Last weekend, we celebrated my mama’s 70th birthday. It was a weekend of surprises, laughter and fellowship. My sister flew in as a surprise. Mama had no idea she was coming. We all went in together on a gift. It was a pendant to replace one that she had loved, but lost a few years back.
We sat around the table on Saturday for hours, talking and laughing. We retold stories and shared new ones with each other.
I couldn’t help but remember that twelve years earlier, we had a very different scenario. She had received a breast cancer diagnosis at Thanksgiving and after two unsuccessful lumpectomies, she had a mastectomy right before Christmas.
It was a dark time that I don’t think about very much. I remember pleading with God to save her life. Cancer was such a scary diagnosis and I didn’t understand why it was happening to our family. I wanted desperately for my children to know their grandmother. I wanted to keep my mama.
My prayers were answered and her surgery was successful. But, the diagnosis changed her. She drew much closer to God during that time and remained there. She became much less of a worrier. She chose to let peace rule her heart and encouraged me to do the same whenever I was spending a lot of time worrying about something, especially something out of my control.
My babies were tiny at the time and I couldn’t be there to help like I wanted to. But, my sister took a month off from her job to come and help her as she healed. They also healed their relationship which at times had been rocky.
Since that time, my brother and sister have married wonderful people and my sister has added three more grandbabies to the fold. Mama was there for the birth of each one. My daddy retired and mama encouraged him to join her in attending church. He did and not long after, he found Jesus and was baptized shortly after. Now, they are very active in their church together.
On Saturday night, as we all sat together for dinner at a local restaurant and they were bringing our salads, Daddy had us all take each other’s hands and asked my daughter to say the blessing. I don’t know when I have ever felt so blessed.
Sometimes, when times are very dark, and we can see no light at the end of the tunnel, we wonder if we will even survive. We wonder why we are suffering. We wonder if God even hears us. Unfortunately, there are times when we don’t get those answers on this side of Heaven, but sometimes we do.
Sometimes, way down the road on the other side of the darkness, we are able to look back and see God at work in our pain and heartache. Sometimes we can see those dots get connected in the most miraculous ways that only He could achieve.
Those are the times that I have to stop and take a breath in awe of His plan and to say thanks with a stronger faith, remembering that He always has one, even when all seems lost.
A birthday celebration reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.
Have an awesome day!