Greg and Kaye – Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

Greg and Kaye

gregWhen a jeweler brings out his best diamonds, he displays them on the darkest velvet. When God decides to reveal Himself to the world, He shines brightest through the darkest of human circumstances. In November of 1983 one of God’s brightest diamonds was three year old Andi Leigh Allen. The dark backdrop was cancer, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. God’s Glory shone brightly as it reflected from this precious diamond. Displayed against a background of pain and anguish rays of our heavenly fathers’ love, and of faith, hope and trust in Him glistened and reflected from Andi and her parents.

In Exodus chapters three and four God did not rebuke Moses for questioning Him, but He did rebuke him for not trusting Him. God desires that we have faith even when we cannot understand His actions. God also provides examples of faith in order that we can learn the great secret of life. I will forever be grateful to Greg and Kaye Allen for being an example of faith and for teaching the great secret to those of us who were observing. It is the same great secret spoken of in Hannah Whittal Smith’s book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. That secret is GOD IS LOVE. Not just that He loves us but that He IS Love and that because He is love He wants only the very best for us, therefore we can trust Him.

With Kaye’s permission, I am going to share with you excerpts from the Glimpses of Glory that were seen in their lives and that she recorded in Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Life I Learned From My Dying Child.

The Beginning

Greg and I met and married in 1977 and shortly after found ourselves surrounded by a group of believers who loved the Lord and loved me. For the first time, I began to learn principles of faith, that God was faithful to His promises and wanted to be a part of every area of my life. Manley Beasley preached a revival at that church during our first year. He preached on faith and set forth a challenge to take God at His word and live by faith. I remember going forward after one service, taking him by the hand, and saying “Brother Manley, I want to live by faith!” I had no idea what that meant at that time…

andiAndi Leigh Allen

Andi Leigh made her appearance into this world July 27, 1981, two and a half years after her big sister Brooke, and two and a half years before her little brother Justin…….Every child has a distinguishing characteristic, and Andi was the funny one in our family. How she made us laugh…..

Andi always had something to share with us. One Sunday, on the way home from church we were informed that, “My teacher says, if I don’t get the Old Testament in my Bible by next Sunday, I’m going to be in Big Trouble!”

….another Sunday after a difficult episode in church, Brooke was on her way home to unpleasant consequences, when Andi’s squeaky voice came to us from the back seat of the car, “The Bible says, Thou shalt not spank one another!”

In November of 1983, our family consisted of Brooke, our oldest at age five, Andi Leigh, age three and Justin, the baby of the family, was not quite a year old. Up to that point life had been relatively simple. Living by faith was no more to me than a concept. We didn’t really need to rely on God for anything. Life was good.

During the fall of that year, Andi became ill. One thing led to another and in a matter of days we found ourselves at Texas Children’s Hospital where we found that she had leukemia.

Two days after we learned of Andi’s illness, we received a telephone call from our doctor in Nacogdoches, informing us that he had Justin in the emergency room and was admitting him to the hospital for treatment for pneumonia. Suddenly, I was dealing with two seriously ill children in hospitals two hundred miles apart. Life had rapidly progressed to the critically out of control level.

The day Justin went into the hospital, Andi was in the midst of what we later discovered to be a serious allergic reaction to penicillin and was running a fever that at one time reached 107 degrees. At the same time her blood platelet count had dropped to such a level that she began spontaneously bleeding from her nose and mouth….Justin spent ten days in the hospital. By the time we saw him again, he had no sign of having ever been ill. Andi’s fever fell to normal within hours of ceasing the penicillin and was able to begin her first round of chemotherapy.


Greg and I found ourselves out in the deep water of faith very quickly. Like many in the same situation, our first response was “Why us?” “Why Andi?” We read our Bibles, prayed, went to church – what did we do to deserve this? Sweet little Andi Leigh surely was innocent. Why Her? Why did she have to suffer?

This was not fair, but it was the beginning of what would come to be the greatest learning experience of my life. Andi never understood her disease, her treatment, or why she had to hurt when she had been good. Yet, her lack of understanding never stopped her from trusting Greg and me or from submitting to what we assured her was for her ultimate good. Andi Leigh faced life’s contradictions with courage and ultimately won the greatest victory of all. Through Andi’s example, I learned that this victory is also within my grasp. You see, everything I ever needed to know about living I learned from my dying child.

Everything in Life that hurts is Not a Spanking

Andi was three years old when we learned she had leukemia. Up to this point her life consisted of a set pattern of rules: if you are good, everything goes well with you, everything is cold milk and warm cookies. Unpleasant circumstances come as a result of being ‘bad’, being disobedient. Reward/punishment patterns are established from birth. The average three year old often only experiences pain as a result of discipline. Yet, for Andi Leigh, this is a new situation. Hurtful, bad things were happening, and she had done nothing wrong.

