By Ronda Rich/Courtesy of Biloxi - Sun Herald, Staff
I wondered the other day how a mother could even think that, let alone say it. But then Mama was a woman who defied exact definition. She was strong, smart, courageous, sometimes outrageous and, above all, ruled by a faith that was simply unbendable and unquestionable. That part of her was definable and clear: She believed unyieldingly in an Almighty God who never left her side. Even when it could have seemed that he did.
Her loss had been profound. Downright grievous. The pure wretchedness of the heartbreak had been hard to witness. I was the first one to glimpse it, watched as the pale shock of the horrible news settled over her face then dragged her shoulders down from straight to weighted down. Dazed, she handed me the kitchen phone and silently shuffled away. I finished the call she had begun then found her in the den in her favorite chair. One hand was pressed to her mouth, as the first tear slipped from her eyes. Once that tear had been brazen enough to escape, others fearlessly flowed in rapid succession.
I sat down on a footstool and scooted it closer. I took one cold hand -- like me, Mama always had cold hands -- and held it while I stroked her leg with the other. “Oh, Mama,” I whispered. “I’m so sorry. So very sorry. I know how this breaks your heart.” Her face crumbled into the ugly cry and I joined her, saddened by her loss more than mine. After all, it was her son who was gone, a child she had brought into this vale of joy and grief. Sorrow rarely tempted her to tears but this was different -- this time it refused to be turned away by her famously steely resolve. It was the kind of raw sorrow that demands respect through the currency of sleepless nights and haunting pain.
The hardest thing I have ever faced was watching her grief, though she stoically sought to navigate around the burden, never allowing self-pity an entrance to her thoughts. For Mama’s generation, especially for those stubborn mountain people from the loins of which she sprang, death was never allowed to have victory over the living. Time after time, they met death’s rudeness with a cold-eyed look and determination to focus on life, not on the grave. After that day, she refused to cry more, seeing tears as a surrender to the villainous shadow of death. The pain, though, remained.
A month before she died -- 75 days after my brother’s call away from this life -- she wrote a note to her friend Mary Jo, who, kindly, returned the note to me. She knew it would be important to the archives of my heart and that it is.
“Death has caused a void in my heart which never can be filled,” Mama had scripted in her familiar handwriting. “Continue to pray for me because prayer is what has gotten me this far.”
Then she wrote what she said so many times in her life, “It’s hard to understand but this I know: God makes no mistakes.”
See, Mama was raised by people who never understood much of what came to them in life for most of it wasn’t anything to brag on, not in those mountains in the trying years of the Great Depression. But they never questioned the mighty God of their beliefs, never challenged him on his judgment compared to theirs, never stopped loving him despite it all. They just dug in, held on and prayed for the grace to survive one more day.
“God makes no mistakes.” I read the words over and over. Mama was practicing what she had preached for a lifetime.
That’s a lesson worth toting with me on down through the journey of life.
Ronda Rich, author of “What Southern Women Know About Faith,” writes the Dixie Divas column that appears in several newspapers.
Women of Faith
By Ronda Rich/Courtesy of Biloxi - Sun Herald, Staff
- Women of Faith
It’s great to be involved with ‘Upwards’ basketball
By Gwen Williams/AKA MS Chocolate/Guest Columnist
I’m not a sports person, but every year I look forward to sharing with the children involved in the Upward Basketball program. First through sixth graders come together to experience their first sports encounter playing basketball. Boys and girls play together with the hope of building character and values for life. Excitement floods the gym as parents, grandparents, and aunts gather with various electronic gadgets waiting to film their children. The program is also a means of reaching parents with children who are unchurched.
By Kelcie Kinchen/Guest Columnist
Through life, no matter where we are, we face times that leave us with just a handful of understanding and a trunk full of confusion. Circumstances leave us standing in the road, not sure which way to turn.
It seems like everyone around you has something to offer in abundance and yet all you believe you have is not worthy of offering. In our minds, all we see is the lack but God sees the abundance around the corner of surrender.
God’s frosting covers us all
By Gwen Williams AKA MS Chocolate/Guest Columnist
Today I was in the mood to bake something different. A friend sent a recipe for fig cake, so my creative mind went right to work. I gathered all the ingredients and soon the aroma from the oven filled my home. The sound of the bell on the stove signaled my sweet masterpiece was ready. While waiting for the cake to cool, I took a bite of the sample cake I made earlier. I decided this was the best cake ever!
Taking a new look at the situation
By Kelcie Kinchen/GuestColumnist
A lot of times in our lives we run from things we encounter. We are walking along our perfect, little brick walkways, all happy-go-lucky to what we expect or hope awaits us at the end of this walk.
Miracle on the road to Emmaus
By Grace G. Booth/Guest Columnist
Two disciples traveled the road to Emmaus so caught up in their disappointment and grief they didn’t recognize the Risen Savior walking along beside them. Jesus spoke and asked them about their conversation. Still, they knew Him not. The disciples began their commentary of how the One they thought would deliver Israel had come and done wondrous things but had been taken by the chief priests, condemned to death and crucified. Their hope had died along with Christ on the cross.
Finding home in His hands
By By Kelcie Kinchen/Guest Columnist
This past August I left my home in the fine city of Picayune to do something I had never done before: to leave all I knew, everyone I have known my whole life, and everything that was comfortable in order to move to a new place where I felt in the deepest parts of my heart the Lord was calling me to.
Hit the ‘Reset’ Button
By Sandy Lemoine/Guest Writer
As I walked into the church worship center that Sunday in January 2010, the large round red sign with the word RESET struck me like a written message from God in answer to my questions in the New Year…What’s next? Where do I go and what do I do now? I knew the key was in the word “reset,” but how do I do it? Resetting is not exactly like making New Year resolutions, but more like making changes in some areas of your life. It’s like changing directions.
A mission trip to remember
By Grace Booth/Guest Columnist
The trip to Budapest, Hungary, brought an unexpected blessing for Doug and me as we participated in an outreach to over 200 missionaries from fifteen different countries in Eastern Europe.
Tammy Schaubhut will speak at Resurrection Life on Tuesday, November 1st at 6 p.m.
Schaubhut is an author, speaker, wife and mother. She has published numerous articles in Life Signs magazine and was a guest colouminist in the Picayune Item. She speaks from the heart through deep life experiences and trials. Her message will touch any woman who is facing challenges in their marriages.
Calling before comfort
By Tracy Traylor/Laurel Leader Call
When our phone rings, we stop and answer it. When God calls, we are to quickly answer and be eager to serve Him, but that is not always how the story goes. We have become so addicted to comfort. In fact, we can get so caught up in our comfort that we fail to even notice that He is calling.
- More Women of Faith Headlines
- It’s great to be involved with ‘Upwards’ basketball