Thursday, September 18, 2008

When the Shoreline Changes

One week ago yesterday I sat in the same row of padded brown folding chairs as a woman with the hair of Greek goddesses and eyes like the sea. She was no stranger to me. A little over two years ago we sat in the same chairs circled around a table in a Sunday School class. As our conversation unfolded, I discovered she had been from New York as had my mother. We shared that in common. As tides flowed in and fell out over the last two years we saw one another--interacted here and again there. I doubt I'm wrong if I tell you I probably watched her far more than she was ever aware of me. Attending the same church doled out opportunity after opportunity to take her in. She was beautiful. It was hard not to notice her. Now, one week later, she is in the presence of God. In an instant the shoreline of our church was permanently altered and with it the lives of her children. In an instant. During her memorial, I felt like someone had forced a vacuum down my throat and turned it on as I listened to the sobs of a little girl robbed of her mommy echo throughout the sanctuary. Overwhelmed by a compelling to fly over the pew separating us and take that precious baby into my arms in human effort to withdraw her pain, I gripped the seat instead. There were many surrounding those sweet children, lifting them up. My best contribution was just to pray; to plead the mercies of a gracious Father over them. There is no answer to the why of tragedies like this--except to say that they are not God's intention. Never, NEVER are they God's plan. But ALWAYS He uses them to bring us to Himself. When left at sea in a fitful storm the only way home is to gaze steadily on the lighthouse's glow. It's the same in life. Amidst gales of inexplicable force, the only way to find home is to look to the light of a merciful, loving and very present heavenly Father. What there is though, in times like these, is the reminder that not one of our days is a guarantee. God's word tells us that our days are numbered, but there's no list telling us who gets how many. If I were to treat today as my last, how would I live it? There's a country song about a guy who finds out he's dying. He sings about going sky diving, rocky mountain climbing and riding a bull--all things I wouldn't mind trying my own hand at. But that's not how I'd spend my final day. What about you? Have you ever considered that question? When God puts people, spouses and children, into our lives everything is changed. I want my husband and my boys to know that they were loved desperately until at times I felt I couldn't breath with the intensity of it. I want to know that my boys are going to continue loving God. I want to know that I did everything I could to fill them with the knowledge of God and His love for them. I want to know I have taught them that God is the source of life and of hope. I want them to know that above all else in life the thing that matters is that they love God. I wonder how much time we spend taking kids to lessons, to sports, to friends houses for sleepovers compared to how much time we spend talking about the heart of God with them. I can give my children every educational opportunity, athletic chance and material thing in the entire world but if I don't give them God I have given them nothing at all. Nothing. This dear lady did something very well. Every Wednesday I saw her at our church with a smile that never fell as she sat in the front row on the padded brown chairs. At her seat, she did the motions to the songs the kids dance team performed. Often I noticed how her daughter--a member of the team--would glance at her mom to make sure she was right on track and her mom was there doing the motions with her, never missing a beat. But she showed that little girl so much more than the motions. She showed her that God mattered and that being a part of the family of God was important. Without question that little girl saw a mother who's commitment to God and her daughter were unwavering. What a legacy. May it be said of us, "Her commitment to God and her family never wavered." If there were one thing I could tell young mothers like myself I believe it would be don't feel guilty about choosing your spouse and your children first. There is not a week that goes by that someone doesn't call with a request--this committee, this luncheon, that children's program, that get-together. And probably ninety-nine percent of the time I have to say NO. Not now. Not this time. I always try to pray about any decision and there are times when God allows me to say yes. But if I never have another tomorrow, I want to know that I spent today investing in the two stewardships God entrusted to me--my husband and my boys. Those are my priorities. And I'll not apologize. In me, my children will never have a perfect mother and my husband certainly did not get a flawless wife, but by the grace of God may they have found a reflection of His heart in their wife and mother. Pray with me: Lord, I ask you to pour out healing on the precious hearts of these children who have had their mother taken from them into your presence. Lord, may I learn from this. Give me a heart that so lives in your presence that when I make the transition from this life to eternity I don't even notice I've left earth. Lord, endow me with knowledge as you did Daniel. Knowledge to teach my children about you in a way that they too become desperate after your heart. In Jesus' name. Amen. Listen with me: Legacy--Nichole Nordeman Read with me: I John 4:7-10 Ecc. 3

1 comment:

Julie said...

Sarah, what a tragic story. It's so hard to deal with this thing called death that God never intended for us to experience.

You are an awesome woman and mom!

I wish I had known in my early years to stop and consider what things God was asking me to be involved in instead of just signing up. I learned my lesson.

You are doing what is right.

Bless you!