Faith in the Rear View

[This entry was a guest post on abundancetribe.net]

“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

“God is with me; all will be well,” is one of the last things I remember my mother saying before she died last year. In the 14 years since her stroke at age 71, it had become a mantra of sorts. It was what she would say to banish anxiety. She would repeat it every time she was in the emergency room with an infection. Or when she was moved to a new nursing home. Especially when she was afraid to get into a car from her wheelchair for fear of falling.

Little did I know when she said, “God is with me; all will be well,” as she developed pneumonia in September, that within three weeks she would indeed be with God—and all would definitely be well.

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My mother didn’t know anything about a personal relationship with Jesus growing up. She was a German/Swedish Lutheran who unnerved her parents by converting to Catholicism to appease my Irish father. Even then, faith wasn’t really faith. It was exercise. My mother seemed to worship the sacraments more than Jesus. Faith in Father, Son and Holy Spirit was never part of our home life, except for the standard grace my father sped through at dinner time.

After her stroke, she encountered Jesus as Savior through a pastor who visited her nursing home. She was born again and began daily devotions and attending on-site church services. She would fervently pray, especially in the bathroom while she waited for an aide. She would send me snippets of scripture she found in Guideposts to encourage me. It was heartwarming to witness.

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But then my mother started using her mantra inappropriately, in my opinion. She began to dole it out whenever she didn’t have another answer to a problem. One such problem was the fact that she and my father spent the money that was supposed to be saved in trust for my two developmentally-disabled sisters when my parents entered a nursing home together. My siblings and I knew that they never looked into long-term resources for my sisters, but spending that money? “God is with your sisters; all will be well,” was her response.

It angered me at the time. I panicked when I had to step in and file for disability payments my 50-something sisters were entitled to at age 22. I was stressed out when I didn’t know where they would live. My prayers were a litany of fears, rather than an exercise in trust of my Father. All seemed hopeless because I couldn’t make the right things happen for them.

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But in the last three years, God has removed the scales from my eyes and shown me His incredible power and majesty in the way He has provided for my sisters. In terms of finances, improved health, friendships, a safe place to live and the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities, they’ve been truly blessed. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that He would be so concerned for these precious ones.

I realize now that the same God who has brought so many things to fruition in the last three years, is the same God who has been their sovereign Lord from the start. It is truly miraculous how He has carried them from the moment they were born. Decades of worry over their future was nothing but wasted energy, when right in front of my eyes were daily provisions like manna from heaven. I was looking to my own strength and ingenuity, and missing the fact that God was working all things together for good all along.

Watching Him accomplish what we never thought possible has humbled me and strengthened my faith. I know that His plan for their lives could never be thwarted by my parent’s indiscretion, or by my fears and frustrations.

God is with them and all will be well.

Copyright 2019 Mary Meyer.

 

Big Brothers and the Creature from the Black Lagoon

Scream

There’s nothing I hate more than being chased.

I don’t mean being chased by someone with violent intent.  I mean the garden variety “I’m gonna get you” chase game that we played as kids.

It’s not that I don’t like fun.  Lord knows I’m always up for a game of Twister.  But “tag” and “chase” were never my favorites.  Even now as an adult, if my daughter is running up behind me, I squeal like a toddler.  I blame my brother Tim for this neurosis.

Tim is five years older than me, the third kid in our family of seven (me being the seventh and most adorable).  For some reason, he loved to scare the crap out of me when we were kids.  Maybe it was because he had an older brother who did the same and he was just sharing the McGlinn family brand of love that flowed downhill.

Whatever the reason, he loved to see me scared.

Why You Don’t Let Brothers Control the Television

My parents were too busy with all of us kids that they didn’t pay attention to what we were watching, and really, back in the ’70s, how much trouble could you find on TV?  My parents didn’t think anything of my brother sitting me down in front of “Creature Features”, “Night Gallery” and “Twilight Zone” episodes when I was five.

King Kong

Holy cow.  Imagine seeing The Creature From the Black Lagoon, the original King Kong and Godzilla movies without little kid adrenaline kicking in.  Each film produced such nightmares, that I would crawl out of bed upstairs, go down the stairs in the dark and scare my mom and dad awake and ask if I could sleep with them.  That alone should have tipped them off that something…or someone…was making me a fraidy cat.

But no.  The more scared I got, the more it busted my brother’s gut.  He would chase me up the stairs.  He would chase me down the stairs.  He would chase me around a pretend boxing ring in our living room before church on Sunday morning.

Then one day, vengeance was mine.

Why You Don’t Let Brothers Babysit

In my family, if you were the oldest in the crowd that was running around the neighborhood one day, you were the one in charge.  So sometimes  Tim was in charge of me and my sisters.

On one of many such occasions, we found ourselves in the garage of the kids across the street:  six boys who were always up for adventure and mischief-making.  One of the things they loved best was to tell ghost stories.  Even in the middle of a bright summer day, a ghost story can wreak havoc on a youngster who has seen a giant lizard crush Tokyo with his bare feet.

On this particular day, the story was about the cemetery across the highway that we could see from our neighbor’s house.  One of the boys was telling about how the “Hatchet Lady” rose up from her grave and attacked a young couple who were making out in their car.  (Note:  all of the stories involved teenagers who were kissing in cars.  Why was this the prevalent theme?  Was this a warning from our sweet Catholic school boy neighbors?  But I digress…)

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I got so scared that I ran out of the garage and across the street to our house.  In my haste, I failed to notice that my brother Tim began chasing me, but then passed me so that he could beat me there.  Being five years older and faster, he made it to the back door of the house before me, dashed in, locked it and then stuck his tongue out at me through the plate glass window that I could barely reach.

Forget fear.  Anger kicked in.  I was so mad that he was laughing at my anguish over the Hatchet Lady that I started banging on the window.  In no time, it shattered.

By this point my brother was in hysterics.  He couldn’t wait until my parents got home to tell them that I was the culprit.  He was sure that my Dad would get out “the whacking belt” that was reserved for special displays of corporal punishment.

No sooner had he started laughing however, my parents arrived home from the grocery store.  They looked at him.  They looked at me crying. It took them no time to piece together the story.  I was the innocent victim.  Tim was the evil urchin.  He was hauled off to face my father’s wrath (who after grocery shopping with my mother had had enough “merriment” for the day already, so you can just imagine.)

Fair warning:  to this day, I can’t walk up a flight of stairs if someone is behind me.  I get that startle reflex that I hate.  So if you’re coming up behind me and I turn around and slug you, please don’t blame me.  Take it up with my brother.