Anna Y Colom Serrano 
Born March 1, 1985
Born Again July 1993
Received into Glory May 30, 1997

May 30,  1998

"...because I live, you shall live also." (John 14:19)

We miss Anna so very, very much and, while this pain is not lessened by time, the Blessed Hope shines every day brighter in our hearts.  We thank God for allowing us to share Anna, the sweetness of her spirit and her love for Jesus the time we did.  We thank Him for His abundant grace, infinite goodness and boundless mercy in ALL things but specially in how He swiftly and gently took her unto Himself.  We thank Him for the many that stood and still stand by our side with words of comfort and acts of kindness.  We thank Him for those special warriors at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital PICU and all those who did their best.  You did not fail.  We know the Lord did allow the best to happen.  We thank our almighty God that by His grace, Anna knew Him, loved Him and served Him and, by the power of His precious, redeeming Blood, now waits for us, who also know Jesus as our Saviour, in the presence of His glorious majesty.  We pray daily that those whose lives Anna's touched might also accept God's gift through His Son and not choose eternal death but everlasting life.

May, 30 1999

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." 
(Philippians 1:21)

At around seven on that Friday morning, May 30, 1997, a doctor placed his hand gently on my shoulder to indicate that Anna's brave, generous, loving 12 yr. old heart had tired of beating.  Somehow, however, I knew that our heavenly Father had taken here home that Wednesday evening shortly after we had prayed and, as always before bedtime, professed our love for Jesus and each other.  "First, Jesus, Mommy..."  It was always "first Jesus", even this night as she was rolled down the hospital corridor.  It was the last time we saw her sparkling eyes and beaming smile.  "Say good-bye to the church for me," she called out as she waved, "and tell them I'm sorry I can't be there tonight."  What a comfort it was then, and more so now, to know that Jesus was first in Anna's life!  Because of this, even in our deepest, most overwhelming sorrow, we rejoice, for we have God's promise that we will see her smile, hear her voice and share her sweet spirit again and forevermore.

"Dear heavenly Father, thank You, thank You, thank You for your grace and your mercy.  thank You for allowing us to know You and love You.  Thank You for Jesus and His finished work on the Cross of Calvary.  Thank You for His glorious resurrection.  Thank You for His victory over Satan, sin and death.  Thank You for Your assurance of forgiveness and eternal life to those that believe on His Name.  Oh, Lord, there are many names on this page today and so many broken, grieving souls reading them.  We pray, dear Lord, that You would place Your loving arms around these and allow Your Holy Spirit to fill their hearts.  That they too might believe and, even in the midst of this indescribable pain, know your comfort and peace."

May 30, 2000

"...I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2,3)

It is a time of thanksgiving.  While Anna was with us, it was a time of thanksgiving.  Now that she has gone Home before us, it is a time of thanksgiving.  It has always been a time of thanksgiving.  We never cease to give thanks to our Lord for the wonderful people He has placed and continues to place around us. We thank Him for their presence, their prayers, their smiles, their tears, their encouragement, and yes, even their gentle reproaches.  We thank Him most of all for those who have shared Anna's and our love for Jesus.  We are especially thankful to our Saviour because we know Anna is in Heaven.  And, oh, how very grateful we are that we are sure we will join her when our Lord calls us Home!  God's Word gives us this assurance.

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:11-13)

"Abba, Father, thank You for Jesus!  Thank You for the precious. atoning Blood of the Lamb.  Thank You for allowing us to know You!"

It is a time of thanksgiving. 
It has always been a time of thanksgiving.

May 30,  2001

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)

Do you weep? Do you grieve? Do you mourn? Do you hurt? Do you do so in despair or in hope?  There is a vast difference.  Hope is the grace that shows me how to rejoice in the prospect of promised glory.  Hope sits beside me and lifts up my eyes.  Because of Jesus Christ, I have hope.  Because of her new birth, Anna is in Heaven; because of my new birth, so will I be.  Because of my new birth, I can see the kingdom of God and I can grieve in hope; through tears I can offer the sacrifice of praise.  Ifs and buts are murderers of peace and comfort, but"I know that my Redeemer liveth." (Job19:25); I know that both Anna and I have  eternal life because"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. . ."(John 3:36).Jesus is offering  to take your heavy burden of despair in exchange for His easy yoke of hope.  Bury your face in Him now and cry out to Him and weep in His arms.  He knows, He cares, He also wept.

May 30, 2002

"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth
us to triumph in Christ. . ." 

Anna  asked Jesus into her heart  in July of 1993 at the tender age of 8 and grew in His knowledge and grace.   At the age of 12, Anna was taken from this world by a merciful God Who did not allow her to suffer too greatly with the cancer that devastated her whole body.  We have  not lost, Anna, however, we know exactly where she is. While we greatly mourn and grieve her departure, we rejoice and thank the Lord daily for allowing Anna to know Him  as her personal Saviour. As we look at the obituaries of our daily newspapers  and see so many names of children, we cannot help but  think of the parents, their pain, their helplessness, their  despair.  Rest assured that your little one is in Heaven and should you not have the assurance that your beloved now dwells with Christ, let this unknown bring you to unconditionally trust in the infinite wisdom and mercy of God.  We pray that His Peace, His Comfort and His  Promises might be very, very real to you.


