Monday, May 23, 2016

A Light

 My mother blesses my life. She's ninety-one and a bit worse for wear, but she's still moving forward, and I love how she travels. She's like a light in the darkness. 

These days, Mom can't walk, not even with the help of a walker, but she still manages to get around a bit in her wheel chair. We don't get out much because transporting causes her pain and takes someone who is strong enough to lift her in and out of the car. My aching back won't let me and it's even getting difficult for my aging husband. 

Life is not easy for Mom, but I rarely hear a word of complaint. If you ask me, she has a lot to complain about, but she doesn't see things that way. Through the years, she has found a grateful heart.

Though Mom grieves the loss of two husbands, a daughter, her parents, six of her siblings and many other loved ones, she understands they have simply gone on ahead of her and one day they will meet again. She looks forward to a grand reunion. 

Mom lives a life of dependence, relying on others to help her bathe, use the restroom, get her dressed in the morning and ready for bed at night. She no longer makes her own meals. Those are prepared by her caregivers. The details of her life are worked out by others, mostly those who love her. She never misses an opportunity to let us know how grateful she is.

Sometimes Mom wonders why she's still here on earth. Only God knows for certain, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the tenderness, warmth and affection she offers the people in her life. We need her.

I see Mom as a radiating light that reminds me to embrace life and to be thankful for all the gifts offered to me each day. 

Yesterday she gave me another beautiful reminder. Mom's not been able to attend church because it's difficult to transport her. When she told me she how much she misses going I decided to find a way. It wasn't difficult and I wonder why I hadn't thought of it before. I called the ambulance service we use for taking her to the doctor and was glad to discover they are open on Sundays and would be happy to take Mom to church. 

Yesterday I met her there. The driver was such a nice man and was clearly smitten with my mother. Many people are. She's a charmer. I think it's the light in her eyes and her warm smile. Just as worship began I wheeled her inside and we found a place to sit. 

Mom had difficulty reading the words on the screen, but sang the songs she knew. She listened to the pastor and only dozed a little. I wasn't sure just how much she'd gotten from her time there, but hoped she'd enjoyed the service. While we waited for her ride we chatted with friends. Mom was clearly having a good time. She crooked her finger at me and I bent to hear what she had to say.

"I don't think you understand how wonderful this is!" she told me, her face alight.

She was right. I didn't. And it could have been different. She might have been focused on how many times she hadn't been able to go, or have been grumpy about her pain or lack of sleep ... or ... That's not Mom's way. 

I marvel at what a grateful heart can find to be thankful for, and by how much joy and blessing there is to be had if we seek the beauty in life instead of its imperfections.

So grateful to be my mother's daughter.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, May 05, 2016

The Writer - Good Enough?

In recent days there have been announcements made commending writers in the Christian world of publishing. Lists of finalists have been posted for several writing contests. Congratulations to all! Undoubtedly you worked hard to hone your craft and polish your stories. Thank you for honoring God through your gift of writing.

While I cheer on my colleagues, I am certain there are some writers who entered   who were not recognized and now feel discouraged. You may even wonder if you're "good enough" to call yourself a writer, good enough to achieve your dreams, good enough to fulfill God's purpose. I feel your unsteadiness, your vulnerability. After all, I'm a writer too.

Whether or not your book made the final cut in one of the recent contests or not doesn't define who you are as a person or as a writer. You worked hard. You took a risk. You followed your dream. All of which are highly commendable qualities. Do not forget that among the books submitted, winners or not, there are many unique and spectacular stories. 

Being recognized as one of the "best" books of the year has so much to do with God and His purposes ... not ours. He chooses whom he will lift up. We can trust His judgment and His perfect timing. 

I'm sixty-four years old and have been reading for most of my life. Very few of the books I digested were award winning, but I loved them anyway. I am grateful to the writers who spent hours creating and crafting stories for people like me. I've been entertained, encouraged, and inspired. 

Thank you! 

If you are called to write, please push through the insecurities, the long hours, and the agony of creating and keep at it. Without your brilliant stories my life would be less bright. I'm grateful for your sacrifice.

As friends, colleagues, and word-crafters pray for one another and continue to follow your passion.

Grace and peace to you from God,