Junior Level

Twenty-nine days ago, I lost my mother.  The LORD was merciful and took her home to be with HIM away from her pain, away from her sorrow.  Every day that passes, I miss her more and more.  The grief has been overwhelming at times.  See my mom lived next door to me, and I was with her almost everyday, so I find myself wanting to go see her, to pick up the phone and call her, and then I remember she’s not here anymore.  It’s hard, it’s sad; my heart is broken for myself and for my dad, my brothers and my sister, for all our family.  That being written, I’m thankful for my mother’s sake.  I’m thankful everyday that she is with GOD, that she is not in pain anymore.  That her race is over, she finished her course.  She graduated from this world to her eternity of peace and joy with The LORD!  I’m excited for her.  See my mom, among many other things, taught me to be thankful. 

Handout: Thankful

My mom had a hard life; she lived through some very terrible things.  I won’t mention all those things here but they were hard for her.  She was the fourth child born into her family of 8 siblings.  When she was very young, her dad, a preacher, was in an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down.  So her mother, my grandmother had to go to work to support them all.  My mother at the age of 10 and 12 was responsible for the younger children, three of them and also taking care of her lame father.  Later, he had cancer; the pain he went through was terrible.  She told me once as a young girl, she would lie in her bed and night and hear the groans of agony coming from her dad’s room, and there was nothing she could do.  Other times he would be so crazed from pain he would beg her to shoot him.  When my mom was 14, her father went home to be with The LORD.  There were other terrible things that happened to her in childhood but GOD was there. 

Later, as an adult, she has terrible pain with her back.  She said the years of having to lift her father, who was a big man, took its toll on her little body when she was a child and not even fully developed.  Later, tests showed that her spine was not as developed as it should be, I’m not certain if she was born with that defect or if the heavy lifting at such a young age did that but nevertheless she had much pain with her back and several surgeries.  As she got older many other health problems occurred, many.  We were always in shock at the things she had to deal with.  Pain in her hips, and knees, and her back, shoulders as well as heart problems, diabetes, nerve damage, and the list goes on…and on. 

The last 8 or 9 years of my mom’s life she was in a wheelchair.  She had been in an accident where a man had fallen asleep at the wheel and lost control of the large truck he was driving and he ran over top of my mom’s small car.  God sent His angels that day because to see the damage in her vehicle, you would think no one could survive that. 
She survived but with her injuries, they caused even more problems for her health. 

My mom was in a lot of pain, everyday.  There were days she could not even get out of bed, many days, and days she could not even dress herself.  It always broke my heart hearing her cry from the pain. 

My mom always loved life…and she loved to travel.  When she was younger she did.  Even in the pain she went.  It was very hard for her later when she couldn’t go.  I remember several times, sitting on her porch with her, she would cry and say she felt as if she was forgotten and that life was just passing her by.  The devil fought her hard in many ways, but you know what, by GOD’S Grace, my mom would always find something to laugh about. She laughed!  She did.  It didn’t matter how much pain she was in, she always laughed at something.  She would always quote this verse in Proverbs.

Proverbs 17:22  “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Paul wrote in

Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

12. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

My mother did this.  She tried her best especially the last years of her life, to be content no matter how much she was in pain.  Was my mom perfect?  No.  No one is.  But she was a soldier of the cross.  She laughed through her tears, she would give anyone the last dollar she had.  She was someone that people found comfort in talking to her.  She stood up for what she believed in and she would not back down!  She was strong and she didn’t even know it.  She loved deeply.  She wasn’t afraid of the devil and she stood strong in her faith in The LORD.  She knew where her help came from.  She trusted The LORD with her whole heart!   That’s what my mother taught me.  She taught me to be thankful.  That is an amazing legacy to leave behind, an unwavering faith in her LORD!  She never gave up, not once, even though she has plenty of reason to, even though the devil tried to get her to many times, she remained strong with integrity.  It comforts me to think about the reception she received that day on April 26, 2011 when she breathed her last breath on this earth, and left the body that held her spirit captive, and entered into the presence of The LORD forever! 

What if we woke up tomorrow, and the only health/people/things we had were the ones we had been thankful for today?  Wow, I think it would teach us to not take so many things for granted.  No matter what kind of life you are living, and I know some of you out there are suffering, even more than my mom did with pain.  Some of you suffer every day of your lives and I pray for you, but you realize that there is still so much to be thankful for. 

