Friday, January 11, 2008

Winter into Spring

I have to admit that I really struggled through this holiday season. Three years ago my mother died the day after Christmas and even though I fight hard to not allow myself to get down, the sadness comes over me like a big wave. This year was made even a little tougher because an older woman who has become a very cherished friend lost her mother almost on the same day. Her mother's funeral was actually on the same day as my mother's in 2004. As I sat at her mother's funeral I just couldn't fight back the emotion. On January 4, 2005 just three years ago I had sat in the same seat as her. On the exact same day I too had to listen as they eulogized my mother.

On top of all of that, today would be my mother's 74th birthday. I thought that in honor of her birthday I would share a story that I've told so many times since her passing. My mother was terminally ill but always remained in great spirits. Though she was very sick, she puzzled the doctors because she never really showed the signs of the illness until a few weeks before she died. Weeks before she died she was still taking walks around the block. About a month before she died she explained to me that she knew that she was going to have to go but she wanted to wait until the spring. It was clear that she really only had weeks and it was just November. My mother became sicker and weaker but she just kept holding on. The chaplain, the doctors, her nurses could not understand how she was holding on.

To help you understand my mother better, she was concerned that if she died in the winter that no one would come to her funeral. My mother envisioned a big party where she was the guest of honor. She had picked out the perfect dress, songs, pictures, and even written her own obituary. That early December morning when my mother died, it was about 15 degree in Chicago. I ran around for the next couple of days making all of the preparations and getting myself ready to go to Indianapolis where my mother would be buried. I happened to look at the temperature control on my car and it was 72 degrees outside. It was 72 degrees in Chicago on December 30, 2004! God had changed a Chicago winter into spring. The news reports said that 15 was not a record low and that 72 was not a record high, but never in history had there been such a huge gap between in such a short period of time. The same spring weather that we were experiencing in Chicago was also being felt in Indianapolis. That day the sun was out and it was just like a SPRING day. The next day after everyone had traveled back home safely there was a huge ice storm -- winter had returned.

I always share this story because it is a testament to the faithfulness of God. When we can't figure out how or even if God will show up, he shows up in the most unthinkable ways. Even this week in Chicago it has been unseasonably warm and I can't help but think it is like my mother's personal message to never give up and never to lose faith.

I tell the story because sometimes I need to remind myself that even when I can't see it, God is busy working life out on my behalf. I'm trying my best but I have to admit that today I'm having to fight hard to do that.

1 comment:

graceling said...

Valarie, what a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging me through this testament.

"The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and give you peace."

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]