Saturday, July 8, 2017
Life hits hard sometimes---and sometimes we are not expecting the hit. We go along with our everyday lives doing what we need to do and trying as best we can to enjoy the life that we have been given. Ah, but then the unexpected happens and we are left wondering "What do I do now?". Such was the case recently for me.
My youngest brother asked me to come home to Ohio to stay with our parents while he made an out of town trip. Mother was not well and he didn't want to go away without leaving someone to look out for her. I made the journey from North Carolina to Ohio to spend a week with my parents and see my other family members. I arrived early in the morning and peeked in on Mother. When she saw me she reached up and gave me the tightest hug ever. Two days later, Mother's health worsened and she was admitted to the hospital with complications from congestive heart failure. After 10 days in the hospital, the last 7 being in an inpatient hospice unit, Mother slipped peacefully away to meet the God that she had served and loved so faithfully.
At her funeral service, I thought my heart would break as I said goodbye to the Mother I had loved so dearly. The days that followed were so difficult without her. I longed for the sound of her voice and to hear her pray just one more time. I stayed for two weeks with my sweet Daddy who so deeply mourned the loss of the love of his life (they were married for 66 years). Saying goodbye to my father was also painful as I knew he would now be in the house alone.
Driving home, I pondered the unexpectedness of life. My mind reviewed life events and how the things that hurt the most were the ones for which I was not prepared. Oh, but on the heels of those meandering thoughts came the realization that those same events were the ones in which God so profoundly proved Himself to be the God of all comfort. No matter how dark was my path, how broken was my heart, how endlessly the tears fell, He comforted me. He held me up and would not let me fall. He kept reminding me that I was loved---that I was His child and He would never leave me or forsake me. I began to marvel at the capacity of God to be an unending source of comfort and love. I am completely humbled by the thought that He would be so mindful of my broken heart and so eager to ease my pain. What a great God we serve!
Mother passed on April 5th. The days have been so lonely without her. I find myself reaching for the phone to call her or almost asking Daddy if I could speak to her when we are on the phone. I think we learn to live without those we love but we never truly get over it. We learn to lean on the Lord just a little harder. We learn to love our family and friends a little deeper. Lastly, we learn that nothing is permanent and life events can be so unexpected. We realize that there is nothing we can take for granted and that every moment must be savored and enjoyed to its fullest.
Pray for me, my friends, that I will remain faithful to the teachings of my Mother and honor her by continuing the legacy that she has left behind. I cannot be her equal but I will follow her example. I know that God will see me through and that He alone is the source of true joy. Life happens with or without God but how much better it is to have His comfort and His promise that He will be the ever present help in time of trouble. We may not know what to expect from life at times, but we can always know what to expect with God--an unfailing, unending source of strength, love, and comfort---even when the unexpected happens.