Women's Devo | May 2021
Our Ever-Present Help
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV.
March 8, 2015, my personality said sit in the middle of the congregation with your ladies, but my position on the women’s board said do as I was asked to do. I settled down on the second row at the Women’s Conference just behind the beautiful dignitaries. Preliminaries were taking place. My daughter Summer and I and the church ladies were anxiously awaiting the refreshing to come in God’s presence. In short order, I get a text that my husband Jerry is being taken to the ER at South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta. I’m startled, the love of my life is sick, and I must be there! I left the tabernacle that day unsure of what would lie ahead.
In the ER they told us his kidneys were blocked and he needed an operation. The next week in the hospital following surgery, we had answers as to why Jerry had been so pale, nights of falling asleep on the couch before bed, always cold and going to the restroom 3 and 4 times a night. His kidneys had become blocked. His numbers at 6%.
Once at home, we decided to plan a cruise to Nassau Bahamas. Why not? It had been 4 weeks since surgery. How exciting! A cruise for just the two of us! On the bow of the ship leaving harbor, smelling salt air and gazing on the beautiful waters, I heard the ringtone of a cell phone, “Take Me to the King.” The words of this song would later be my saving grace, along with other subtle hints from my Father that He was with us and would always be there.
Midnight that night, Jerry got up and went to the restroom. He came back to bed but was up again at 2:00 am. I awoke and asked was he ok. I cringed at the word NO. He was passing a great deal of blood. So very afraid, I picked up the phone and called for help. A guy pushed Jerry down to the elevator in a wheelchair to take us to the ship’s infirmary. I kept hearing my husband say, “Go faster, please! Go faster man!”
The ship’s doctor decided Jerry needed a catheter, but none of the catheters worked. Jerry was in excruciating pain. The nurse had finally administered all the morphine possible without stopping his heart. He continued to writhe in pain and hemorrhage. The doctor said, “I’m sorry but there is nothing else we can do. We are still 7 hours from the Bahamas. Once we arrive, they will take you by ambulance to the nearest hospital.” I’m holding my phone and praying like crazy,begging God to take his pain away! I look down and discovered I had accidentally called our friend Joyce in Homerville. It was 3:00 am and hurriedly I hung up trying not to disturb her. When she answered the call that night, she knew it was me and immediately went to prayer over us. I’m feeling very much alone in the bottom of a ship in the ocean, 7 hours from anywhere!
What would be our fate? Seven hours from the Bahamas? Leave the ship? What would they do to him? How would we get home? Would he ever go home?
I went outside the infirmary to call our children. I saw a tall African American man standing close by. I assumed he worked for the ship. I talked to the children and let them know what was happening. I was almost in tears when I hung up. The man stepped up and asked, “Are you ok?” I told him our plight. This man reached for my hands and asked, “Can I pray with you?” I am a pastor. My wife and I are also on the cruise. She woke up with indigestion and needed antacids.” God had awakened her for such a time as this. We joined hands and that pastor prayed the sweetest prayer over my husband, over me, the children back home and for healing to come to his body. Oh, what a God thing! I was not alone!
The ship docked and we were discharged. At 9:00 am Jerry and I were taken by ambulance and entered the gate to Nassau. We soon arrived at the hospital. Nassau is picturesque in the tourist areas, but some interior streets appear undesirable. Here we were in a different country, in unfamiliar surroundings. When we arrived at the ER entrance, it looked like a very unkept garage. I thought we are in trouble!
I hurried to register him as they took him back. When I returned, they had given him something to crush the clots. The wall beyond his bed looked as if it had been spray painted red! The nurse turned to me with his pajamas in hand, half soaked in blood and asked, “Do you want these?” I am certain the horrified look on my face gave her the answer! I looked at Jerry expecting him to surely be dead, but he was smiling. The terrible pain had subsided. We thanked God for the relief. The doctor told me he must operate, or it would all build up again.
By now our kids are calling, saying “Bring Daddy home!” I was so confused. The doctor said he would not make it home, not even with a catheter. He must have this surgery. I asked Jerry what we should do. He said, “We are doing the right thing. I will have the operation.” The decision was made.
The doctor called me aside, scratched off a phone number on a piece of paper, ripped it from his pad and told me to call the number. He said, “It’s my mother. She will let you know my costs!”
I was in complete disbelief, but I went into the hallway and called this lady. The surgery is near $5,000. She asked, “How do you plan to pay?” I told her with a credit card. She said, “Oh no, we don’t take credit cards.” I asked her, “Well what am I supposed to do? We don’t bring that kind of cash on vacation.” “I don’t know. I guess you could get a taxi, go to the nearest bank and let them run your card” she said. Now terrified not knowing what the next step would be, I go back to the doctor and relay the phone conversation with his Mom, as my husband is being rolled out for surgery. The doctor threw his hand up and said, “No, wait a minute! Hold up, we have to figure this out!” Almost irate by this point, I shook my credit card in his face, “I have enough on this card to pay for it. You have to operate! You said he wouldn’t make it without it!” He grabbed my hand, still in his face and said, “You seem so stressed!” I then pointed at my husband and said, “You said he will die! You have to operate!” Finally, he said, “Follow me.” We went down several flights of dingy, narrow stairwells and ended up in the financial office. He told the lady, “I have to be paid. My family needs to eat too.” Then disappeared as I was told to wait in the lobby.
