Another extremely long blog absence, another time of trial for our family, losses mourned, griefs shared, burdens given to the Lord, and victories received... and another time to reflect on God's goodness and mercy toward us.
I knew the day would come that the phone would ring and it would be the call I didn't want.... the one that would tell me that the time I've dreaded for months had come, and I knew it would catch me unprepared to do what needed to be done. The last part of March one day we were running around the house as we usually do, just sharing our morning together when the phone rang. My younger (but not youngest) brother was on the line and as soon as I heard the words "I need you to listen to me..." I knew what was going on. My brother was calling to let me know that Mom had been admitted to the hospital and that the doctors were NOT optimistic that she would survive even the rest of that day. Needless to say our family made the fastest trip back home that anyone could ever make.
Less than 20 hours after I hung up the phone with my brother I was standing beside Momma's bed telling her how much I love her and how glad I was that we made it to see her. Quietly Momma asked me to please promise to stay with her until her time here was finished, and to help her get some things done that she had been trying to get wrapped up for some time. Of course I told her I was there for as long as she needed me to be, to do whatever she needed me to do. I was there for a little over 5 weeks, doing everything she asked me to do .... exactly as she wanted it to be done.
Momma went home to Jesus on April 23rd. I miss her terribly but I am so thankful that her suffering is over. I saw her family all pull together around her in an amazing display of unity and strength. I saw that the same people I had known all of my life were still only just very. real. people. I learned that sometimes during hard times the people that you think you can trust the most are the people you should be the most wary of. I saw my children live the way their Daddy and I have been teaching and training them to, and boldly, even before disapproving eyes, even when it was the hardest way to do things, even when they had to stand alone to do it, with kindness and gentleness, and in great displays of love for the Saviour. I saw the hand of God over my life in so many miraculous ways through every single day, guiding us, protecting us, providing for us, blessing us, and loving us, richly and unwavering.... how do you put any of those things into words?
We've been home now since the early part of May, but it has taken so long for me to feel like I have my feet firmly back under me again. There are still hard and ugly things that go on all around me, but every day I see the Lord's tender hands of mercy working in my life and I can't help but just be thankful that I have HIM to look to, to trust, to learn from.... and I wonder all over again, how did I EVER live without HIM?