I like to tell people that my husband, Wendell, and I came to Heartland after the grass but before the trees. The community was only seven years old when we arrived in 2002. Wendell is a family physician, and he soon opened a medical clinic for Heartland and the surrounding region. I was privileged to serve as a secretary to Pastor Charlie.
We hadn’t been here long when a dormant addiction reared its ugly head in Wendell’s life. We found out pretty quickly that we had come to Heartland to receive more help than we would ever give. We were embraced, challenged, covered, and cared-for as we fought our way through that difficult season of life. Eventually, we found our way to health with the help of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Heartland is a unique town. Wendell and I were deeply blessed by the people and the mission. But some folks in neighboring towns worried about what was going on out here in the cornfield. They worried about the constant building projects and the influx of people. Families were moving to Heartland from all across the country and even from other nations. We were just a strange bunch!
Since I’m also a freelance writer, my friend Anna of Scribbles & Scribes came up with a great idea. “Let’s do a weekly news column for the county paper. You could write about what’s happening in Heartland and let people see how normal we really are.”
Heartland Happenings has been a staple in the Shelby County Herald for about eight years now. I think the column helps people realize our struggles aren’t much different than theirs. And our celebrations are pretty much the same, too. We grieve at the death of loved ones, and we pray for rain in a dry spell. We celebrate the birthdays of toddlers and blue ribbons at 4-H fairs. We give glory to God for His mercies, which are new every morning. And we look out for one another when mercy feels far away.
Today, I work as an office manager and receptionist in Wendell’s medical clinic, and I continue to write articles, essays, and stories for various publications. Recently, someone stopped me in line somewhere and said, “You know, my husband never goes to church. But, he does two things. He watches Charlie preach on television twice every Sunday. And he reads your column in the paper. I just wanted to tell you that, because sometimes you never know when you are making a difference.”
She is right. Sometimes you never know.