Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: REFUGE (08/29/19)
- TITLE: My Maternal Sanctuary
By Laurie Staples
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I never doubted her unconditional love, never doubted that she delighted in my company every bit as much as I delighted in hers. We were so much alike. We had the same sense of humor and would laugh until our sides hurt. We both loved to read, and spent hours reading together.
She could always sense when I was feeling down. She was good at calling me out for being too caught up in this present world rather than the eternal, or on my outward appearance rather than my inner beauty. She would constantly remind me of all I had to be thankful for, often adding, â€œYou donâ€™t have to look very far to find someone who has it worse than you do.â€
When my parents moved to Florida, I still talked to my mom everyday, making her laugh and seeking her advice on everything from cooking to child-rearing.
Iâ€™ve never met two people more madly in love than my parents were. I couldn't imagine either one of them living without the other, so when my dad died of a sudden heart attack just shy of my momâ€™s fifty-eighth birthday, I thought the strong, fun-loving mother Iâ€™d always known was gone forever. Thankfully, she was too selfless to let her formidable grief lessen her attentiveness and love for her four children. Thankfully my brother, Craig, also lived in Florida, so at least she wasn't alone.
When Craig died in a tragic accident less than two years after losing my dad, my mom surprised us again with her strength, resilience and great faith in the face of such horrific grief.
After Craigâ€™s death, my mom came to live with us in Michigan. Sadly, if not for the appalling double loss of my beloved father and brother, there is no way she would have been with me just when I needed her most. At the time of Craigâ€™s death I was pregnant with my son, Brett. We knew Brett was going to born with â€œissues,â€ but nothing could have prepared us for the severity of his disabilities.
I canâ€™t imagine going through those first days, months and years of Brettâ€™s life without my mom by my side. She was with me from the time Brett took his first breath until the day she took her last.
When my mom first became ill, I was filled with fear and anxiety. I didn't want to live in a world without her in it. Many nights, that awful, elephant-on-my-chest anxiety would keep me awake. Iâ€™d beg God to heal herâ€”didnâ€™t He realize how much I still needed her? No one could fill the void sheâ€™d leave.
Giving up on sleep, Iâ€™d get up and grab my Bible, instinctively turning to words Iâ€™d memorized as a child. â€œYou are my refuge and my strength, an ever present help in trouble.â€ (Psalm 46). â€œLord, You have searched me and You know meâ€¦how precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!â€ (Psalm 139).
And suddenly it struck me! Iâ€™d made my mom my refuge and my strength, my ever-present help in trouble! Her thoughts had become more precious to me than Godâ€™s!
I think back on those nights now and believe God used those words to adjust my thinking, gently assuring me I would be okay because He IS my refuge and my strength. He IS my ever-present help and will never leave me or forsake me.
Itâ€™s been almost two years since I had to say goodbye and I still ache to hear my momâ€™s assuring words of wisdom. Iâ€™m still often reduced to tears because I so desperately want to ask her to pray for me, to tell her about the things that are weighing me down. In these times I ask myself, â€œWhat would she say to you?â€ And I can almost hear her voice, â€œPlease donâ€™t be sad, honey. Let go of regrets. Rejoice that I have a new glorified body and am no longer suffering."
â€œHe will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.â€Revelation 21:4
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