“Have I not commanded you? Be strong
and of good courage, do not be afraid,
nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God
is with you wherever you go.”
Two weeks ago my family and I began a new chapter in our lives. This chapter opened up not only as a New Year but it also began a new normal. My mom went to her eternal home after a hard fight with cancer.
The Word Cancer Came Into Our Home
Five and a half years ago mom learned that she had cancer. Once hearing this news and sharing with immediate family, Mom very firmly requested that we say nothing to no one. Yet, she did allow me to share with my Ladies’ Bible Study group, church family and Jim’s family here in Kentucky. I was allowed this privilege only because I live in Kentucky and she lived in Georgia. I am so grateful that Mom allowed me to share with these select few. They have held me up with love, prayers and encouragement as I took this journey. It is difficult for a girl to live away from her family especially her Mama. There is just something special about mother and daughter relationships.
Over the last five and a half years, my brother and I struggled to keep a tight lip on what was going on with Mom. Deep within our hearts we so much wanted to share with others so that she would have more people praying for her and a support system for Dad. When the topic would be brought up it was quickly put to an end. Mom would have nothing to do with people knowing what she was going through.
Needless to say, not only did I struggle carrying this secret in the presence of those who knew her but there were times when I would become frustrated and question why Mom was so hush-hush about her battle with cancer. I questioned how Mom was going to field the questions given to her as she would lose weight and she began to wear wigs. What was Dad going to tell people when Mom was not up to be out with him after a chemo session. (Mom and Dad did everything together!) What would the response be to all of those inquiries?
” I’m Fine”
Despite Mom losing weight and wearing a wig, Mom would respond those inquiries of how she was feeling with the phrase, “I’m fine.” When Dad or any of us were seen out and about without Mom we were told specifically by Mom to tell people she was fine. Mom did not want anyone to make a fuss over her. She chose to battle this beast with her own Southern Belle style and dignity. She lived fearlessly knowing that she was a Daughter of the King and that she could face anything placed before her because her strength was drawn from Christ. ( Philippians 4:13)
In her daily walk with Jesus, it was Mom’s choice to focus on the needs of others. She preferred sending cards and words of encouragement to others who were going through a storm. Not only did she chose to encourage those fighting a life storm but she chose to encourage others in their ministries, their walk with Christ and celebrate life’s celebrations with others. Mom was also my encourager in my daily walk with Christ and in my life as a mom, wife, blog writer and Bible Study leader.
On the morning of December 27, 2016, Mom took her seat at the Great Banquet in Heaven. This date was already significant to our family because it was her late daddy’s birthday. Later that morning, I opened a box of pictures to sort for the slide show that would be shown at the funeral home. The first picture I picked up was of Mom on her wedding day on her father’s arm waiting to be given away to marry my dad. What a beautiful message God gave me at that moment. Mom had taken the arm of her heavenly ushers to be presented before her King.
On the evening prior to Mom’s visitation, I prayed to God asking Him to send me something assuring me that Mom was ‘fine”. Perhaps this sign would be a butterfly in my path, a word from a friend or a feather from an angel.
As we gathered outside the funeral home to go in, Dad opened the door to let me go in first. Before I took the first step into the building, I looked down and on the threshold of the doorway was a feather. This *feather symbolizing that Mom had crossed the threshold into eternity and that I along with my family were and are under God’s care and protection.
Sunday, New Year’s Day, it was just Dad and I left at the house. Dad and I were eating breakfast and watching the birds come to eat at the feeders on Dad’s deck. Then, for just a few moments three red cardinals appeared on the deck. Again, another reminder that God was and is with us. The last three years Jim and I have lost someone of significance this time of year. The first being his dad losing his battle to cancer, the second being Jim’s favorite aunt and the third was my mom going home. For me, those three cardinals represented these three precious people that had and will continue to have a great influence on my life.
To Live Fearless
Mom may have fought in silence but in her silence she taught me the true meaning of what it means to live fearlessly in the days ahead. No matter the battle that is put before us God is with us. When we acknowledge God’s presence in the battle we are able to face the fight ahead of us and fear less.
I have adopted this “Fearless” motto for my journey ahead of me. It is through my faith through Christ Jesus that will give me the courage and strength to face whatever is before me. I can hear my sweet mama singing the lyrics below from the hymn, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow in her soprano voice. I know she didn’t worry about the future in her fight because she knew who was walking with her and she walked fearlessly each day.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.
*I have a collection of feathers all the same coloring that I have found in my path over time. They are always found in places in my path where you wouldn’t think a feather would fall. The feather found on the threshold of the funeral home is probably the most precious one yet.