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DECEMBER 2004
ISSUE HOMEPAGE

A Breath of Fresh Air
A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
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Acting Up
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
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Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
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'Tis the Season
The Joy of Family
The Rhythm of Life
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PatienceA Star Named Hilda
By Darlene Hight

This month I’m thinking about stars. When the wise men were looking for Jesus, they followed the star. It wasn’t just any star. It was a star that illuminated the sky like none they’d ever seen. These were highly educated men; scholars who spent time studying the heavens. Therefore, they must have found something different about this particular star. In some way, it shone brighter than all of the rest.

I have a friend who is a little like that shining star. She shines brighter than many Christians do. Not that she is the only Christian to illuminate my life, but her example is significant and it still guides me today. My friend, Hilda, is a bright and shining star to me.

I first met Hilda at our little prayer group. Each week our church got together on Wednesday nights for a prayer meeting. We were small in numbers and, if truth were told. our prayers were small as well. The prayers that were offered up each week tended to be rote and self-centered. Many times, I left prayer meeting feeling worse than before I went – that is, until Hilda.

I fell in love with Hilda, instantly. Hilda is a beautiful Welsh saint in her mid-nineties. She stands less than five foot tall. Her shoulders curve slightly due to osteoporosis but her spirit stands tall. Her quick wit and sweet temperament draw people to her like a warm fire.

The first night Hilda sat in on our little prayer circle, she felt like a friend. She listened attentively and asked for more detail on each prayer request shared. Immediately, I sensed that she would be praying not only that night but also at home. Her interest was sincere, with not a hint of hypocrisy.

If I had any doubts about this mighty prayer warrior, they vanished like the morning fog as soon as she began to pray. I can still hear her sweet Welsh voice and with it I am transported once again into the throne room of God. When I heard Hilda pray, I felt as if I was standing on hallowed ground. I found myself listening in on the most intimate conversation that I have ever experienced. This was a woman who knew where her strength came from. As I listened to my friend talk to her God, I asked God to help me to pray like that. I didn’t want to imitate her prayers. I wanted the intimacy that she shared with God.

Hilda touched my life in so many ways. We attended the same church for a little over two years before my husband and I moved out of state. During that time we shared many wonderful experiences together.

Hilda didn’t drive. I’m sure that at one time she had because she is spunky like that. But at ninety-plus years, with one eye damaged from failed laser surgery, Hilda could no longer drive. For me it was a privilege and an honor to drive Hilda wherever she needed to go. Just to be near this sweet woman was a pleasure.

Each week, I would pick her up for a combination knitters/discipleship group. I was just learning to knit, while Hilda was a seasoned knitter. She also knew how to tat, crochet and you name it. She often brought a devotional article to share with the group. Through this experience, I learned much about Hilda.

Hilda first came to the United States for a better life and education. Her family sent first her older sister and then her to this country. She lived with her sister and her brother-in-law until her sister died at a young age. Hilda, eventually, married her brother-in-law and they went on to have a family and a good life.

I have often pondered how difficult that must have been for her. She was, after all a young girl, barely a woman. She was in a strange country, far away from family, with the exception of one sister who she adored, and that sister died leaving only her brother-in-law.

God makes everything new. Hilda never spoke of her marriage as one of convenience. She loved her husband and grieved terribly when he died. He lived a long life and they had many years together. She just missed him. Many nights Hilda had such pain in her back that she was unable to sleep. I purchased a book for her titled ‘Night time devotions’. Knowing Hilda, this was a spiritually productive time for her, so the book seemed to fit.

From Hilda, I learned what having ‘Joy in the Lord’ looks like. Wherever she went, she was the life of the party. One night at our knitting group, one of the ladies brought a zip lock bag filled with different size knitting needles and crochet hooks. As she laid them on the table, she said, " Here ladies. I brought these for you. Take whatever you need."

Before any of us had a chance to see what she had brought, Hilda scooped up the whole bag and deposited it in her purse. Laughter erupted instantly because that was typical joy-filled Hilda!

Last I heard, Hilda is in a nursing home. She doesn’t recognize people when they come to visit. But I know one thing with certainty, when Jesus comes for Hilda she will absolutely recognize His face and it will be filled with joy!
Darlene Hight is a writer who lives with her husband, Mark, in southern Ohio. She, often, can be found stargazing in her backyard. It really is just an excuse to reminisce and ponder her many blessings. You can contact Darlene via the "Your Letters" page of this magazine.
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