Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BLESSED (03/07/19)
- TITLE: Burdened, Broken and Blessed
By Mariane Holbrook
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After Daddy went to be with the Lord, Mother made it very clear that she didn't want to live with any of her seven children out of respect for their privacy and not wanting to burden any of us with her care. We demurred but finally agreed to let her choose where she wanted to spend her remaining years.
Mother had friends at a lovely retirement facility in Pennsylvania so we all visited Chapel Pointe, agreed it was a good choice and we chipped in to pay her monthly bills there. She adapted well to her new surroundings, making many new friends and enjoying the Christian fellowship, concerts, and trips provided by the administration.
We brought her to our homes for extended visits so she never felt cut off from our large extended family.
Two of my sisters lived a short distance from Chapel Pointe and visited her regularly but on this Christmas I offered to drive with my husband from our home in North Carolina to spend a week with Mother, giving them time to spend with their families.
I made the trip to Pennsylvania often during the years Mother lived there and grew to love many of the residents. They would call out to me from their beds, reaching to be hugged. Some residents had no families and were particularly needy. Many were full of humor while others were onerous and difficult for the staff to handle.
One day during my visit had been especially difficult for Mother. She suffered from multiple painful issues: spinal stenosis, double curvature of the spine, severe arthritis all over her body, a painful, broken leg that had not healed correctly, to name a few.
Most of that day she sat in her rocking chair, wracked with pain, her head resting on her knees, crying, "Oh God, help me. Please, Jesus, help me."
I tried massaging her legs, feet, and back, taking her for rides down the hall in her wheelchair, reading her favorite Scripture verses and praying often during that day with her. Her pain was unendurable and unending.
By ten o'clock that Christmas Eve, the nurse gave Mother an injection to help her sleep. After making sure she was in deep sleep and resting comfortably, I went to the living room to sit by the fireplace where the embers were still burning.
I was beyond tired and my tears flowed freely. Why did my precious, godly mother have to suffer this way? At 91 years of age, she should have been rewarded for a lifetime of serving God faithfully, for teaching her children about Jesus and bringing so many neighbors and friends to faith in Christ that we lost count.
Suddenly, I became aware of someone standing behind me. I turned to face one of the most-loved women at Chapel Pointe, Miss Alice Scott, a former missionary to the Philippines. She sat beside me and took both my hands in hers.
"Merry Christmas," she said brightly. "Today is my 100th birthday. I can hardly believe it."
The glow of the Christmas lights and the glimmering rays from the fireplace gave her face an ethereal, other-worldly glow.
Miss Alice looked heavenward. "I've never gotten over the wonder of it all. The fact that Almighty God would send His beloved Son, the baby Jesus, to be born in a lowly stable, to live and die for me is beyond my comprehension."
Then Miss Alice began to sing quietly:
"There's the wonder of sunset at evening,
The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me.
"O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me."
The sweet presence of God filled the room as I'd never experienced it before. I joined her in the second verse and chorus and suddenly I was refreshed, renewed and restored.
I hugged Miss Alice and said, "You have blessed me more than you'll ever know. I know God sent you here to be with me tonight, one of the most precious Christmas Eve's I've ever known. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
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