May 30,  2003

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth and that though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." 
(Job 19:25,26)

We sorrow not as others do,
Whose hopes fade like the flowers.
There is a hope that's born of God
And such a hope is ours

May 30,  2004

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. . .."  (Psalm 23.4)

By our Lord's grace and mercy, Anna now walks in His Light. But, yes, that's where we must walk. . .in this valley shadowed with death.  I gaze at the tiny, tiny seedling we planted over seven years ago.  I told Anna it would grow and blossom just like her.  It hasn't.  It has withered and died with this intense heat and lack of rain.  But Anna is flourishing in Heaven where she will never thirst, where there is a river of life.  I lovingly tend to the beloved pets she had to leave behind.  They are getting very old.  I tell them how much we love them, she loves them and, most of all, God loves them.  I kiss the furry heads her little hands once tenderly touched.  I pray our Lord has a special place for them close to her.  I look from the garden into the window from where she would burst into smiles and waves when she saw me approaching the walk.    Is it the window that has gotten so hazy or is it my tears?  So I hose down the window and my tears clean my heart.  I hear the clock chime 2 p.m. and the phone ring and I can almost hear her voice, "Hi, Mommy!  I just called to say I love you and miss you."  But, of course, it's not her but a client demanding attention.  I remember Anna's kindness and the cutting edge of my pain rubs away.  I just received the class of 2004 picture.  Her best friend made sure I got it.  She hasn't forgotten.  Strange, everyone else has. . .This fact strengthens me.  It causes, encourages, almost pushes  me to reach out with compassion to others who carry this heaviest of burdens; that they may know Jesus loves them and their pain is not forgotten.  Yes, I walk in this valley shadowed with death, but  I fear no evil.  I walk towards the Light ; I point others to the Light.

God, give us wings to rise above the clouds
of trial that block the sun;
to soar above gray skies and see
the love and goodness of your Son.


May 30, 2005

"Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strenghten thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)

 I remember Anna's hands.  As a baby she would curl them tight around tendrils of my long hair as she nursed.  As a small child her hands were everywhere, getting slapped often for being where they ought not; chubby little hands leaving a trail of sticky memories.  I never did paint over some of them.  I'm so glad I didn't.  As a school aged child she would draw them, finger paint them and use them to decorate almost everything from hearts at Valentine's to turkeys at Thanksgiving.  I saved them all.  As she got older, her hands became such a beautiful extension of her gentle, compassionate nature.  She would wave them from her window every morning as I left for work and enthusiastically grab me when I came home. She would reverently fold them when she wasn't holding my own in prayer; she would use them so caringly to tend to all her little pets and every night she would soothe my brow with those soft, cool hands and let me know how much she loved me.  As she was wheeled into the operating room from where she would never regain conciousness, with wisdom so beyond her years, she waved her hand and sweetly whispered "Goodbye, Mommy".  Then there is the last imprint I have of her hand; the one taken at her death; swollen and distorted lines of black on stark white.  It lays in her memory box with a lock of her silky hair.

I'm reminded of another Hand; the Hand of our sovereign God "In whose hand is the soul of every loving thing and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10); the Hand of our almighty God for "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly." (Psalm 118:16); the Hand of our merciful and compassionate God who ". . .openest thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." (Psalm 145:16); the nail-scarred Hand of a God who heals and lifts up the weak and brokenhearted and protects and saves because "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me." (Psalm 138:7) and He has promised, "Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strenghten thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)

"Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for your sovereign, almighty, merciful, compassionate, guiding and saving hand upon our lives.  I am sure it has been and continues to be as much a comfort for others as it has been and is for me.  And, Lord, I believe this my prayer is echoed by many of grieving parents every day.  Lord, you know I would not ask for her back even if I could but Lord, I miss her so very much.  In my dreams, could you let me hear her small, gentle voice telling me I'm "her favorite Mommy" and smell her sweet scent and smooth her long, silky hair and feel her slender arms about me and share her love for  you?  And Lord, please, please could you, for even just a moment,  let me feel her hands again? 

May 30, 2006

Forever Grateful for the Cross

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:14,15)

The waiting room in the PICU of Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital quickly began to fill that Wednesday night, May 28, 1997.  It was the very first time Anna had ever missed service and our whole church family, shocked by the news, started to trickle in after service was over. These were followed by equally shaken neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members, young and old,  who came from near and afar. More and more chairs were brought in; coffee and juice was passed around and for the next 34 hours George and I were silently embraced by a roomful of people whose tears mingled with ours in liquid prayers.  The collective grief in that room was so intense you could almost see it billowing towards Heaven and, had it not been for our Lord's amazing grace, would have bordered on despair.  Holding each other tight, so frightened, so confused, not understanding the why of this heartbreak, we, sustained solely by our Lord's everlasting arms, all praised and thanked our God asking for His strength and mercy and, crushed by the weight of such great a burden, trusted and leaned on Him.  The hospital staff and other bystanders peered curiously into the waiting room, perhaps waiting for the outbursts of pain and anguished wails which never came; very often actually asking why we still trusted this God of ours.  We would, and still do,  sadly but confidently smile and say "This is the way of the Cross. . ."

A much longer time ago a crowd gathered at the foot of this Cross.  Upon it was nailed a young Man, left there to die a painful horrible death for crimes He did not commit.  Many bystanders also peered curiously at the small group surrounding the young Man's mother.  Their vigil, like ours, bordered on despair.  They also were shocked, confused and frightened.  Their grief also billowed towards Heaven and clouded the sky.  All this pain, all this fear, all this confusion was laid to rest, however, when our Lord Jesus triumphantly rose from the grave that glorious Resurrection Day as He had foretold and promised.

We again and again thank our almighty God that by His grace, Anna knew Him, loved Him and served Him and, by the power of His precious, redeeming Blood, now waits for us, who also know Jesus as our Saviour, in the presence of His glorious majesty.

Oh, what precious peace our Lord brings! My brightest hours have been during the darkest days; the warmest thoughts have been during the coldest dreads. Praise, praise God Who has touched our sorrow with His blessed hope! May this hope be yours.

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