Archive for May, 2012

Tall and lanky, Roberto joined our Vacation Bible School at an inner-city park in Houston, Texas. This sixth grader’s enormous dark chocolate eyes spilled-over with a sadness that made him appear older than his twelve years. But Roberto was the first to arrive each day for VBS.

Now summertime in Texas arrives the day after Easter, so by the time school was out and Bible School began the temps were scorching by 10 AM. Add humidity to the equation and it was a recipe for wring-and-droop. What I would have given for a clean towel to wipe the sweat that dripped from every pore.

The week progressed and I learned this young man was a budding artist. He had five brothers and sisters and their family lived in an apartment complex and shared a bathroom with two other families. Paper, paint and brushes were not on this family’s shopping list.

The last day of Bible School we had a picnic for the children complete with food, games, and gifts. Roberto’s gift was paper, paints, brushes, and socks—three pair of athletic socks. Those sad brown eyes turned to sparkles and he exclaimed “thank you” over and over again. Would any of our children be exuberant over a small sack of inexpensive gifts like those? Probably not. Hugs were shared and we boarded the bus back to our church in the suburbs.

I arrived home hot and grimy. The first thing on the agenda? A bath. Filling the tub to the top I slid into the refreshing water and Roberto’s family—sharing a bathroom with more than fifteen people—flashed through my mind. Face to face with his reality had made an indelible mark on my heart.

A tornado ripped across town the week before and many of those folks were displaced from their homes—no personal soak time for them either—and no clean, dry, towels.

I pulled a fluffy towel from the rack, inhaled the scent of my favorite fabric softener, and was ashamed of my ingratitude. Like those lepers Jesus healed who forgot to say thank you, I had never even thought to say thank you for my bathroom, the water, or the clean, dry, towels.

Surrounded by a mountain of provisions from my Lord God I had failed to thank Him for running water, a pantry filled with food, plates to eat on, a car to drive, grass to run through, flowers to enjoy, family, friends—the list of blessings goes on and on. For goodness sake! A washing machine to do the laundry. And I don’t thank Him. The majority of people all over this earth lack these conveniences. God has blessed my family beyond measure and I haven’t even thought to thank Him. How about you?

I learned from Roberto never to complain when I must wait for anyone to vacate a bathroom. And I’m now grateful to fold a load of laundry—anytime—‘specially those clean, dry, towels.

            “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations.” KJV Psalm 100:4-5

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Oh dear, Mother’s Day—again. One of the most difficult days of the year for me.

February 17, 2001, forever changed my life. Our twenty-eight year old daughter suddenly died from a hemorrhagic stroke in her brain stem.

Gone in an instant.

She left behind a four-and-a-half-year old daughter, a seven month old baby boy, a grieving husband and family.

For you who have experienced tragic loss, you understand. You know the tsunami of grief and the secondary losses that bring chaos to your life and to the family. I’m sure you’ve asked the same why questions I asked—with one exception.

Thirteen months earlier our Michelle was three months pregnant with this now motherless seven-month son, Noah. She and her husband had gone for a routine sonogram one Friday. After reviewing the images the doctor learned the baby was horribly deformed with organs outside the body.

The doctor recommended an abortion.

He gave them ‘til Monday to make a decision—abortion or life with a special needs child.

After the tearful phone call I received from our daughter I caught a plane so I could be there for the follow-up visit Monday. Before I left, we called our church family and asked them to pray.

The first thing I noticed when I stepped off the plane was the set of my daughter’s jaw. They had made the decision. After a shower of hugs and kisses, Michelle announced. “We are keeping this baby. Whatever God gives we will receive and love. This little one…” she patted her tummy, “…is a gift from Him. There will be no abortion.”

The appointment time arrived Monday morning. Clint and Michelle left for the doctor while I treasured time with our first grandchild, then two-and-a-half year old Ashton. The minutes turned to hours. I prayed, laughed and played games with this precious, blonde-haired child of my child.

Until Michelle and Clint burst through the door. Their faces bathed in joy, both talking, laughing, and crying.

God had answered our prayers!

Michelle told us how the doctor repeated the sonogram, then slumped onto his stool, and signaled other nurses and doctors to come and see. Monday’s picture showed a perfect baby—all organs in place—like a three-month-old baby in the womb should be. He placed the image from Friday beside the image from Monday. They appeared to be two very different babies. He had no explanation. But Michelle and Clint did. God healed Noah—in the womb. Just like we had asked Him to do.

But now I stood by her grave site and cried “Why God? Why would  you heal this baby and then thirteen months later take his mother?” There was silence. The heavens were brass—for months.

Then one morning I sat with the Word of God opened in my lap and read “The secret things belong to the Lord God, but the things revealed  belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

The quiet voice in my soul asked, “Do you trust Me, DiAne?”

With trembling heart and lips I replied, “Yes, Lord. I trust You.”

“Even with this secret thing?”

“Yes Lord, even with this secret thing.”

And then there was peace, the beginning of acceptance and a giant step of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

This scripture has been a life-ring for me. Have I asked why since that time? Oh yes. But I answer—quickly, “Yes Lord, I know. It’s one of those secret things that belongs to You. I don’t need to know, because You know.”

Other moms are surrounded by their children on Mother’s Day. My child is with the Lord and I feel alone, very alone.

However, I have learned to remember there are millions of moms, just like me. Moms whose children no longer celebrate this special occasion with them. A few years back I was prompted to send a Mother’s Day card to those mothers who have lost a child. A card to let them know someone loves them and remembers.

My daughter’s best friend remembers me each Mother’s Day with a card that carries a bitter sweetness that fertilizes blossoms of joy in my heart that grow and bloom out of the soil of pain.

If  you know a mom who has lost a child, why don’t you send a card to them this Mother’s Day. God will bless the sender and receiver. I know because He has blessed me.

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