Since my mother's death God has brought people to me to love, care and share with me. Some of these people I have known my entire life. Others for a shorter time and some I have only met since her passing. These people have brought us meals, taken us to lunch, called to chat, shared scripture, played and cried with us. All acts that have helped our hearts to heal in small and significant ways.
At times, I find myself especially weepy for no apparent reason. The place that I have been most tearful is at bible study. I have been back at CBS approximately 6 times since my mother's passing and every stinking time I cry. I usually begin crying before we even get there. Maybe I know that it is a safe place for me. A place that is being covered with prayer where the Lord is truly present and moving in hearts. Whatever the reason, I feel the closeness of the Lord and I cry. I can go the entire rest of the week without shedding any tears but I can count on that day to bring a good cry. The kind you really only want to do in the privacy of your own home. Anyway, this week during a prayerful time at bible study I was thrown full into one of these "good cries".
When we began praying I had casually opened my bible to Psalms. As we prayed, I read. My bible had opened to the 23rd Psalm. I realize that that can happen pretty easily as it's near the center of the bible and if you cut it and open you could end up there. But then I know that God does not create coincidences. He is purposeful in everything. So there I sat on the 23rd Psalm crying my way through the reading.
Fast forward to my time at home later that day and the grief books I am reading. I just finished the first book last week and was ready to begin the second book. I sat down in the living room and opened the book. My heart grew warm and I smiled as I noticed the page right after the title page had the 23rd Psalm printed on it. Wow! Twice in one day. Certainly, the Lord wanted me to take hold of this word for myself. He wanted me to grab it with both hands and own it. It was mine! A gift from Him. A gift that He gave not just once but twice in the same day.
This Christmas season will be a difficult one for me without my mother. Some days will hurt more than others and many of them will be hard to endure but I take hope in our God who provides comfort for us in the people he sends and in His word. I am reminded of Matthew 1:23 which says:
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel-which means, "God with us."
God IS with us. God IS with me. He is near. He is closer than ever. He is alive and working daily in my life. This year I get this more than ever before. This year as I read this portion of the gospel in relation to the Christmas season it will mean something different.
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 23A psalm of David. 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD