1st Story

It was in week nine, on day two of the Bible Study that we read in John 5:1-9 the story about Jesus healing the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  One of the questions put to us was: Are there any illnesses that you have had for many years?  My answer was an emphatic yes!  My illness has persisted since the day my mother passed away in 1934.

The problem was that I was too young to understand death.  The lady in the casket was not my mother; she was a stranger in my mother’s body.  While everyone was grieving for her in the living room, I was outside riding my bicycle!

Having failed to grieve my loss, the emotional pain remained in my soul and affected my whole life.  Do you remember the story of Chicken Little who told everyone the sky is falling?  That was me.  I saw life through dark-colored glasses.  Everything was tragic and overwhelming.  Repressed grief is like a nagging toothache that you don’t know is there!

When a person has pain in the soul, she is not likely to be “on top of the world” or kicking up her heels with joy and laughter.  I did want an effervescent spirit, and often asked the Lord to change me.  “For nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37)  I figured He just skipped me when He passed out the laughter genes.  So my life continued this way—with a dark cloud over my head for seventy-one years.

Then something miraculous happened; God intervened.  It was a summer day about three years ago.  As I dusted off a picture of my mother, I looked into her eyes and examined her face.  Who was this woman?  She was a stranger to me.  What was she like?  How did her voice sound?  I wondered what she thought about life.  What advice would she have given me?  Inexplicably, I began to cry.  Never before had I cried such tears of grief!  I did not understand why this was happening so many years after her death.  Thank goodness my husband wasn’t home; it would have upset him to see his wife bawling like a baby.
In my heart I knew that this was a God-work; He was telling me to mourn for my mother, but how should I proceed?  The next thing I knew, the Holy Spirit led me to the library where I rented a book titled: Motherless Daughters: A Legacy of Loss.  In the book the author describes the behavior and thought patterns of motherless daughters.  I thought she was writing about me!  I saw myself on every page.

Through tears of joy and sadness, tears of relief and gratitude, I learned the truth of how my mother’s death has impacted my life.  I learned that the name of my illness is Unresolved Grief.  I received affirmation for the magnitude of my loss: “The mother-child bond is so primal that we equate its severing with a child’s emotional death.”  The author stated, “Unresolved Grief imposes a burden for as long as a life time.”

Then I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus revealed the truth in order to heal me of the burden that has paralyzed me ever since my mother died!  For Jesus promises: “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)  And in John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  He brought to light the darkness in my soul.  It was an unknown fault that only Jesus could remove.  No one else did this.

Just like He asked the paralytic at the pool who complained that no one would help him, Jesus asked me, “Do you want to be well?”  “Yes, Lord,” I answered.  And Jesus said, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”

So I took up my mat of mourning for my mother.  Months and months went by, and now the intervals of grieving are lengthening.  The sky looks bluer everyday.  There is a new zest for life in my spirit.  “He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion.” (Psalm 103:4)

Jesus brought His light into the darkness of my soul and cleansed me of my sin.  “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)  Jesus is the Light of the world and whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Months and months were spent working through the five stages of grief.  Finally, the day arrived just as it did for the paralytic at the pool.  Jesus asked me, “Is there no one to help you?”  “No,” I answered, like Peter did when Jesus asked the apostles if they wanted to leave him too, “You alone have the words of everlasting life.”  And then He asked, “Do you want to be well?”  “Yes, Lord,” I answered.  And He said, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”  Immediately, I took up my mat, and walked.

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

 

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Miracle Stories: December

2nd Story

When I was asked to share a miracle, I initially thought of the trials that God’s hand so miraculously weaved throughout my life, how He prevailed in the end and His glory shone forth.  As my thoughts expanded to miracles in the lives of close loved ones, the Lord quickly put on my mind a story my sister shared with me recently.  It is a story that I knew beforehand, but I had not been aware of the finer details.

My sister Barbara was not able to conceive children (she found this out on her honeymoon).  Being the oldest of seven children, she already was like a mom, and not only was good at it, but loved it.  She and her husband decided to acquire a child through private adoption.  There was a young girl (let’s call her Allison) who became pregnant.  Allison was a very bright girl, who was going off to college at the tender age of 16.  Being raised Catholic; she could not bear the thought of an abortion and confided in her mother that she was expecting a child.  Even Allison’s older sister never knew about her pregnancy.  Allison moved to California to be close to Barbara, and when the child was born, she gave my sister and her husband the gift of a son, Alan.  The plan was never to have contact again.

About one and a half years later, Barbara was having an ordinary cleaning lady day.  She took Alan to a home day-care and planned on going up to L.A. to shop, etc.  She never stayed home on cleaning days—that was her free day to go out alone.  However, she drove back home for no apparent reason at all.  She said it was like she was not in control of her body or that decision.  She just knew she had to go home.  She went upstairs and sat on her peach-colored chair in her bedroom, just waiting for the reason she was suppose to be home.

And then the phone rang, and Barbara had an aha moment.  The person who called was Allison’s mother.  Her other daughter (let’s call her Melanie) was pregnant and they were in a crisis situation.  Melanie was on her way to have an abortion—the appointment was five hours away!  Melanie was older, separated, and pregnant with a child that was not her husband’s.  According to the world, this was a problem with an easy solution—abortion.

Melanie’s appointment was at the clinic where her uncle worked.  He found out about it, and knowing Melanie, he just knew she would not be able to handle the consequences of that decision.  He called her mother, “Yes, I know this goes against doctor-patient confidentiality, but what about going against God’s Law of Love?”  Melanie’s mother felt compelled to tell Melanie about her younger sister’s act of courage.  She told her there was a beautiful Catholic family who did not have the gift of bearing children, but that Allison gave them the gift of her child.  She felt it would be beautiful for two biological cousins to be raised as siblings!

Melanie talked with my sister and had a change of heart.  Barbara, in turn, had to make the decision if she wanted another child A.S.A.P.  It was a big yes, of course.  Alan soon had a baby brother, Andrew, who is two years younger than he is.  They are best friends.

You see, if Barbara had not been home at that moment, we just don’t know what Melanie would have done.  At that time, there were no cell phones to contact someone who was not at home.  God’s grace, with the cooperation of Barbara (and Allison, her mother, Melanie, and their uncle), produced a miracle.  God is good.

My nephews have gone through a lot of mental challenges throughout the years.  But as I pondered their story, I realized, “Wow, Lord, You spared their lives!  It doesn’t matter what they’ve gone through.  You must have a really special plan and purpose for them.”  I need not worry about my nephews; they are and always have been in God’s hand.  I guess we are all living miracles.  Thanks, Mom.  To God be the glory!

 


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