Category Archives: God’s provision

Letting Go: When a Parent Dies

[I like to run old posts sometimes for my newer readers. This one appeared in my blog in January of 2010. It’s one of my favorites.]

 A busy street separated my neighborhood from Jefferson Elementary School. Every morning, Monday through Friday, moms walked their little ones to the street corner and held their hands until it was safe to cross. In the afternoon when school let out, they came back to bring their children home again.

I remember the morning when mom grasped my hand, and I struggled to pull away. I was a big girl, or so I thought, and I didn’t need to hold her hand anymore. “Let go!” I demanded. “I can cross by myself.” Mom gave me a worried look and squeezed my hand even tighter. “Let go!” I said. I was surprised when she let my fingers slip out of hers. I looked both ways for oncoming traffic; then I skipped merrily across the street. When I got to the other side, I turned toward my mother and waved. I had done it! I had crossed the street without her, and we both knew that our hand-holding days were through.

Mom’s hands were always there for me. They rocked me to sleep, tied my shoes, made my meals and washed my clothes. They felt cool against my feverish forehead when sickness came, and they taught me to pray. When a teenaged boy broke my heart, mom’s hands caressed me and wiped away my tears. And when I grew older and moved from home, her hands welcomed me back with a hug.

It wasn’t until many years later, when Mom lay dying in a hospital bed, that I noticed how old and wrinkled her hands had become. Those old hands had worked hard, protected, taught, supported, and prayed. Now, they were cold and still. She lay in a very deep sleep somewhere between Earth and Heaven. I picked up my mother’s left hand and held it in mine. “If you can hear me, Mom, squeeze my hand.” Nothing. I laid her hand on top of the covers and let go.

God’s timing is always perfect. He always knows what we need. My cousin arrived just then. She sat on the right side of my mother’s bed and I on the left. We said nothing, just watched, waited, and wondered when the end would come.

Mom lifted her left hand and reached out searching for mine. Our hands met. She held on tight. Then, just as I had laid her hand on top of the covers, my mother laid my hand down and let go. With her right hand, she grasped my cousin’s hand. Then she laid it on top of mine. Finally, Mom rested her hands on ours. She never awoke from her sleep, nor did she say a word, but the Lord had miraculously allowed her to connect with us one last time – with her hands.

That night, I sat with my mom, holding her hand and remembering all of our years together. I thought of that day on the street corner and of how hard it must have been for her to release my hand and let me go. As I sat at her bedside, I understood that I could cross the street by myself again – that I could go on in life without her. I let go of my mother’s hand for the last time, tenderly allowing her fingers to slip from mine. A few minutes later, she died. I imagine that she was on the other side of the street, waving to me before she walked on toward God.

There is a comforting passage of scripture in Psalm 139: “If I rise on the wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Mom has been gone for 15 years, but from the far side of the sea, I still feel her hand holding mine . . . and I feel God’s hands holding us both.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

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Filed under Death, Desiring God, Faith, Fear; Hard Times, God's grace, God's Love, God's provision

Take it. It’s Free!

 

library2Last summer, I posted “Little Free Library—A New Way to Love Your Neighbors”. Today, my library is one year old and a blessing, not only to me but to those who use it.

Now, head on over to my other blog, Something to Write Home About, and read “5 Things I’ve Learned From my Little Free Library.” You’ll find a link that tells how you can have a Little Free Library, too!

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I’ve saved the sixth and most excellent thing I learned to post here.

#6: THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE

Yes, it’s cliché, but, oh, so true. God plants countless little freebies in the world for us to enjoy. Think about it. Every breath and every heartbeat is free. Colors, music, lavender-scented flowers, the juicy goodness of fresh-picked strawberries, hugs, kisses, heartfelt stories tucked between the covers of books—all of them are free gifts from God. But, His freebies go much deeper than those little things that touch our everyday lives.

best things in life are freeThere is His gift of life. Our very existence here on Earth is from Him. God gifts us with His love and forgiveness and faith, grace, mercy, and righteousness. We have the gift of a personal relationship with Him and the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ—the best gift of all.

When I look at my Little Free Library packed with free books, I think of all the wonderful freebies God packs into my life. And when I see the contents of the library changing as neighbors share their favorite books, I think of God placing all kinds of new freebies in the world for me to discover.

Jesus said, “Give as freely as you have received!” (Matthew 10:8 NLT).

How have God’s free gifts inspired you, and what can you do to share His free gifts with others?

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

 

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Filed under Blessings, God's provision, Little Free Library, Random Ramblings, Uncategorized

How God Answered my Prayer—Part 3—Lessons

(This is the third and last post in a three-part series. For part 1, click here.)

team1The garage renovation project reinforced what I already knew: that even when things look hopeless, there is always hope. My old, tired garage wasn’t ready to give up. It just needed a little help—and that leads to the first lesson I learned:

We can’t get by without a little help from our friends.

I struggle with that idea, because I come from a long line of independent German ancestors with an “I can do it myself” attitude. Allowing others to help me comes hard. I believe that my brush with cancer several years ago and the recent garage renovation were reminders from God that I need to open my heart and welcome others in. My Group Workcamp team made that easy. They gave generously and put me at ease to accept their gifts. One of the team members, Reaganne, reminded me: “We’re not doing it. It’s God.”

The garage experience also taught me that I’ve become a bit cynical in my older age. I wrote a post here, a year or so ago, about “properly” showing reverence to God by worshipping the “old” way with antiquated hymns and quiet veneration. Group Workcamps opened my eyes and proved me wrong. The worship service I attended on that last Friday night was upbeat and spirit-filled. I know that God smiled on that gathering. His love glowed strong with each song sung and every word spoken. My heart was so full!

 The Bible says:

Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;

praise him with the lyre and harp!

Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;

praise him with strings and flutes!

Praise him with a clash of cymbals;

praise him with loud clanging cymbals.

(Psalm 150:4–5 NLT)

Lesson learned: I was wrong about the “proper” way to worship. There are many appropriate ways to praise God, and there is most certainly a time to honor Him with dancing, blasting horns and loud, clanging cymbals. Way to go, Group Workcamps! You did it well.

The most important lesson I learned is that our nation’s future is in good hands. Andrew, Hannah, Reaganne, and Sarah are prime examples of that. And there are so many other teens just like them, giving of themselves to make God’s world a better place.

I am so impressed by the character of my new young friends that I’ve asked them to guest post here from time-to-time, and I sincerely hope that they will. Whenever they want their voices heard on any topic, they are welcome to come here and “speak.” I want you, my readers, to hear what they have to say and to know that God has planted the seeds of our future. They are good seeds growing strong with His love. I thank God every day for bringing these young people into my life.

The week that I spent with my Group Workcamps team was one of the best of my life. The garage is awesome, but the week we spent together wasn’t so much about the garage renovation as it was the renovation of my heart.

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Thank you, Group Workcamp, Crew Seven! I am blessed to have you as friends.

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Filed under Blessings, Evangelism, God's grace, God's greatness, God's Love, God's provision, Group Workcamps, Knowing God, Praise, Sharing God with Others, Uncategorized, Worship