Seems most of my inspiration over the last couple of years has come from the loss of my mother. I always knew losing mama would be devastating because we were very close all my life. I didn't realize until she died that I never outgrew the separation anxiety that overwhelmed me when I was a little girl. It's true, it was bad. Really bad.
Sunday night I was reminded of one occasion in particular that I experienced the anxiety of being separated from my mama. Sunday night I met with some of my elementary school friends for the first time in over thirty years. Suddenly, clear as day, I remembered the time my mama and daddy took me to school and I refused to get out of the car. My mama went into the school and talked to my teacher who came back with mama and helped get me out of the car (Actually, I think they may have pulled me by my ankles as I desperately clung to the steering wheel). I ran to the nearest thing I could grab on to -- the flagpole. It took my mama, daddy and the teacher to pry my little hands from that flagpole and drag me kicking and screaming into school. "Why does she hate school so much," My mama and teacher wondered and discussed as if I wasn't sitting there and could hear them. What they didn't understand, and what I didn't understand how to explain was, I didn't hate school. I loved school! I loved my teachers and my friends, but I absolutely hated being away from my mama. Talk about not cutting the apron strings! I acted as though I hadn't even been cut from the umbilical cord!
So now mama is gone and daddy is the only parent I have. It's almost like mama and God planned it this way because I wasn't as close to daddy, and we have some bonding to do. I'll tell you the truth, it's been a struggle for me. Daddy and I have never had deep conversations. We both love food and we've always talked about food and shared an interest in collecting cookbooks. That's a good place to start.
In the Christian faith, the number one priority is to witness to others the love of Christ. Well, I knew my daddy was a believer, he went to church with us when I was little. But then when I was around five or six years old he abruptly stopped attending church, and mama and I started taking the bus. She played piano at the little church we attended and it was at that very church I gave my heart to Christ. Mama loved gospel music and read her bible every single night at bedtime while she listened to our local Christian channel on the radio. Many nights I fell asleep at mama's side as she read her bible out loud and sometimes sang along with the Rambo family or the Happy Goodman Family on the radio. There has never been a doubt in my mind where mama stood with her savior. In fact, I witnessed with my very own soul the night she went home to be with the Lord that she was going to meet her loved ones who had gone before her. She called some of her loved ones by name and took the hand of God when His presence entered the room. I was there when her spirit left her body. I felt the peace of the Holy Spirit and I felt mama hug me on her way out. Because of that moment, I'll never, ever doubt the existence of God and Heaven.
I've never felt certain about daddy's relationship with the Lord though. I always knew he was a believer, but we've never had that talk before ... until today.
This morning daddy and I talked on the phone for about an hour -- A nice habit we've picked up over the last few months. We talk about all sorts of topics, but salvation hasn't been one of them. But today was totally different. Daddy talked to me about how he and my maternal grandfather prayed the prayer of salvation with my great uncle Evan one night when they stopped by his house to pick up some beekeeping supplies. He said that the next morning when he went to uncle Evan's house, he found him dead. He must have died right after daddy and Pawpaw left. Right after he asked Christ into his heart. Then daddy began to cry as he talked about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us. Daddy talked about how God will always give us a chance to accept Him into our hearts, even up until we take our very last breath. I, on the other hand was speechless because I was crying on my end of the phone. I was crying because I know that I'll never have to question where my daddy stands with the Lord.
It is well, it is well with his soul.
By the way, if you remember this old hymn most all of us have sung out of the old church hymnals, here is a video with a brief explanation of the history of the song. Listen to it with your heart, you'll never be the same again.
It Is Well With My Soul: Lyrics written by Horatio Spafford 1873