Now I lay me down to sleep, the Lord I pray my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.
I remember concluding the prayers by asking God to bless my mom, my dad, my brothers, and even the smelly old cat that my brothers hated followed by a very loud “Amen.”
After 45+ years, I can still recite this prayer by heart even though I have not prayed this particular one since childhood. I have no idea how often I prayed this before bed with my parents. But the prayers helped to ease my fears and chase away the monsters I was convinced were hiding under the bed or in the closet.
My mom was always there for me to wipe away my tears, to encourage me, and to correct me in the most loving way she knew how. She is not perfect, and neither am I, but she is the perfect mom for me and God’s perfect provision. I am grateful for every day I am able to speak with her.
This blog, however, is not about my mom. Moms are irreplaceable. My aim is not to take away from the specialness of that relationship, especially with Mother’s Day approaching. Several good friends and family members have recently lost their own mom, and I know how incredibly special their moms were to them, as mine is to me. I am also writing this with the blessing of my own who was kind enough to agree to it.
A Mother’s Heart
I do believe, however, there are people who the Lord brings into our lives for a season to parent us: to gently guide, to help us through difficulties or to reflect God’s love for us. Bea was such a person for me. Today, we are laying her to rest. We are grateful she is no longer suffering and is at peace.
I met Bea almost twenty years ago. What immediately struck me was her kindness, her love for others, and her hospitality. Bea always made sure we never left her table hungry, and we always went home with leftovers. When she made lasagna, spinach would be sandwiched between the delicious layers of sauce, pasta and cheese. Her house may have been small for the size of her family, but her heart was big and she loved well. Holiday meals were served in tight quarters at the dining room table as her family expanded with grandchildren, and as she welcomed others like me at the holidays.
Bea had a ridiculously big dog, a greyhound rescue named Duke. Duke was a gentle therapy dog, and he was also tall enough to be able to nab a turkey or a ham off the table if it was too close to the edge and no one was paying attention. I have several memories of walking up to the local schoolyard with Bea and my Dad where we would let Duke off the leash so he could run in the enclosed area with my dog Casey. Duke was poetry in motion when he ran, and he was Bea’s faithful companion for many years.
A Praying Mother
Not terribly outspoken about her Catholic faith, Bea was a mother who prayed always for her family and welcomed prayer from others. Interceding in prayer for another is one of the most beautiful ways we can love one another; It is second only to laying down our lives for others as Jesus did. Bea’s faith was a simple, quiet trust which was nearly unshakable. She rarely missed a Sunday service and in her later years, attending church was difficult as she bravely battled her debilitating illness. Most believers would admit to seasons of shakiness in our faith during difficult times like she experienced, and Bea was no exception, but a posture of trust and reliance on God, no matter the circumstances, can hold us up until our faith is once again strengthened.
Prayer is a Conversation
Prayer is a gift for believers to turn worries and anxieties into a conversation with the One who can move mountains and resurrect the dead. Isaiah 54:10 assures us that we are deeply loved during seasons when it seems all is lost: “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” The compassion and love that God has for us may not necessarily mean the end of our pain and suffering in this life, but it does mean there is an end to them in eternity with our heavenly Father when we repent in this life and place our faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation.
For many of us brought up in either the Catholic or Protestant faith, it is our parents who teach us to pray as Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV):
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
In saying this, Jesus invited His disciples into a conversation with the Father, just as He is inviting you into the same conversation. Crucified on a cross for our sins, Jesus the Messiah was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding on the behalf of those everywhere who choose to place their trust in Him.
Would you consider joining Him in prayer today?
Photo credit: microgen