On March 1, it will be twenty two years since she was called home to Heaven. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her… and smile at the memories we made out on the lake fishing, laugh at the jokes she used to tell, or hear her contagious, boisterous laugh. She was so happy. So passionate, and so proud of us. Sometimes, when I’m kneeling over my young sons, I remember how she used to tuck us in at night. How she would pray for us while kissing us softly on the heads and turning out the lights. I remember her telling us how much she loved us and how we were her miracle babies– that the night we were born, she gave us to the Lord because no one thought we would survive the night– much less outlive someone as vibrant and as full of life as she was. And yet there we were. Twins. Two little fighters. Two babies weighing less than 5 lbs. combined.
Her little treasures.
One of my earliest memories was of Mama reading Bible stories to us in our beds and telling us of God’s great love for us. How God had a plan for our lives… that we were placed on this earth for a reason. She was always reminding us how much He loved us. And how much she loved us… how it was better to be “rich in love than rich in money.” Even through the hardest times of our lives– when the waters ravaged our home leaving us homeless, when jobs were scarce and money was tight, when we got the diagnosis that her cancer was terminal–she found the strength to rise above the circumstances.
Her faith, her fighter spirit… she was one of a kind.
Some days, I think about her and how hard it must have been for her to tell us goodbye. To know that she would miss seeing us in our prom dresses and graduating from high school. How she must have somehow felt cheated. That she wouldn’t be able to give us “something borrowed” on our wedding days or enfold our newborn babies in her arms. I wonder if she ever grieved over those lost moments as she lay there in her hospital bed.
If she did, we never knew it.
She was strong, even in those last days, always reminding us of the big plans God had for us. At fifteen years old, we were so young. Two frightened, teenage girls sitting on the edge of her hospital bed. As we said goodbye, we knew that it wouldn’t be the last time we saw her beautiful face. Cause from the moment we were born until her very last breath, she reminded us, “God has a plan for you. Don’t blame God for this. You’re going to do great things for Him.” And she was absolutely right. Sometimes people wonder how we survived losing our mom at such a young age. They ask us what got us through such a hard time, and there’s only one way to answer.
She left us in the best possible Hands.
The Savior’s Hands.
No matter what it is you’re going through, no matter the pain or the heartache. You are not alone. Nothing that is happening to you surprises God. He has His strong hand upon you, and He will lift you up in due time. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”
All things. The good. The bad. And the things that rip our hearts apart. All working together for your good. All a part of the intricate plan that God has designed for your life. The heartache and strife. The joy and laughter.
The last 22 years I have spent without my mother have not been easy. Not by a long shot. But I have never been alone. He has been there with me all along, holding me fast. Held up by a community of people who surrounded me. Each step a page in the story He has written for my life. A very good friend gave me this verse during those last days, and I have clung to it every day since then.
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
And even though I miss her with a longing that is just as fresh today as it was in the wee hours that Sunday morning we said goodbye, I am confident that I will see her again. Until then, I will choose to trust in Him and live a life that pleases my Heavenly Father and honors my earthly parents.
Recently, I have had several friends who have lost their parents, and even though this blog was hard to write, I hope that it will bring comfort to those of you who are facing the loss of a loved one. Believe me. I am living proof of her epitaph: “Earth knows no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”