I want to tell you a story. It’s a true story, about a little girl who was born, the oldest of five children.
It was not an easy family to grow up in. Both of her parents were alcoholics. Multiple kinds of abuse were the norm. When her parents went drinking and left her and her siblings alone, she was the one to take care of the younger ones. There wasn’t anyone else to do it. Life felt pretty hopeless.
Until a friend took her to church. The church gave her a safe place. People cared about her there. No one hit her. And she found a Father who truly loved her. He considered her valuable, understood her hurts, and promised never to leave or forsake her. It was, in so many ways, her salvation.
She married young, having four kids of her own. She vowed to give them the kind of family life she didn’t have. She was the team mom for Little League, room mother who made the best cupcakes eve, Girl Scout leader. And she taught Sunday school so that other kids would know the same hope that someone had once shared with her. Her own kids helped her there, and many were the times they would hear her say, “Stand still, and see the wonders of God.” That’s how she was, always there for her kids.
I know these things, because she was my mom.
As Mom got older she developed Parkinson’s disease and its related dementia. The mom who had been the rock in our family slowly disappeared, leaving a frail, anxious, and dependent lady old beyond her years. But even in that there was much of God’s grace.
There’s one day I’ll never forget. It had been a hard day for mom, a day in which she struggled to form words, and when she did they skittered between long ago events and today, making little sense. She grew increasingly fretful at her inability to communicate, so in hopes of calming her I asked, “Mom, do you know how much Jesus loves you?”
In her only lucid moments of the day, she answered, “Yes. He’s coming for me, you know.”
Stunned, I paused. I had heard of people seeing Jesus right before they died, but surely she wasn’t that bad yet! Then I heard the motorcycle roaring down the street.
“Mom, do you mean the motorcycle?”
“Yes,” she replied.
Laughing a bit, I said “I don’t think Jesus needs a motorcycle!”
“No,” she admitted. “But sometimes He uses one anyway.” Pausing, she went on to say, “I see Him sometimes.”
“What does He look like?”
“He sits on a throne.”
I have absolutely no doubt that she did see Him, and I am so grateful for that time when she was comforted by remembering His love for her.
We knew Mom’s time was short right before she died, December 18 of 2007. My sisters, my dad and I were holding her hands. And while I would not wish Parkinsons on anyone, I am especially thankful for that last bit of time to say all those things that needed to be said: thank you, I love you, and good-bye. Straight from our hands to Jesus.
Why do I tell you this story? Because it was a follower of Jesus who told my mom how much He loved her. It was at church that she found hope and a safe place as a hurting youngster. Because others shared their faith, Mom met the Savior who was able, through her, to break the cycle of addiction and abuse in her family. And He gave her own kids a mom who taught us to love the same God who first loved her.
There are so many children like my mom who need to hear this incredible good news.
Please, keep telling those kids in your area of influence about our perfect Father, and that He is the truest place of security there is.
Keep telling them that He loves them so much that He sent His Son, and that His love will never fail.
Keep telling them, because while you may never know which kids or which lives were changed because of your words, someday others like me will be eternally grateful that you did.
To God alone be the glory.
Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.
It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
1. When did you first believe that God so loved you that He gave His only Son?
2. Who was it who led you to faith in Jesus?
3. Take a few minutes to call, email, or write that person, thanking them for their role in leading you to know Jesus.
Father, I am grateful for those who shared their faith with my mom. They shared in such practical ways that she came to know you for herself as a result. Please, bless those who loved You, loved her, and loved You with her. As a result, so many lives are different, to Your honor and glory.