I received a message in my business page inbox from a Lisa Hammill over two years ago. I didn’t know her or anything about her church. And I reached out to a mutual friend to see if she was legit. 🙂 She had heard us sing in a Facebook video and asked me to come speak at her ladies’ meeting. It was my first one and I was terrified, but God knows who we need to cross paths with. There are certain defining moments that happen in your life. The Sunday after the ladies’ meeting was one of those times. God had us exactly where we needed to be and let us hear exactly what we needed to hear. God knit our hearts together because He knew we desperately needed these precious friends. Only Heaven will tell the impact. I know you are crazy busy, Mrs. Lisa; mostly just crazy lol, but thank you so much for writing this post. I know it will help many.
Thank you for your faithfulness in serving our Savior.
As I sat on the edge of my mama’s bed, I watched the sun peek over the hills. I thought to myself, “How selfish of the sun to rise as usual, like nothing has happened.” I love to watch the sun rise. There’s something so new and fresh about watching the beginning of a new day. However, this day was not an ordinary day. Just hours before, I had received the news that both my parents had passed, just hours apart. My mom was believed to have passed suddenly from a massive heart attack. My stepdad, upon finding her unresponsive began CPR, only putting himself into cardiac arrest, resulting in his death as well. As I looked out that window, completely lost, the Lord spoke to my heart, reminding me that “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” This morning was no different. Well… actually it was. Not only were his mercies new, He was cooking up a healthy batch of grace just for me. This grace would prove to be more than sufficient in the coming days, allowing us to grieve and mourn with a thankful heart, searching for a lesson to be learned in our hardship. I referred to Isaiah 45:3 very often, reminding myself that there were “treasures of darkness, and hidden riches in secret places” given by God… for ME!
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.Isaiah 45:3
My parents were hard-working, wonderful people who ran businesses until the day they passed. They worked hard for the nice things they had and were always willing to help others in need, showing God’s love to others often. They opened their hearts and home to a baby boy in foster care when I was 14 and later adopted my brother David. David came with some disabilities that weren’t as noticeable when he was young, but as an adult, they prevent him from living and functioning independently. At the realization of the responsibilities that had been dealt to my sister and I, we were forced to make quick, important decisions. She took over the businesses, and my family moved in to take care of my brother. What a blessing it was that my husband, Nathan, was pastoring full-time and could help with this major, life-changing decision for our family. If I’m completely transparent, I did not want the responsibility of being David’s caretaker. I was happy with our life the way it was. I don’t like change. Nathan stepped in and said we would commit to one year and if it didn’t work out, we would examine other options. By the grace of God, almost five years later, we couldn’t imagine our family without him. With the Lord’s help, we will continue to care for him as long as we are able. I am so grateful to my 3 children who have handled this change so willingly and try to make his life happier with their love and humor. Also, I can’t express how welcoming our church family has been to him, making him feel loved and special.
So, back to that grace I mentioned earlier. The days following that sunrise would prove to be difficult to say the least. Being in the ministry for many years, I knew I wanted to serve my family in the same facet as I had to many other families in the death of their loved ones… in song. Seated before two caskets that held my loving parents on that cold November afternoon, I looked to my right seeing my sister broken. To my left I saw my precious grandparents, distraught at the loss of their middle daughter. At that moment, realizing I was tearless and composed I leaned to my husband and said, “This is what grace feels like.”
This grace had frequented our family before: early miscarriages of three precious babies, the deaths of my father-in-law and brother-in-law. For me, this was different. I had never experienced the manifestation of grace quite like this. As the preacher nodded to me, I stood with two friends and sang these words:
Since that day, God has continually extended grace and has helped us, time and time again. Waves of grief still take my breath at times. How I long for another phone call… a hug… advice. Holidays are bittersweet. Birthdays just aren’t the same without that early morning serenade over the phone. However, the greatest gift they ever gave me was the gift of knowing their eternity was secure. They left no doubt in the minds of those they left behind. That proved to be a great source of comfort to all of us.
Dear friend, the Lord is so good to His children. Lost or saved, we will encounter hardship. The difference is the Comforter is present to the child of God. So present, in fact you could reach out and almost touch Him! He has given all for us. No matter the season, sorrow, or suffering, He is still worthy of a thankful heart, searching for a lesson to be learned. If you are hurting today, don’t waste your pain. Search for those “treasures of darkness”. Cling to His Word. Stay faithful. It will be worth it all…
Below is a song that a friend of Mrs. Lisa’s wrote about this situation after her husband told him what she’d said. Written by Josh Smith
Lisa Hammill, wife of Pastor Nathan Hammill of Open Door Baptist Church, Richfield, NC celebrated her 21st wedding anniversary last month. The Lord has blessed her with three children: sons Patrick and Colson, and daughter Jessie. Her brother, David also lives with them as they provide full-time care for his special needs. They have faithfully served in the ministry in some form for their entire marriage. They have been blessed to serve at Open Door for the last 12 years and plan to stay as long as the Lord allows.