It is hard to believe in just a couple of days it will be 5 years since my momma went to be with my daddy in Heaven. Every year it’s hard and this year is no different. It has been a while since I wrote on here, but I thought this would be a good time to share something I had written a while back. I shared this as a devotion at my church recently. Maybe it can help someone else who might be going through the same thing.
The Mountain or the Molehill
In the early weeks of January 2012, my preacher preached a sermon and encouraged us, in order to grow our faith and strength of character in God, we needed to ask Him for a mountain. In asking God for that mountain, we were acknowledging that God would walk the mountain with us or move it if we had enough faith.
I know the power of words and what a brilliant listener God is. I was afraid to ask for a mountain because I knew if I asked God for it, He would give it to me. So instead, I bowed my head that day, and I requested a molehill.
Just a few short weeks after that sermon, God answered the prayer. If what I received was only a molehill, I’m glad I didn’t ask for the mountain.
My mother was in remission, from stage-4 lung cancer with mets to the brain, for almost a year. We were planning a cruise. It was her dream vacation. On this particular morning, the day before we planned to leave, I walked out of the kitchen, where we just had breakfast together. Moments after I walked away, I heard a dreadfully loud crash. I rushed back into the kitchen to find my mother sitting on the floor with her leg and hip bent unnaturally. I knew when I saw it that my mom had broken her hip. The cruise was a trip she would never take.
Less than a month later, while she was recovering in the hospital, she began to talk crazy and say bizarre things. An MRI showed new spots on her brain. In February, they gave us the news. There was nothing more to do. They gave her six months.
I was devastated. I had lost my father in 2009, and now it was inevitable that my mother would join him soon. The brain mets combined with the hip fracture left her unable to walk, she was wheelchair and pretty much bed bound. Initially, she went to a nursing home, but it lasted merely a few weeks. I couldn’t stand the thought of my mother spending her final days in a strange place away from her family. My husband and I packed her up and brought her to our home. Hoping my two-year-old daughter, who my momma named Stormy, would bring her some joy in her final days.
It was hard. It was more than hard, I was working a full-time job from home and dividing my time between it, my husband, daughter, and mother. It was nearly impossible, without God it would have been impossible. But, I was now momma’s sole personal caretaker. I took her to the bathroom, bathed her, prepared for her and sometimes fed her meals. It was exhausting, but it was something I knew I willing to do, something I truly believe I was born to do. People would often ask me how I did it. My answer was always “Through the Grace of God.” Towards the end, mom weighed over 150 lbs. and lifting her was harder each time. Still, I mustered the strength through my God and did just that.
There were moments I would turn up momma’s TV and go outside on the porch and scream as loud as I could. I wasn’t screaming at God. I was screaming at this horrible Cancer that was taking my momma from me. There were times when I wondered how long I could do it. But, I knew what it would mean if I didn’t have to support her anymore. I knew that when I stopped having to do those things, then she was gone from me.
There was a moment at the beginning of the 7th month after they told us we had only six left that I could see she was declining fast. It was getting harder to lift her. Her strength was failing at an alarming rate. When I stood her up from the couch on this day, I held her close and hugged her. It was hard to hold her up. She was heavy, and I was tired. I had been her caretaker so much those last few months that I had forgotten to be her daughter. I hugged her close and told her how much I loved her. She held on as tight as she could. Her strength was gone by now. That day I sat at the breakfast table and fed her. She was too weak to lift a spoon of oatmeal. It would be the last time we talked because after this day she was too weak, even to talk.
I told her how much I loved her. I told her what a wonderful mother and friend she had been to me. All the things we hope we can tell someone we love before they die. She was by far the strongest person I have ever known. But, on that morning, I told her that it was okay for her not to be strong anymore. That is was OK. The last words besides “I love you” that my mother ever spoke to me were, “Now YOU will need to be strong.”
Less than a week later, my mom passed away surrounded by friends and family and totally at peace.
I often think back to that January morning when my preacher told us to ask for a mountain. Part of me wishes I would have asked for nothing at all. Part of me is glad I only asked for a molehill. And, yet the other part, deep in my soul, knows that even though I asked for the molehill God gave me the mountain because he knew that with Him I could cross to the other side.
I will leave you with this 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.