I’m looking at a photo of my confirmation party. My Mother is 49 and I’m 14. Arm in a sling, leg in a brace, and unable to speak, she has this melt-your-heart smile on her face. It’s 9 years after the first of a series of strokes that would take her life in following year.
I didn’t like seeing my Mom in pain and suffering all the years of my childhood. Every time she would get back on her feet, BANG -- another stroke would make her start over again. I was 5 the first time. I didn’t know she was sick; I thought we were playing, and I went back to watch TV. It would happen every couple years and usually I was the only one home. I wondered what made her keep trying, keep pushing forward. Why was she always praying? Where was the miracle that could make my Mom whole again? It never came. I felt relieved when she died, her suffering over.
As I look back now I see things differently. I see a woman of faith always praying for others.
I see a woman whose “mind is on what is above, not on what is on the earth” (Col 3:2). I see her smiling to those who weren’t, loving and giving herself to others even in her suffering. Always there to hold me, love me, correct me, and guide me. I see Jesus.
When I’m depressed or suffering I can look back to a photo like this one, smile like my Mom, push forward and imagine us singing these words:
Even when the fight seems lost
I'll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell
I'll praise you
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I'll sing your praise
Take a box (per person) of frozen spinach, cook according to instructions, drain, add butter, some fresh cut onions, and Salsa Verde. Simple to do, especially when your mind is elsewhere.
Even When It Hurts - Hillsong
Father, thank you for the comfort Your word brings in times of suffering, for music to sing out to you, for the times we don’t understand why, and the times it is so clear. Most of all, thank you that in all circumstances we can say all praise and glory belongs to You.
Look at some old photos, and look for the beauty of that moment when it was taken and go with it. Cry it out if that’s what it brings, laugh if it takes you there, and Praise Him.