This time, it wasn’t money or food that was needed. In fact, this time it wasn’t even anything that I could give. Her mother is dying, wasting away before her eyes, not eating, not speaking, silently dying day by day, the end obviously near.
“I don’t know how to understand it,” Mona told me with a sigh. “The woman who raised me, by herself…the woman who never slept, who cooked and worked and cleaned and cared, first for me and my brothers and sisters, and then for my children while I worked…she is shriveled and immobile and…Finished. She has quit fighting, she is done. How can I live with this? I cannot stop crying. I cannot imagine life without my mother.”
My heart broke for her yesterday morning, and a bit frustrated at my inability to help, I left for class after holding her hand for a moment and giving her my heartfelt prayers.(pictured: a few of the women from our Tuesday morning Bible study)
A few hours later, she and 7 other women and I sat around sticky topped picnic table in the seminary cafeteria, singing our weekly opening song-prayer:
“My Father, this morning I sit before you
With my Bible open before me
And I ask you to please open my spirit
So that I can understand what is in Your Word
So that I can remember that you are my Father
So that I can always do what you tell me
I need your Spirit so much
So that I can always stay in Your Way.
Wash me with living water
Tie me to the living Word
So that I can serve a living God
For you, I want to be living for You.”
Then together we nine studied His Word, the Psalms of Ascent, dwelling this week on Psalm 126. We talked about all the beautiful things God has done in our lives in the past with verse 1-3. We talked about the hopes that we have for seeing His hand work in the future with verse 4-6.
We talked about the times we have laughed because of His great love, laughed in light of His great miracles. “Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting…the Lord has done great things for us! (vs 2).
We wrote down our many hopes and our prayers, writing in confidence that He who carries us will bring these things to completion in His perfect time and way. Those of us that didn't know how to write just lifted our hands and muttered our dreams.
And then we talked about the road where we are TODAY. The part in the middle. We remember all that He has done. We hope for all that we will do. But today, we were all just struggling with the long hard stretch of road in the middle. The “sowing in tears” part. The “weeping, carrying his bag of seed” part.
With joy, God helped me take vs. 4,5,6 a step further. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting,” gives the condition, gives the promise. “He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him,” another condition, another promise.
The joyful shouting comes from the sowing! The bountiful harvest and shouts of joy come with the planting in tears! When we are struggling, when we are hurting, it is easy to just cling to each promise the Lord has given us…easy to hold fast to our Light, desperately hording His Spirit to help us make it through each day.
But we can’t! The joyful harvest doesn’t come from our endurance as we cling to The Hope…it comes from our SHARING our light, even in the weeping moments. It comes from planting His hope, giving His love, in the midst of our hard-road times.
While we talked, studied and prayed, I felt my own spirit lift, and with joy I watched Mona’s face transform. Completely. I promise you, I could SEE the Lord take her burden from her. I saw her shoulders lift and her eyes widen as she saw something in His Word that she had never seen before.
I could see her overflow with love for her Lord, the kind of love she couldn’t contain, but MUST share with those living around her in darkness, despite the dark time in her life.
A few minutes later we finished in prayer, and eyes brimming in joyful, free tears, Mona gave me a huge kiss, and I laughed out loud at her newfound joy.
He is more than enough, and all the Help, the perfect Help, that we need.
“The Lord has done great things for us; We are Glad.” (vs 3).
I know this is already a long blog, but due to the fact that we won't have internet again until Monday, here's a few pictures from a beautiful Thanksgiving Day yesterday, full of good food (thanks to many of you!), family in Christ, and MUCH to be Thankful for! (Thank you, Brenda and Sue, for persevering without your husbands yesterday!) Lily had a fever and slept most of the afternoon, but woke up JUST in time for her first Thanksgiving food.