Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day Thoughts 2005

Today is Mother’s Day. I have always felt extremely blessed to have the privilege of being a mother. I have had friends that have never had a babe in their arms. I have heard their longings and deep desires to have children. As I watch them, I think what wonderful, lovely, godly mothers they would be to some sweet child. So, on this day, I feel blessed beyond measure.

Usually, I also feel some sadness. I have known a mother’s betrayal. I have felt the sting of a sorrow to big for me to bear the burden of alone. Yet, though this sorrow will always weigh upon my soul, Jesus has been with me every step of the way. He restores my soul and He has allowed my tears to fill an ocean. But, in this ocean of tears, my Savior has put in new life, love, friends, and family. In His Awesome and tender mercy, He has shown me how to have a deep relationship with His precious Son, and how to realize the joy that there is in life - no matter what befalls us.

I go back in my mind and I choose to think on the good things about my mom. I remember her saving eggshells for me to color on when I was three and four years old. I was always turning them into igloos. She knew that I loved making things, so she would save the cotton from the pill bottles and little trinkets like broken costume jewelry for me to keep in my treasure box of art supplies. I also remember her reading Bible stories to my older sister and me. We would sit in the small extra bedroom, used for a den, in the afternoons while mother sat in an old brown fake leather rocker recliner. She would slowly rock and read us stories of creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah’s ark. My first memories of the lessons of Jesus were learned at her feet. Yes, these are the memories I treasure of her and hold close and dear to my heart.

Life continues and sometimes sorrow come, businesses fail, loved one die. Some people are equipped with the faith to carry on. They march forward believing fully in Hebrews 11. When I was about 8 or 9 my parents stopped attending church. We would go when visiting with my mother’s parents because my papa was an elder in the church. However, due to my hearing the Word at such a young age and the promise of the Word never to return void or empty, I craved church and the fellowship. So, when I was old enough to drive, I took my younger sister and went to church. Hearing this Word at my mother’s knees and trusting as only a child can was her greatest gift to me.

When I was in my late teens, I knew my mother was struggling with her lack of faith. I bought her a brown velvet Bible which she read along with her Bible from her childhood. At age twenty, I left my denomination and became a Baptist. One day after I was married with a young family, I came into the house. My mother was sitting at the kitchen table with a Bible opened up and wet with tears. Slowly I knelt before her, and whispered a question as to her tears. Her face had no peace, no joy, only aguish. As long as I live I will never forget her words.

She spat out, “Debbie, I am glad that you have found a faith. I am glad that you are able to believe that God will keep you. I cannot believe that way. I have searched this old Bible. I have tried to work to keep my salvation but I fail at every turn. So, this day, I have decided if I am going to end up in hell, I am going to have what I want out of life now. I do not care who I hurt or the means that I get. But, I will have some happiness in this life now because I choose this day to no longer serve God.”

She closed her Bible and left the room. Slowly, I lowered myself into a kitchen chair, and reached for my mother’s old Bible. I opened the book to where she had been reading, and felt the pages still wet and warm with her tears. I tried several times after that to speak to her of God and His love for her but she had made her decision on the hot summer afternoon. She would tell me that someday I would see God desert and abandon me as He had her. She told me that my faith would not sustain me.

Thank God, she was wrong.

A few years later, my parents kidnapped my only daughter and oldest son. I thought my world had ended. I prayed to die. Yet, I was surrounded by people of faith and their prayers held me when I had no offerings to give to God. I sang songs to God that I would no longer serve Him or believe in His care. Then those words my mother has said a few years earlier came upon me like a flood. I knew at that moment that I was not going to let her hate destroy my faith.