The operation ensued and as I prayed there alone, the phone rang at the desk. “Sheree Baldree” the lady handed me the phone. What? Who knew where I was? “Hello?” It was Jan Aldridge, a Church of God Evangelist and friend. She called to pray with me. That’s my God!
Exhausted, I sat in the corner of a semi-private room with only curtains separating Jerry and a Bahamian man. I heard this man singing, “What a Friend we have in Jesus!” My Mom’s favorite song to sing at her piano. At 9:00 pm a nurse stopped by and told me I would have to sleep in the chair at the end of the hall. At the end of the hall was a window with bars and a chair that looked as if a dog had chewed the arms. I sat down and dozed a few times during the night. I woke as the sun came up. From the window I saw the cruise ship leaving the dock. The ship we should be on. I began to cry, “Lord, if we have ever needed you, we need you now!”
No sooner than the words spilled from my lips, a nurse came walking down the hall singing,
“Take Me to the King!”
I don’t have much to bring
My heart is torn in pieces
It’s my offering
Truth is I’m tired,
Options are few
I’m trying to pray but where are you?
One touch will change my life
Take me to the King
Remember the guys’ ringtone at the beginning of the trip? Yes, “Take me to the King!” It was God speaking loud and clear, “I’m with you daughter!”
Our kids were all at home calling everyone they knew to get someone to us! The Church of God Overseer of the Bahamas and a couple ministers, including Reverend Durant Smith all visited us.
My husband received a blood transfusion and was told we would leave on Saturday. Reverend Durant picked us up and took us to the airport while our son’s boss hired a pilot to fly his airplane to Nassau’s private airport to pick us up and take us to Homerville, a mile from our home.
A few months after being home, Jerry was in the pulpit at our church and a saint of God stood up and pointed her finger at him and said, “Jerry Baldree you are healed! There were many trips to Shands in Gainesville for many tests. It was decided that he needed to be placed on the active kidney transplant list. He had the surgery on his arm to prepare him for dialysis. The surgeon said he should retire because he would be on dialysis within a year to a year and a half. We were seeing the kidney doctor every 2 months and by now his numbers were at 10%. I was getting ready to have all the tests so I could donate my kidney when we began noticing a trend. Each time he went to the doctor the numbers were inching up.
Doctor appointments were now set for every 4 months. After each visit the doctor shakes his head in disbelief! He said, “This shouldn’t have happened you know! This never happens when your numbers are where yours were!” We continue to point him to our healing source! Last summer he said, “You no longer need to be on the active list but the inactive list. Your numbers are at 21%.” Recently, the doctor was told Jerry had had Covid with 17 straight days of high fevers. He could not believe that it had not thrown him into dialysis. Most all his patients with Covid ends up on dialysis. We told him it is only God! “You can be sure of that!” he said. “You are at 23%.”
It has been over 6 years now since our journey began! April 16, 2021 his most recent appointment, he was at 25%! The doctor now believes he will only get better. Jerry has never had dialysis. He pastors New Vision and works hard still. To God be all the Glory! God never leaves us alone. Lonely times come but He is there. Not always in the boisterous waves or the clapping of the thunder, but He remains faithful. Even in a ringtone, a call from a friend, a visit by strangers, a song in the heart, a prayer from a preacher, I love you from your child, a word of prophecy, a way to get home and prayers from all over the world. You are never, ever alone!
Psalm 94:14 NASB
“For the Lord will not abandon His people,
Nor will He forsake His inheritance.”
To those who feel alone, reach way down into the hull of their ship. Wake up the Master! None of our “stuff” or our “dilemmas “catch you off guard. You saw it coming and you already had a way of escape! You will never leave us nor forsake us. We love you Abba Father. Our Daddy.
God is so good to us! I needed this testimony tonight! My heart is heavy but I know God’s got my back!
Thank you so much for sharing this.
GOD can when Man says it can’t be done and we are so Blessed to have you all in our lives. We have a family member who is needing a touch from God and we are TRUSTING and BELIEVING in HIM!!
Love you two so much and I am so THANKFUL Mr Jerry is BETTER !! Huge hugs from Dublin💙💙💙💙
BUT GOD!!!! We serve an awesome God
At every turn, HE was there...Providing for every need and proving His faithfulness!! Mercy, grace and comfort! Hope, healing and restoration!! THAT’S THE GOD WE SERVE AND WORSHIP!!!
Thank you for this beautiful devotion. I was thinking....Somerville. New Vision JD Quinn.....Evangelist Brian Boutwell. My family lived and worked in Ketchikan, Alaska many years ago. Love the Whites and Quinns! And I believe my son, Brian, ministered at your church recently. Thank you for sharing.