I observe my reflection in the full-length, oval mirror. I am not dissatisfied. Chocolate has always been my color and this year brown is in. The suit material is soft and smooth, but it has body, so it drapes nicely. The brighter tone of my neck scarf is the only accent I want. I dab a light scent at my throat and wrists and slip my feet into satiny leather pumps.
I have written my speech and rehearsed it 384 times standing in this exact same spot. In spite of this I sense I may not use it after all. If I am to express the gratitude I feel so deeply, the Holy Spirit must come to my rescue.
Eighteen years ago today, Lakeview Baptist Ladies Adult Victory Class made a commitment to a red and squally infant. That was me. While giving birth to her first and only child, my mom, Marybeth Miles, died at age thirty-nine. As her spirit sped to Jesus, a deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism laid waste to her flesh.
I can imagine my Dad, through choking grief and pain, sending up this plea, ďOh, God, what will I do?Ē My motherís untimely passing had lumbered onto her husband a broken heart and a newborn babe. If he and his baby daughter were to eat and keep a roof over their heads, he knew he still had a job to perform. It must have seemed a towering challenge. But after a hurried, late-night meeting twelve ladies that comprised my late motherís Sunday school class emerged with the answer.
ďMarybeth gave so much of herself to our class, Reagan. She taught us scripture, provided sweet counsel, rejoiced with those who rejoiced and wept with those who wept. In the truest sense of the word she was our sister. We want to give something back!Ē
Yes, they were sure. They would help Dad raise me.
On a number of issues the ladies agreed as one. They would nurse me under my own roof when at all possible. They believed this would impart to me a greater sense of security. So that she would be firmly planted in my consciousness, they would speak often of Marybeth and show me pictures of her. For the first year they would refrain from burdening my father with anything they could themselves handle. They would bring me up in the nurture of the Lord. They would try; really try, not to spoil me. I like to think they succeeded with the latter; that they did with the former, my life offers proof.
In any event, the result of their loyalty stands here trembling before her mirror. If thereís a smidge of pride that lurks beneath the surface I pray it is for my surrogate, Sunday school moms. They delight to tell me that although Iím a bit on the serious side - a blonde with a brunette heart, they call me - Iím still a young woman intact who loves the Lord with all her heart. I donít mind the teasing but if they wax too grandiose on my good points Iím apt to blush.
And now I hear the Humvee rumble to life in the garage. Can you imagine a missionís director driving a Humvee? By the way, Dad never remarried. But when I see how he glances at a certain lady I sense all that may soon change.
On the way out I crumple my speech into a ball and toss it. The reason is that I have just experienced an epiphany in the form of a scripture. The passage in Luke 24 - Cleopas and Lucas on the road to Emmaus Ė flares up in my heart, so much like the Lordís words burned in those of His disciples'. When He unveiled the messianic scriptures that afternoon it was still the day of His Resurrection. That would make them His first Sunday school class!
Woo-hoo, Lord! You taught the first ever Victory class! And itís because of my momís Victory class that I am where I am today, on this Resurrection Sunday. Today, Jesus, those precious ladies will stand with me and pray over me, while Dad lowers me into the water. But first, Lord, I will be sure to tell them what you have shown me. Oh, how I wish my Marybeth Mom could be there. But I know she will be watching.
ďIím coming, Dad!Ē
Authorís note: adapted from a true-life story
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