You can learn more about Joanne by clicking on her picture to the left, but I wanted to tell you about how I got to know her. Joanne and I have a few things in common, 1) Beth Moore’s LPM Blog, 2) Blogging, 3) We love God and 4) We are a part of an online “church” community of about 6,000 women and a few men who love God, too.
I met Joanne for the very first time sitting across the table from her with about 30 other women in San Antonio, TX. The occasion was a “Siesta” Meet-Up. Joanne is a published author. She is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and beloved of God. I remember her calm, quiet demeanor and her willingness to share her observations about writing with a novice like me. She came across as very authentic. What you saw was what you got in Joanne – and she is not about pretense. Her last blog post was about how she started a fire in her fireplace and smoked up the house because the air was so cold it took a moment to draw into the flue. She lived life and on the pages of her blog she shared that life with us.
In San Antonio about 10,000 women converged on the city between August 21 & 22, 2008. I attended with 1,000 other bloggers who had been planning for near a year for that very weekend. Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live San Antonio had finally arrived. We would get a meet up time with Beth and her girls after the conference and the opportunity to find some of our beloved online friends face-to-face. That weekend for me also marked a bittersweet occasion. The third anniversay of my son’s homegoing landed on the last day of the conference, August 23, 2010.
That weekend God sealed His healing in my heart – the end of my grieving season. I took my little “dawg,” Justin. The $50 worth of Build-A-Bear comfort I purchased on a particularly intense day of grief. I got up early that Saturday morning ready for breakfast and a little quiet time. I grabbed my plate, my Bible and my “dawg” and went downstairs to the restaurant in the lobby.
I sat down at a small table by myself and found that I was weeping before I could get one morsel of food in my mouth. Isaiah 60 resonated so loudly in my heart that I could not bear the overwhelming emotion they brought up out of my soul. I had known a divine appointment awaited me in San Antonio. And this was just one of those moments. I could have laid out right there in the floor and worshiped God. A couple of other Siestas invited me to their table, and I got to know a precious mom and her daughters – on of whom was from Gibbons(?), I think that is right, Texas. Oh, well… If it is not. It’s been now on 2 1/2 years and I’m on the other side of that 40 hill… so maybe the memory is slipping like the transmission in our Explorer. At any rate, breakfast was precious and the little family of Siestas bought my breakfast – no arguments. One word for that: BLESSING. Yes, they were.
By the end of that day, I had worshiped in the Throne Room of our King as Travis Cottrell and company led us to an intimate encounter with God through the words of “Before the Throne of God Above.” In that moment I saw my precious boy, who had gone home to heaven after a head trauma claimed his life on August 23, 2005, at the feet of Jesus worshipping in heaven. In a dark arena with 10,000 women seated and listening to the sweet words of that beautiful hymn, I was standing and worshiping God with all I had in me. That moment will remain forever precious to me.
As I sit and type out these words this early winter morning, I can’t help but think about Joanne and Toben Heim. How Toben sits with his precious wife and loves her all the more while contending in prayer for her healing. How thousands of women across the world are praying with him for her healing and restoration. And how the doctors will always only say – the prognosis is minute to minute, or perhaps hour to hour after the brain has suffered a trauma as Joanne’s brain has.
A few days ago I posted on my Welcome Page that we are praying for Joanne who is in the fight of her life to come back to her husband and children after suffering a stroke two days ago. Our God is huge. He is our willing healer. I remember the hours of listening to the breathing of the ventilator, watching the monitor numbers in the silence and praying for God to just take care of my son on those hot August days in 2005. No doubt Toben’s heart fills with the same prayers that God would take care of his wife.
Last night he wrote on her blog: “In short, the girl has hoses and lines and wires running everywhere! But you know what? She still looks beautiful to me. And she is at rest. …
Here’s my thought: not that much has changed in our relationship. She is still here, she is still the love of my life, she is still the one I want to grow old with. Her inability to talk or respond yet doesn’t really change any of that.
Enough of this writing. Time to hold hands with my girl.“
Theirs happens to be a beautiful love story. Toben and Joanne and their family need your prayers. Will you join us in #prayingforjoanne. Toben is posting regular updates on Twitter @tobenheim.
I knew you would.