Friday, April 15, 2011

THE CRUCIBLE OF PAIN

     As I was sifting through some pictures the other day, I came across the photo of my parents on their 25th wedding anniversary.  It was a pleasant moment to once again look on their faces that I miss so often. My father was taken from our family much too soon.  He was only 62 when he developed a rare brain virus that could not be treated and within a year, he was gone.  Three of our children never got to meet and know him.  Little did I know, though, that several years later my mother would develop Alzheimer's Disease.  For ten long years, I looked out for her interests and cared for her as best I could while we were raising four young children and home schooling at the same time.  To be certain, it was exhausting and painful to watch someone who had been so capable and bright slowly deteriorate before our eyes.
     During those days, I often asked God why this had to happen to our family.  Watching her lose the ability to speak or care for herself was hard.  However, I also came to love her in a way I had never experienced before I entered this crucible of pain.  I believed then, and I believe now that God does "work all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).  We may not understand why we have to go through circumstances like these but we know that God is in the process of creating His masterpiece in each of us when we are faced with trials.
     When I chose the title for this meditation, I selected the word "crucible" because it best represents what the believer may face in his/her lifetime.  A crucible, according to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, is a vessel usually made of porcelain or graphite, and used for melting materials at high temperatures.  It can also mean a severe trial.  Interestingly, the word is taken from the Latin word "crux" which means "cross".  Didn't our Lord tell us that we are to take up our cross and follow Him (Matt. 10:38)?  Indeed, He assured us that in this world we would face tribulations.  Anyone who has lived any time at all will admit that life is full of sorrow, sickness, death, pain and heartache.  However, the Good News is that Jesus Christ came to overcome both sin and death, so that if we believe in Him, we will not perish but have the promise of eternal life.  Further, He promised to be with us as we walk through this world.
     This faith is what helped me get through the crucible of pain I experienced.  God caused me to grow closer to Him, and ultimately led me to write a poem I would like to share with you.  It reflects some of what I had come to know about my mother during those days, and I hope you will share it with others who also might need encouragement with loved ones facing similar circumstances.  I entitled it "Love Without Words".
       As I look in her eyes,
       It's like looking in mine.
      We're so much alike
       That it's hard to to define.

     Though no words she speaks
     As she lies on her bed;
     Her eyes do the talking
     With a smile, instead.

     She caresses my face
     In a soft tender way;
     Her hands speak aloud
     What she cannot say.

     I recall as a child
     How she put me to sleep;
     With this same gentle touch
     And a love that was deep.

     Some say, "She's not there.
     It's not really her."
     But I do not believe them,
     Nor do I concur.

     For her spirit is present
     And her eyes shine with light;
     For she knows who I am,
     Though her words are not right.

     While her life's flow is ebbing,
     And she will soon slip away;
     She speaks love without words,
     So I'll cherish this day.

     My mother peacefully died in 2000.  She was a Christian who was raised in a Christian home and shared many wonderful verses that to this day I remember and ponder.  I know and have the assurance that I will see her one day in heaven because of what Christ has accomplished for both of us.  In light of what our Lord has done for us, we all can take courage as we face life's trials.  As the Apostle Paul has written, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).  If we live with this conviction, we too shall be able to overcome the crucible of pain.  Selah!

3 comments:

Patricia said...

Amen!!!

Christina Langella said...

This is so beautiful Barbara.

Thank you for sharing your mother with us and giving us a glimpse into some the experiences that God has not only carried you through, but also used to shape & form you into the graceful woman of God that you have become. Truly, you are a blessing!

My grandmother, who was the rock of our family, also suffered and eventually succumbed to Alzheimer's. When it came to watching her deteriorate each moment was like a thousand years. But this is our great hope -- though we live in a fallen world, we have everlasting hope through the blood of the lamb.

Thank you for these words which have ministered to my soul today. May God give us grace to persevere in the fiery trials that have been lovingly ordained for us by an all knowing God. "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison," (2 Cor 4:17).

All my love and blessings to you!

PS I still haven't received your email. Did you get mine?

Barbara Thayer said...

I did get your email and went promptly to the Tea Party? I loved it! Thank you for the invitation. I am so sorry that we have not been able to email for some unknown reason. Check your spam or junk file. Maybe your virus protection sent me there! LOL!

Thank you too for the kind words on my post. I shared it because I want others to know that in Christ we have hope always. You are a blessing my friend!