I found myself flat on the floor with my face buried in the rug and I prayed for six straight hours. At first my prayer was full of bitterness, rage and tears. I would feel totally spent and silence would fall upon the room. During the times of silence, God began to speak to me. He showed me that suffering for His sake was part of our Christian walk. He showered me with thoughts of His love and goodness. My prayer began to change. Fervently I began to pray for my children’s return, for their safety, for their souls. I cried out to God and asked who would teach them of Christ? His answer to me was so soft and gentle. He impressed upon me the memories I had at four and five hearing His Words at my mother’s knees and told me that I had taught them of His Son and His Love, and He promised me that His words never return void and empty. He assured me on that floor that all of my children would know and love Him.

I began to read the Bible with a passion that exceeded my mind’s understanding. I started camping out in Isaiah and Jeremiah. My faith began to grow like a willow tree upon a river’s bank. Christ became so real to me during the next years, that I continuously feel His presence daily in my life. When sleep beckons me, I see my Savior’s loving eyes, watching over me in the night and that has enabled me to believe that the eyes that watch me and guide my life are the same eyes that my lost children have upon them.

These thoughts and remembrances come to me this day.

Now, I think on this life that I live today. I still have lost children and parents. But, God has filled my ocean with good treasures. I gaze at my adopted son and feel so blessed. He is a child with a sweet gift for seeking the joy out of life. His prayers unfold mysteries beyond his years. I look toward my older son. The son my parents rejected and I see a young man whose faith is bigger and brighter than mine will ever be able to attain. I watch him as he has to work so hard to achieve what most folks take for granted. And, I am amazed that God placed this child in my home to raise. I think on friends who have loved me as Jonathan loved David and I am constantly humbled at their goodness to me.

And, then I look at this man that God blessed me with as a husband. I remember the pain that we have lived through in our marriage and I am forever challenged by his great love for me. I went through some very unloving times after the kidnapping but his compassion towards me was always flowing to me like the waves upon the beach. They washed over me as a gentle breeze and held me as a precious jewel. I know the damage that my parents did to his career and calling and yet, this man loves me. I am so thankful more than words could ever express. I also am thankful for the happiness that we have in our marriage for the fertile ground that we have had in our children to plant a deep faith. We are able to sing and laugh not because life is always perfect but because God is perfect and the love He pours out to us is better than the our sweetest desire could ever imagine. We are blessed.

Mothers can be the most wonderful blessing but we must never try to do it alone. We must seek the Father and His love and perfect will for our lives. I want to leave my children with a heritage rich in the power and miracles of God. I want my legacy to say, “This woman loved and cared for her family. She was a sweet friend. However, her best character was her love and faith in Jesus Christ. She knew Him. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and brought the light of Christ to all who walked in her path. Her children all know the Father, and grow like reeds beside the water’s edge. Her faith and prayers were a sweet incense and they shower over her children’s, children’s children to the tenth generation. She is now resting with Christ and worshipping her Lord.”

I want my children to never cry hot tears over me. I want them to remember me and know me as a sinner saved by grace and called to serve her King with joy.

4 comments:

Bonnie said...

Debbie,
How this touches me! I so appreciate you sharing from your heart. Knowing that God is with us through the good times is one thing, but knowing that He is with us when we pray for the earth to open and swallow us up into darkness is another. He is there when we are in our 'Sunday best', but He becomes the 'friend Who sticks closer than a brother' when we are at our very worst--wallowing in hate, self-pity, bitterness--all those things that He has already borne on the cross for us. What a great, big, powerful God He is!
I love ya, sister!
Bonnie

Anonymous said...

Debbie..
this is beautiful. Your testimony is a powerful example of living the life of faith.
blessing to you and your sweet sons and husband.
marky

amy layfield said...

You are a blessing to all those around you. Thank you for your testimony. I am so thankful that God has sustained you and kept you faithful... You have definitly been a support for me. I pray that God continue to bless you in all of your endevors. ((((HUGS)))

Shenandoah said...

I know it's awful late coming into this...but it moved me so...my heart hurts for you Debbie...but I know you are a woman of faith, grace and love for fellow men/women..I'm so glad you didn't give up...you are pressing on..knowing that Christ is your Master....you go girl.

Shen