A Rose From My Mother

my mothers rose

Photography by Julie Sheppard

I took this picture after the memorial for my mother in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. She had planted this rose bush in her yard. After the service this beautiful rose stood out against the desert that surrounded it. At that time my heart was broken and my grief was overwhelming. I saw only a rose and knew that she had planted. Today this picture spoke to me. Her life had many harsh times and she survived and even bloomed.

Mom Acton Ca

She was an amazing woman and she made sacrifices that cost her more than I had ever known for most of her life so that I could live and still be here today. Now as I look at this rose I see more than a rose. I am learning a lesson. Life can be harsh and cruel for many of us. Yet no matter where you are or what cruelty may surround you, love and life can still prevail.

I still miss my mom and always will but my thoughts of her bring me joy and she is still in my heart. She was a loving mother and a beautiful and hard working lady.

Good news comes but sometimes you have to wait.

With so much of my testimony being about pain and abuse I thought it was time to share a small part but a part of my life that had a lot of impact and as painful as it was there was great joy when the news finally came.

Mom Acton Ca

This April it will be five years since my mother suddenly died of a stroke. Yes this is a sad fact. I love my mother and miss her. Yet I am not focusing on this right now.
You see when she died I did not know where she was with Jesus. We had finally started having a real relationship and mending old wounds. We were finally actually talking. I looked forward to our Thursday phone calls. Something I miss now that she is gone. I know this is sounding sad to you but it this story  does have a happy ending.
Okay a year and a half goes by after her death with this nagging question. Will I ever see her again? Did she receive Jesus as her Savior? I thought that I would go the rest of my life on earth without ever knowing till I was in Heaven. God was gracious to me and did not make me wait that long though. A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving I read an email from my Auntie Mary in Hawaii. In the email she included a video clip of the praise and worship from her church. As I watched the dancers and listened to the music play, I read her email which said, ‘This is where your Mom gave her heart back to Jesus’. My mother had recently went back to Hawaii for her aunties funeral and while there she went to church with my Auntie Mary. The news that I had so long waited for had finally come.
I still miss her and love her, but I am grateful that she is waiting for my by my Saviors side and our life together is not over. I thank God that this news finally came.

mom-j-n-me

Here is a video of the praise and worship from that church.

Holidays are not always happy days / Reminders Of Painful Goodbyes

Mary was there when Jesus was crucified. She watched her son die. The news of being blessed with a child has now turned into heartbreak.

Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)  Birth of Jesus Foretold

  In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed[a] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[b] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”[c]

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[e] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

What a blessing. She is to be a mother. She will conceive and carry a life into this world. What joyful news. How full of joy would she have been if she knew that this child she was being blessed with was going to die? Yes this is the reason He was born. Jesus was born to die for all of our sins. His birth had purpose and so did His death but does this knowledge stop the pain? No it does not.

I have a daughter who is alive but I am not allowed in her life and I have discussed the reasons for this in previous posts. Yet the pain of the loss of her presence I believe pales in comparison to those who have children whose lives were cut short. Unfortunately I know too many who have lost their children and my heart breaks for them but I do not know their pain. Mary knows their pain. She brought a child into this world and then watched Him die at the age of 33 years.

John 19:25-29 (NKJV)  Behold Your Mother

   Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

It Is Finished

28 After this, Jesus, knowing[a] that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

Is there anything I can do for these friends who have had to say goodbye to their children that will make anything better? The answer is no. They have lost a treasure no word, gift, or action can replace or make better. All I can do is be here for them. If they want to talk, I need to just listen. If they cannot or do not want to talk then just be there silently and love them. I cannot fix them and they do not expect me to.

Telling them that their children are in a better place does not ease  the pain of their loss in this world. And please do not tell them it was God’s plan. I cannot believe that it is God’s plan for a child to die if that is the case then why do people care about abortion? (Okay that is a rant for another day.) Loss cases pain and once a person is gone no mater the age we feel the pain of that loss. I am not writing this as an instruction manual to go remove the pain, but to remind us all that loss is painful and the loss of a child cannot be made better. Holidays are not happy and joy filled occasions for these parents. Let us give them compassion and love.

Thankfully God knows their pain and their grief and He can give them what we cannot.

Prayer

Father in Heaven, comfort those parents who have children who have left this world. You know their pain and sorrow and I know that You cry with them. Thank you for loving them as a parent for You are the Father. Give them peace that comes only from you, I ask this in Your Son’s Name Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

 

Prayer Request/Nov. 19, 2016

Calling all prayer warriors. A need for your prayers for a young man who recently lost his mother in a house fire is having her funeral today. It is hard enough to lose a loved one, but my heart breaks for this young man. The last conversation he had with her, he told her he was not going to have anything to do with her till she quit doing drugs. Unfortunately she died the day after. It is not that he said anything to her that was wrong, but it is the fact that she is gone and they never had a chance to repair their relationship. I have had a similar experience and have some idea of the guilt he is carrying around with him. She is gone but the pain remains. Please pray for him and his siblings.

Remember Them/Isaiah 56:5

Today is the anniversary  of a day we should never forget. September 11,2001. So many lives lost. Attacks on American soil. The Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 93. A nation pulled together for a time. Let us remember those whose lives were taken that day and due to the events of that day. Remember them and unite in the love of Christ once again.

Isaiah 56:5

To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.

A Verse From My Mom’s Bible 1 Corinthians 13:13

1Corinthians13vs13

1 Corinthians 13:13

1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Over the last few years it has been my go to scripture when I have been faced with a problem or under attack. It has taught me how to conduct myself and how to love those who do not love me. So as I read through the pages of my Mom’s Bible it touches my heart that a verse in this chapter meant enough to her for her to underline. Giving us more in common. Though she is gone I can read the same pages she touched and see which ones stood out for her.