Mom sank deep into the cushions of the secondhand armchair by the front window and sighed half-aloud into the silence of the late night, “This sure has been an upside down day.” Her eyes traveled through the window to the thickening snow that glowed against the tall spotlight as it journeyed to the ground already covered with 15 inches of icy whiteness. A shiver traveled through her, as she reached for the opened Bible on end table. Removing and laying aside the newspaper clipping that marked her place, she scanned the scripture in the dim lamplight: “And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night, and took nothing!” . . . [Luke 5:5a NIV Bible]
Like the fisherman Simon Peter, casting his nets all night into Lake Gennesaret and returning the following morning to the water’s edge with empty nets, Mom had nothing to show for her day’s labor. In the corners of her mind, she could see the fatigued Simon Peter who, weary from not achieving what he set out to do, gather in his nets and begin the day’s final task of washing his nets and preparing them for another day.
With Dad having driven the family’s only car to attend a work seminar out of town, Mom was snowbound with a vivacious seven-year-old and her four-year-old twin sisters - all sick with runny noses, wheezing coughs, ear and tummy aches. Outside temperatures were below the freezing mark, and a phone call to the oil company to request the filling of an almost empty fuel tank offered no promise of fuel until the following week. Each time she stoked the fire, Mom offered a prayer of thanks to God for the neighbors who tramped through the snow and ice with armloads of firewood and who turned off the water leading to the house when the extreme cold caused a water pipe to burst.
After adding three large logs to the fire, scooping the ashes into the iron bucket that sat on the hearth and replacing its lid, she knelt beside her three little girls who snuggled close to each other – sound asleep in the makeshift bed on the floor next to the fireplace. “Thank God for a baby’s sleep,” she whispered, as she tucked the covers around them.
Mom lifted her exhausted body from the floor and briefly scanned the sink filled with dirty dishes, the laundry basket overflowing with soiled clothes, and the array of children’s books, crayons, and drawing paper, scattered throughout the room. She then dismissed the mess and the disarray that she saw. Shaking her head, she sighed softly to herself, returned to the soft cushions of her chair, and once again reached for her Bible.
With one hand, she lifted the newspaper-clipping marker from its place in the Bible and held it, as she continued reading from the earlier passage . . . “But, at your word I will let down the nets. And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners on the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats. . .” [Luke 5:5b-7 NIV Bible]
Reflecting upon the Bible text, Mom then gently opened the newspaper-clipping marker that she had placed in her Bible the previous May and read again the article announcing her daughter as the winner of “My Mom Is Best!” essay contest sponsored by the Catawba Valley Mall. The photograph of the essay in the scrawled printing of her seven-year-old daughter’s hand accompanied the article and read:
“My Mom is the Best!”
Mom talks and listens to me.
We share secrets.
Sometimes she says no
when I want her to say yes.
Mom knows best.
She is my friend.”
- Stephanie Harrison, Age 7
Tears stood on the edges of Mom’s eyes, as she gently folded the newspaper clipping and returned it to her Bible.
Fed and refreshed by God’s Word, she prayed with all her heart and soul: “Father, I am like Simon Peter who, at Your Beckoning, after fishing all night and catching nothing, threw his net back into the water . . . I, too, at Your Beckoning, cast my net back into the ocean of motherhood.”
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