Have you ever noticed that when we suffer deeply, the cultural niceties and religious platitudes we have lived by and spoken in the past, fall to the wayside. Raw and brutally honest words of lament leave our lips. Words that reveal what has always lurked in our human hearts: unbelief and distrust, brokenness and wounding. God brings it all to the surface to begin a work of deeper heart healing, just as He did in Moses:
Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm and oppression to this people? Why did You ever send me? [I cannot understand Your purpose!] Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has harmed and oppressed this people, and You have done nothing at all to rescue Your people.”
EXODUS 5:22-23 AMP
But it is this uncovering, this emptying of ourselves that makes room for truth and grace to do its work in us. It is what lifts our burdens and restores us unto God and unto others through Him. It is what enables us to hear and heed the Voice of God:
I have also heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, whom the Egyptians have enslaved, and I have [faithfully] remembered My covenant [with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]. Therefore, say to the children of Israel, ‘I am the Lord , and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will free you from their bondage. I will redeem and rescue you with an outstretched (vigorous, powerful) arm and with great acts of judgment [against Egypt]. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who redeemed you and brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel); and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord [you have the promise of My changeless omnipotence and faithfulness].’ ”
EXODUS 6:5-8 AMP
I watched my Mum walk through her own exodus: glioblastoma multiforme. The same cancer that came into the news when a young woman chose to forego the horrific suffering it causes to end her own life. It was deeply traumatic to watch this cancer steal, kill and destroy my Mum’s earthly tent. But as that cancer took, took and took from her body, God gave, gave and gave spiritual life to my Mum and to us all.
Human sin caused illness, disease and death to enter our world. My Mum was not without sin. We are not without sin. But God’s compassions faileth not:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ROMANS 6:23 AMP
In the midst of one of the most horrific of diseases, God began to release my Mum from her earthly cage and usher her into the truth of her eternal heritage in new and stunning ways.
Glioblastoma multiforme took away my Mum’s social filter. This, living like each day could be her last and the godly wisdom birthed through the Christian counseling diploma she completed in her final months, brought the beauty of God, truth kissing grace, to the surface.
My Mum began to uncover secrets that had been swept under the carpet, she began to speak truth she had withheld in the name of “grace”. My Mum sought forgiveness, openly shared of lacking boundaries in her life, of not seeking the rest she should have and how that negatively impacted our family, her children, the most. My Mum lamented past decisions, wrestled with her present and her past, seeking God in it all.
What my Mum truly believed and thought came to the surface, her doubts and her fears, and God met her so powerfully in these pure exchanges with Him and with us. Sometimes what she spoke deeply hurt us and yet her genuineness was also so refreshing because it showed us what she had been thinking all along. This may have caused major friction at times, but it was precisely this friction that began to chip away at my own defenses and maybe at others’ too.
God was purifying my heart to commune with Him, and with others, in Spirit and in truth, through the power of Jesus at work in my Mum. He was uncovering what was still shrouding His beautiful pearl, the meaning of my mother’s given name. For, my mother was hearing and heeding her Heavenly Father’s call:
Luke 8:16-18 ESV
16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
Mum and our eldest on one of my parents’ many visits to our home in the Netherlands, less than three years before she entered heaven’s gates. She would have celebrated her 65th birthday on the 15th of this month.
Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall:
When I think of those days
I now remember more
More than the pain
The sorrow, the fear.
I remember you
Shining the light
The bright of your sparkle.
That day before operation D-day
All I saw
On your face
Joy in our midst
Thankful to be together
Gathering us beneath your wings
Like a mother hen, her chicks.
We, we were scared
You were His peace
Calming our souls.
Each day you drunk
To the max
Even when you couldn’t
His peace upon you stayed
As a fantail
You’ve always sung His song
To us, and still do.
We buried your body
But you live in us still
That smile, that bubbling of life
You have given your children and theirs.
Your gift from above
In surrender you poured to the max
That our hearts would remember.
Death is not your end
Only the beginning of more
For all of those prayers you once prayed
His Words you plentiful spoke
The salt of His favor
They’re birthing a sea of abundance.
You’re very much living, alive
A cloud of witnesses above us
You’re watching and waiting
For the day
We’ll see with you too