Emily could not contain her enthusiasm any longer and quickly slipped her sandals off her feet. The lush soft grass felt wonderful between her toes. She wiggled her toes between the cool blades and savored the feeling. Grassy green hills always reminded Emily of one of her favorite movies and the image of Maria Von Trapp running across that breathtaking mountaintop in Austria.
The Sound of Music had always been one of Emily’s favorite movies. At least once a year, she and her mom would pop some buttery popcorn and snuggle together under a big blanket and watch this classic together. Often, the annual viewing would coincide with the Christmas season. The only light shining, besides the television screen, would be the multicolored lights sparkling from the tree branches. The beginning of the movie had always been one of Emily’s favorite scenes, (other than the scene when Captain Von Trapp finally professes his love for Maria). She loved how the low volume of the music at the beginning would subtly grow louder and louder as the camera slowly crept over the landscape until finally reaching Maria, arms stretched out and twirling around the green hill. The look on Maria’s face, the look of unhindered joy and complete freedom, never failed to put a smile on Emily’s face.
Growing up, Emily remembered seeing that same look of joy on her mom’s face. Her mom played the guitar and loved to write songs and poetry. Many of the things she wrote after becoming a Christian reflected her love for Christ and gratitude for what He had done in her life. Emily and her mom would often ride along in the car singing the songs her mom had written. During the Christmas season, Emily loved this one in particular….
”Shepherds saw a star shining in the sky,
heard the angels singing a lullaby.
In a lowly stable one wondrous night,
Shepherds saw the perfect light.
Jesus I love you so and I know why you came
It was because of me….”
As they would sing together, Emily’s mind would be filled with images of the three shepherds keeping watch over their sheep. Out of the dark quiet sky, a bright glow would appear, shining down on the flock grazing in the green pasture.
Emily deeply respected her mom’s love for the Lord. It was like a friendship that grew closer everyday. Her mom was truly someone who sought the Lord’s direction on a daily basis, continually being fed by His hand. Emily was fairly certain, had her mom lived during the time Jesus walked the earth, she would have been one of the five thousand that anxiously ran to meet the boat at the solitary place where Jesus took the apostles so they could rest and have something to eat. When Jesus saw the large crowd he took compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. They hungered for direction. After he was done teaching, Jesus had them sit down in groups on the green grass and, miraculously, fed them all with just five loaves and two fish. Emily’s mom would have been there, taking it all in, and eventually writing a song about the whole amazing experience!
Even after her mom became ill, her relationship with the Lord did not seem to waiver. The sicker she became the tighter she would hold His hand. And the tighter she held on the more strength she seemed to have even though her body was slowly failing.
After her mom’s death, Emily felt completely lost, kind of like a sheep without a shepherd wandering and stumbling along. She had no idea how to walk with the Lord on her own. Her mom’s hand had always been there to help guide her. Confused and consumed with anger, Emily ran, turning her back on the one hand that so desperately wanted to console her.
Emily stretched out her arms and twirled around the green grass, so thankful to the shepherd who had not given up on her, even though she had strayed so far away. The warm sunlight felt so good on her cheeks. Standing now in this spacious place, the idea of running seemed unfathomable. She was done running. No matter how challenging the trials in this life became, Emily had come to understand one very important lesson. Her Shepherd was strong, strong enough to carry her through every valley and any rough terrain that lay ahead.
Mark 6: 30-44
“It Was Because of Me” words written by Sharon Muldowney
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