words in that sermon, God was using you to speak peace to me. You said, Everything is going to be Alright. You have no idea the peace that gave me that day as I walked away from the church my son had laid in a casket just a short week or two before. Yes everything is going to be OK, I still keep those words in my heart and I pull them out when I feel sad of my loss. I have always loved hearing your sermons on the radio, they always came just in time and what I needed to hear. My heart breaks for you both, I will say to you as you did to me that day…..Everything is Going to be Alright…….nothing could ever be better than opening your eyes in heaven and the Master. We love and pray for you both as we know the hurt and grief you feel at this time….I hope you know Everything is Going to be Aright.

  15. Merle McMillian says

    Praying for your family ! Much love !

  16. My heart is broken for you all. Praying.

  17. Jerome Elliott says

    praying for you and your family love ya’llj

  18. Praying for the family and friends

  19. Dean and Rosetta Lawson says

    Our prayers and condolences to Abbie’s Famiy. loved ones and friends , our hearts ache for all of you . Praying for God to hold all of you so tight to give yall the understanding and peace that only he can. DEAN and Rosettà Lawson

  20. Judy whited says

    Brother Aaron I am so sorry for yalls loss. Praying for your family. God bless yall!

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