Shelbi


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When my mother’s eyes shut as she lay to rest was the moment God began to open mine.

A little over a year ago, the Lord called my mother home. I held her in my arms as she took her final breath on earth and breathed in the fullness of heaven. She had been battling stage 4 esophageal cancer for almost 2 years. Last February, it quickly spread to her brain and took over.

When my mom first told me she had cancer she made me promise to never be mad at God no matter what the outcome. She also let me know that she had begun praying fervently for this situation to allow my family’s faith to increase. At the time, I didn’t fully understand what that meant. I grew up in a strong Christian household but I somehow had allowed God to become nothing more than a safety net for me. He was my eternal security, meaning no matter how badly I messed up I was still ‘safe’. I had placed God in a tiny box that I only opened up when I needed him to come out and fix my mistakes. When I moved to New York City at age 19 to attend college, I was only driven further away from the Lord. My lifestyle quickly became one consumed with school, multiple part-time jobs, and the city’s party scene.

Many have told me that my mom prayed relentlessly for my family and me, so much more than we know. A praying mother is a very dangerous threat to the enemy. Prayers are also eternal; they don’t expire. They are as incense set in gold bowls sitting before He who sits on the throne (Revelation 5:8). I imagine her sitting before the throne with her gold bowl, lifting up her prayers and praises to the Lord. I believe, because of this, her prayer requests are manifesting right in the middle of my life.

After living in New York City for 6 years, I decided to move back home to Louisville, Kentucky. I made this decision shortly after my mom passed in order to be close to my family as we heal. God has also given me a new best friend, my now fiancé (who I met the day after my mother passed away). He encourages me daily to seek after the Lord with my whole heart.

In my quiet time I spend with God, He is revealing to me more and more the beauty that can come from these ashes—my precious mother’s ashes. When I am missing my mother so badly that I can’t even formulate words, I stretch out my hand and place it in His. He “is able to do exceedingly more above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) I know that my pain has a purpose. My life is no longer about me or my pleasures and desires. It’s about extending my soul to the hungry and satisfying the afflicted soul. And as I let Him guide me, He is turning my mourning into dancing, my sorrow into joy. God is comforting me in my suffering so that I may be able to comfort others who are experiencing pain in their own lives. But I have to walk through it with God leading me, before I can truly relate to and provide comfort for others.

If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,

And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

The LORD will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:10-11

I don’t believe God took my mother away from me so He could bring me closer to Him, but He has definitely used her death to wake me up to who He is and the perfect love that He has for me. My eyes are being opened to see how He truly can work all things for His good. He can take the loss of my best friend, my mother, and turn it into a beautiful message to share with others.

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#hope #adversity #purpose #family

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