Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)
TITLE: Mother's Joyful Noise
By Mary Lisa
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My mother told me the story of my brother’s birth, two years after mine to the day. She said she passed out briefly after he was born and was awakened to the sound of the most beautiful music she had ever heard. It was the soothing soft melody of golden harps playing sweetly in unison. At that same moment, she inhaled the rich aroma of the most fragrant flowers she had ever known and watched a vibrant field of floral colors sway in a gentle breeze as she listened contently to the glorious strumming of the harps. Her experience only lasted for seconds but its memory stayed with her for a lifetime.
She told us, her children, she would never fear death because she had witnessed heaven first-hand and knew it was a glorious place. She had heard its music and seen its flowers. After that, nothing in this life could offer more.
As a teenager, she had wanted to be a school teacher but gave up that dream her junior year of high school to work the farm in Kansas when her father became too ill to do the work alone. She drove tractors and worked hard in the field beside her father. Years later, I sat with her in the doctor’s office while she had small cancers removed from her nose and face, the result of years of farm work and sun exposure.
Her desire to be a teacher was always present and she found a way to satisfy that part of her as a Sunday school teacher for over 30 years. She also taught her children from the Bible at home. We heard the Bible stories and learned the memory verses that she gave us each week, testing us to make sure we had the scriptures memorized. She taught by telling great stories and made the Bible characters come to life using little clothespin people she created in costumes for our amusement.
She did not have much by this world’s standards and did not need much. She lived in gratitude and her focus was on eternal life. She spent her time teaching her three children about God’s way and sending us out into the world strong in character and faith. She set our example and prayed over us continually.
My mother enjoyed singing in church but was not blessed with the ability to carry a tune. If you heard my mother sing, you would want to cover your ears. The sounds were almost painful and far from melodious. As a young girl, I often heard my mother sing “The Old Rugged Cross” or “In the Garden” amazingly off-key. Those were her two favorite hymns and she knew all the words to all the verses. Church members were accustomed to her but newcomers sometimes stared when she belted out a hymn. She just nodded a sweet greeting and kept singing loudly, oblivious to the questionable notes she was producing. She was in her own world with God and making her own joyful noise to the Lord. I, standing beside her, had to grin as I prayed that her earthly song transformed into music at God’s ears somewhere along the way to heaven. Who could fault her for so joyfully praising her God? By the expression evident on her face as she sang, God was blessing her for her effort.
When she died suddenly in her late 60s, we mourned our loss but believed that she was happy in her new home. God allowed us to learn so much from this mother and, when she died, He allowed us a brief glimpse of our mother’s new life in heaven. She was no longer gray haired but had the vibrant shiny black hair of her youth. Her green eyes sparkled, no longer hidden behind the thick glasses she had worn after cataract surgery. She had beautiful straight teeth that no longer clicked as ill-fitting dentures when she talked. She seemed unaware of our presence and sat contently in a sunny heavenly garden. She was busy telling Bible stories to a group of small children who eagerly gathered around her. We did not get to stay and hear her sing this time but I imagine that her joyful songs are now as harmonious and sweet as the music she heard coming from heaven that first time so long ago.
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