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

In the Christian life, two basic reasons can account for the hurtful things in life. Correction is one of them. If my child wants to do what may be harmful to her, my child must be corrected – for her well being, and because I love her.

God has set up certain principles that are for our good, for our safety and when we go beyond those boundaries He corrects us because He loves us. Correction is proof that we are God’s children. Because I am His child, He has the right and responsibility to discipline me. (Hebrews 12:5-8) If we become bent on running in the wrong direction, God may have to introduce circumstances into our lives that stop us, change our direction and get us back on the right path.

Spiritual Growth

The second reason that difficult circumstances come into our lives is for spiritual growth, to make us more than we are. Spiritual growth and physical growth occur in similar fashion. An athlete becomes strong by endurance. A believer becomes strong by endurance. Because we never truly learn to trust God until we have to, He arranges the circumstances in our lives to see that we have to. Correction is about you. Correction is God’s response to my disobedience. Spiritual growth is about God. It is His response to my potential

Why Me?

The natural reaction to any crisis situation is to ask, “Why? Why me? What have I done to deserve this?” This is a natural response, born from years of conditioning. It was the natural reaction for Andi, at three years old. I think she could have understood the concept of getting a shot if she was sick, but she didn’t feel sick. All of a sudden, all manner of horrible, painful things were happening to her, and she hadn’t been bad!

You see, Andi’s situaton was not about her. It was not about correction. She would cry and tell me, “No, mama, No! I’ll be good! I’ll be good! Just take me home, I’ll be good!”

Every painful situation that comes into your life is not about correction. There are times when God allows a situation to come into your life to teach you to trust Him, to show you things about Himself that you can only learn in the hard times.

It is often said that God will never allow anything to come upon us that we are unable to bear. This is untrue. God will never allow anything to come upon us that He cannot bear. During the times when we have come to the end of our own strength and our own resources, we find the riches of His strength, and His resources. We seldom get there by our own choice but rather through divine intervention. Be glad!

Know this, there is a legitimate place in the Christian life where it hurts, and you have been good. There is a place where you have done everything you know to do, you have followed the Lord in every way you know how, and you find yourself in a situation that is painful.

God Is In Control

During our first week in the hospital, we were given a protocol, a treatment plan for Andi that we would follow for the next one hundred fifty-six weeks. This was the best, proven treatment to date for the treatment of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Every step in Andi’s treatment, every stick, every drug was given at a particular time, in a particular amount, to achieve a particular purpose. Andi’s doctors knew all the possible side effects. They knew the limits to which her little body could be exposed. Her treatment was in very capable hands. Although I didn’t understand exactly the reasoning behind the protocol, I knew that everything was according to a plan and had a purpose. I couldn’t imagine “just letting things happen” to my child. I love my children. They did nothing to Andi Leigh without our permission. Not only would Greg and I never allow anything to happen to her that was not for her ultimate good, we were willing for her to endure any pain necessary for her survival. Do we really believe any less of God?

Andi’s Song

Sweet little baby,
Child of my heart.
So much has happened.
Where can I start?
The pain you must live with,
All that must be,
The doctors, the needles,
A disease you can’t see.
My sweet little baby,
I wish you could see,
The danger that threatens
And why this must be.
A sickness so evil, You can’t comprehend.
So I ask you to trust me
That this, too, shall end.
Sometimes I ask Jesus
Why can’t it be me?
And there, in the silence
His words come to me.
My sweet little baby,
Child of my heart,
All that has happened
I’ve known from the start.
Pain always seems senseless
When you can’t understand.
So, I ask you to trust me,
Hold on to My hand.
The dangers that threaten
Always will be.
Before every dawning,
The darkness must be.
Take my hand, Lord, and lead me.
My trust is in Thee.
I’ll ask no more of my Father
Than my child asks of me.
When the days become endless
And the nights are so long,
May your presence be our Fortress
And Faith in Jesus, Andi’s Song.

If you don’t learn anything else from the example of Andi’s life, learn these two life-changing truths. There is nothing in this life that you can do, from which God is not able to take you and plunge you into the big vat of His righteousness and make you completely forgiven. Also, know that your Father loves you and He can be trusted. He has a wonderful plan for your life.

Greg is currently the pastor of a growing church in Writewright, Texas.  He  holds a doctorate of Ministry from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Kaye is a diagnostician in the Sherman, Texas Independent School District.  Greg and Kaye are both anointed speakers. We recommend them to you for your next conference, seminar or retreat. You’ll not be the same after hearing the truths God has so painstakingly taught them.