In life, it seems some people have everything, and others have nothing.  I don’t understand that.  I don’t know why that is.  However, I do know that GOD is all knowing and HE loves us all, and HE is in control and HE knows what is best.  Therefore, we must trust HIM.  Whatever life you and I have been given, whatever struggles we must go through, whatever pain we must endure, still we need to be thankful. 

Last Sunday in Bible class, I encouraged them to wake up each morning and write down on paper at least 5 things they are thankful for, could write much more, but at least 5 things and then meditate on that and praise GOD for it.  You may only feel like you have 1 thing to be thankful for, then start there.  Write it down, and praise GOD for it!  God inhabits the praise of HIS children and HE will be there when you lift your hands and your heart and praise HIM for the good things He has given to you. 

I don’t know much, I don’t, but one thing I do know, that GOD is good, HE is good all the time and HE will always be good.  We can trust HIM, in all things great and small.  Today if you are suffering, know that I am praying for you and that GOD has not forgotten you.  By faith, even if you don’t feel like, praise God anyway and be thankful that He knows what is best. 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

We all have a cross to bear, but GOD’S grace is sufficient.  He knows exactly how much grace we need each day to bear that burden, and HE will supply it.  Enough grace to succeed each day.  He wants us to look to HIM, to depend on HIM, to trust HIM, to obey HIM.  He is our burden bearer. 
Romans 8:17-18 “ 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Our pain won’t last forever, our sorrow is but for a moment in this life. 
James 4:14 “14Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
In the midst of pain, it’s easy to feel like it will never be over, to feel as if it will always be like this.  We forget that life passes so quickly and we just want that pain to be over, that’s a normal human feeling.  But think now, time has gone by so quickly, for just  yesterday we were children playing and laughing.  My mom showed me even more that one day, soon, our faith will be turned into sight, and what we do for the LORD will be the only things that we have that will last.  It taught me that I want to live my life praising instead of complaining.  I want to leave that legacy behind, that I was a child of GOD who was content in all things, who Praised The LORD in all things.  How sad it would be to come to the end of life and know that I was unthankful, that all I did was complain and grumble. 
To complain is a slap in GOD’S face.  We must learn to trust HIM even in the most painful of times.  He knows what’s best for us and HE will always do the right thing.   When we understand that, we can go on strong in our faith in Christ.  Yes sometimes HE will allow things in our lives that hurt, but it’s for our good and His glory.
Romans 8:28 “28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose.”
Dear one, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to ask GOD for healing, but know this, sometimes GOD heals and sometimes HE just gives us the grace to endure.  Just like with Paul, GOD did not remove that thorn in the flesh, whatever it was, but He did give Paul grace enough to get through it, and HE will do the same for you and me. 
It is my prayer to be healed in all things, but I know that life is not a bed of roses, and that there is suffering to endure, so I pray that GOD will help me be a good sufferer and to be content.  He is good.  I pray this for you all as well.  GOD sees every tear we cry and He understands suffering and HE will always be there to help us.  Let us be thankful that He promises to never leave or forsake us.  Let us be thankful for all the many promises He has given in knowing that GOD is faithful!
GOD Bless you all :O)
Heavenly, Righteous Father…
I bow before You once again, thanking You for all the blessings in my life, even if they hurt.  I know that You don’t allow anything in the lives of Your children that are bad.  I thank You that You can be trusted in all things.  I am thankful that You are Holy, and fair.  I am thankful that I can trust You no matter what and that You are faithful, even when I am not.  Father, I thank You for being my Father, my friend.  I’m thankful that one day I will get to be with You forever because of what You did on the cross for my sins.  I am thankful that You bear our burdens and that You were with my mom and that You took her Home away from her pain.  I am thankful that You will never abandon me.  I am thankful that You will always take care of all of Your children and most of all I’m thankful for Your ever lasting love.  Father I ask today that You help us all to endure with integrity the pain and sorrows that we must, and be thankful even in times of pain and know that it won’t last forever.  I love You LORD and I pray if there is anyone who does not know You, if they have not accepted You JESUS as LORD and Savior, that they will bow and cry out to You and accept You in their hearts.  Help us to always share the gospel to all the world so that Your name is lifted up.  YOU ALONE ARE WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE!  I love You LORD.  Amen.

September 25, 2018