Thursday, January 16, 2014

A True Personal Story

My mom, from a photo taken in 1993

This is just a personal story that I would like to share with all of you.

My mother, passed away in November of 1995, after a long 4 year battle with rectal/colon cancer. She was first diagnosed with this terrible disease in 1991. After what seemed like success against this disease, it reappeared in the spring of 1995, and became worse day by day. When my mother was told that there was nothing else the doctors could do, she asked that we get in touch with Howard Shockley, a Presbyterian minister whom we came to know during my dad's illness due to a malignant brain tumor. Howard himself had been diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was in his late teens, and he had promised God, that if He would heal him, he would go into the ministry. God heard his prayers, and Howard was healed.

So, my brothers and I contacted Howard, and being the good Christian man that he is, he came to visit my mother, and continued to do so on a regular basis, sometimes coming by as many as 5 days a week. On his first visit, he had decided that he was going to give my mother a Bible verse to memorize, and that he would give her a new one to memorize each week. That first, and as it turned out, only Bible verse, was from Philippians 4:13- "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me."

You would not believe the amount of faith my mother placed in that one verse. It became her all purpose verse, if one can claim such a thing for any one Bible verse. She placed so much faith in it, that Howard later said that it became a blessing for him, and he decided there was no need to bring her any others to learn.

One of the last times that she was in the hospital, she was having a very difficult time being helped in and out of bed. She had weakened to the point, that she did not have the strength to get up without help, and she experienced a good bit of pain from being gotten up, and then helped back into bed. She would be literally exhausted afterward. I was in her room, spending the day there with her, and she knew she they would soon be coming to help her out of the chair, and back into bed. She was dreading it, because she knew how tired it made her, and how much it hurt. She looked at me, and she said, "Steve, pray for me. Pray for God to help me. Ask Him to help me, so that it doesn't hurt, and so that I won't be worn out". So, I prayed, and as I prayed, my mother's eyes were closed, her hands stretched over her face, as she repeated over and over again, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me". Just as we finished our prayer, they came to get her out of the chair, and into bed. They put a strap around her waist, to enable them to help her up. When the time to make the attempt came, she came up out of that chair as if it was nothing at all, and got into that bed with no pain or trouble at all. None! One of her nurses made a comment about how that time it had been so easy, and mom told the nurse, "it was because we prayed".

Just 3 weeks later, my mom had gone into a coma at home, and my two younger brothers, Mike and Randy, were staying at home with us. We would be taking mom to the Solace Center at Mountain Area Hospice the next day, and none of us was looking forward to it as you can imagine, because we all knew mom would be leaving home for the last time.

We had been sitting up talking, sitting up late, in fact. I guess we thought we could ward that time off , keep it from coming too quickly, if we stayed awake rather than sleep. Mike decided he wanted something to read, and he found a book, called “The Bible In My Everyday Life”. It had not been taken down off the bookshelf in many years.

Now, that old book had belonged to an aunt who had died at a very young age. It was written in 1932. She had used it somewhat like a Family Bible, recording births, deaths, and other events in it. Mike handed it to me to show me something that was written in it. After looking at what he wanted me to see, I noticed that in the back of the book, it listed every day of the year, and that it gave a Bible verse for each day. I looked at the Bible verse for each of our family's birthdays, and then decided to look at the verse for the next day, which was November 7. Do you know what that verse was? "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me".

Now, I was a little bit surprised to say the least. I showed it to Mike, and he had a total look of shock on his face as well. I now know, I should not have been surprised. I know that Mike being led to choose this book was no accident, even though some narrow minded people might think it purely coincidence, I know it was purely a blessing. For when we were at a point, when we were sure that all was lost, that it was just us alone, facing this hard time, God was telling us, "I am here. I have not forsaken you. I will be with you, and I will be with your mother".

So, no matter what happens to you, to your loved ones, or to anyone else that you know, remember, God is with us always in everything, and in every way. And remember this verse, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me". I know He strengthened us.


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