Recently, my mother died. It has been a time of grief, letting go, and reprocessing God’s purpose in my separation from my family for much of the last 30 years. There is much I have missed. Sacrifices have been made.
When I returned to the U.S.A. to start grieving with my four siblings, our memories started surfacing as we went through our mother’s things. I caught glimpses of what it meant to her to have us so far away, and I was reminded that I was not the only one who felt the void. She did, too.
My mom kept transcripts of our email and letter exchanges, boxes of pictures we had sent, and letters and cards our children had made. She hung onto the pieces of us that she had available. At times, she must have wondered, too, why the sacrifice was necessary.
We found many things of interest as we sorted her life’s possessions: innumerable journals, prayer books, and Bibles she owned and obviously used. Her prayer books seemed too personal to read entirely, so I chose one of her Bibles. It is a dark burgundy, leather-bound New King James version filled with her colorful underlining, penciling and scattered notes.
Reading her Bible has been comforting. The other day, as sadness overwhelmed my sense of focus, I began reading through the Psalms again. David so aptly describes the depth of his emotions, pouring out the workings of his soul and mind into the ears and heart of God. Many times he echoes my heart, and I say “Amen,” finding comfort in the fact that he experienced the same questionings and yet remained steadfast in his trust.
When I read Psalm 90, verse 17 leaped off the page: “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.”
To me, this means the years of separation and heartache, sacrifice and hardship are worth it in the perspective of eternity. There is eternal value and purpose. God establishes the work, and the results are His. He acknowledges “the work of our hands,” but He is responsible for the dividends.
I continue working as He directs, but I do not need to fret about what I have given up or lost out on. I do not need to worry about who will carry on this work when we are gone—because He will establish: “to make stable or firm; to fix immovably or firmly; to set (a thing) in a place and make it stable there; to settle; to confirm” (Webster’s Online Dictionary). Praise God! You will see Palawano people in the kingdom!
This truth puts grief into perspective, does it not? There is every reason for us to continue working together for the salvation of souls. I praise God for you and your prayers for us and for the people God has also put on your hearts—the Palawano.