A very long while ago, Paul asked me if I wanted to be a "guest blogger". I declined. I didn't have anything to say. (Shocking, I know.) Tonight, I am having a hard time sleeping, so I thought I would give it a try. Here goes....
Grief is a funny thing. I have compared it to an ocean often in the past 9 months since I have experienced it in a new way after my moms death. It was incredibly choppy the first several weeks. As the months went on it became easier on a daily basis. Then those waves would come... almost out of nowhere. It just rolls right over you sometimes with an almost shocking intensity.
So, tonight is one of those nights. I knew it was coming. I've known for about a month now, wondering when it would hit and dreading it. Here it is. My first Thanksgiving without her. And this Thanksgiving particularly, I would really like to share with her. I really, really miss her. I feel like part of my history went with her. No one can answer "Did I do that when I was little?" or a host of other questions I wish I would have asked her about.
She was really a remarkable woman. She loved God. She trusted God. She didn't always understand what He was doing, but she was His and that was enough. She instilled in me a love for His church as I watched her serve it with joy and make it a priority in our home. I am really grateful for that. She modeled faith and trust in a remarkable way.
I was reading through Psalm 103 this past week. It has always been my favorite Psalm and I have loved it at Thanksgiving time especially as it reminds us to talk to our souls: "Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits." The Psalmists goes on to list several which are truly incredible and reason for exuberant praise. However, something new struck me in my reading this time:
"As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children." vs 15-17
The notes in my study bible says this: "The song reaches its crescendo here: amid the shortness of human life (vv. 15–16), God's steadfast love for his faithful is everlasting (v. 17a), bestowing on them the privilege of nurturing those who will be his people in coming generations (vv. 17b–18). This psalm goes beyond that, however: the faithful expect that God sets his saving love on their children's children. This is the crowning privilege that God gives to his faithful: though their lives are short and appear almost insignificant, they may still contribute to the future well-being of the people of God by their godly and prayerful parenting and grandparenting."
I couldn't help but think of my mom when I read that. She is gone, but God gave her the amazing privilege of contributing to the future well-being of the people of God by her Godly example. He graciously put me into a covenant home, redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with love and compassion (vs 4 & 5). My children have also been given that blessing and because God's steadfast love is from everlasting to everlasting I can trust that their children and the generations after them will be a part of that. Her life, with all its struggles as a single mom, was incredibly significant because God had placed His everlasting love on her. I'm grateful for her and MORE grateful for a God like this who redeems broken things and turns a life that seems insignificant into something of incredible worth and value. I pray earnestly He does that in my life as I seek to train my children to love, obey, honor and adore their God. The thought that He could do this is incredibly humbling. Only by His grace will what I do contribute to the future well being of the people of God - I am so very well aware of that. I want it, though. I want to make more of Him and less of me.
So, all that to say, I am grateful God gave me Barbara Strom to nurture me. She didn't do it perfectly, but she did it well. She relied on God's grace. She left a Godly example for me to follow as I am in the middle of nurturing my own children. I wish she was still here. I miss her incredibly.
I'll probably wake up in the morning and regret posting this. I'll think it sounds too sappy or something - but it's been good for my soul. Missing her makes me long for heaven more. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!