Do I thank my precious and loving husband for taking a chance on me, even though a day or two before our wedding I panicked and confessed to having rotten DNA flowing through my veins and begged him to choose another? (Incidentally, he laughed out loud and married me without batting an eyelash – but then you knew that Lord, because you heard me cry out in fear over this whole situation.) Or maybe I should thank my wonderful children who have shown me that I have risen far above the bar that my heritage so painfully held down on me. Every day that I rise and greet the day as their mother I rejoice that I took the risk and had children despite my overwhelming fear of failure.
Maybe I should go back to my early years and thank the teachers who stepped in when my world fell apart (over and over again) – like the Spanish teacher in high school who caught me cutting class and refused to be brushed aside with a shrugged answer. Her piercing eyes and firm hand on my shoulder told me in no uncertain terms that I could trust her; so I did, breaking down and confessing the shame of having a mother who had suffered a nervous breakdown that very week. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes – not pity, not horror, but rather the look that I’d always sought in my mother’s eyes. “Why, Miss ---, that’s certainly not your fault nor is it an excuse for you to destroy your own life. Now get back to class and don’t let me catch you cutting again. You need this class for college.” With that she turned on her heel and marched off. I stood with mouth agape and heart pounding. “She still believes I can make it in college!” I cried out in my head. She was right. I did. And I finished well.
Oh, Lord, help me. I can’t forget those women through the years who taught me to cook, write poetry, change a diaper, and even drive a car. How thankful I remain to those long-suffering homemakers that allowed me to park on their barstool and “visit” rather than go home to loneliness and silence or worse . . . strife. How do I overlook all these regular ol’ mom-types that hired me to babysit or tutor or tidy up; who in the process of offering me a few precious dollars that I would turn into books, shaped my character for the better? Even more importantly, how can I decide which proved the most valuable?
Tears stream down my face as I recall the most precious woman I have ever met . . . my mentor. She loved me with a deep love that I longed for forever, but found less than 13 years ago. Lord, this woman taught me to go beyond “knowing You” and begin “abiding in You” every moment of my day and all through the night, as well. She changed my life by showing me how to take all those miscellaneous pieces of "me" and make them an offering to You, rather than suffer to hide them in shame. Oh Lord, you took my precious mentor home to be with you just a few short months ago, and yet the pain I feel makes it seem like yesterday. (*sob*sniffle*)
So, you see my dilemma, Lord? I can’t write just one “thank you.” In fact, I don’t think I can even print any of this for others to read. What would they think of me . . . a child scorned by her own parents -- left lonely and alone? How can I . . .
* * * * *
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” (Psalm 27:10)
A stronger breeze turns over more pages and reveals:
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.” (Psalm 139:13)
The pages continue fluttering until they lay to rest at:
' “For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” ' (Jeremiah 29:11)
I bow my head, the tears fall freely, and I whisper, “Thank you, Lord . . . for everything.”