The phone rang in the middle of the afternoon. My nephew spoke from the other end. He and my mom were back from the hospital. “The news is not good,” he said. Then he paused. I dreaded what would follow.
Mom had only a few weeks left to live.
Many times, since moving from the UK to the States, I fretted about my parents being ill or in an accident and how I would cope when an ocean separated us. Often I pleaded with my heavenly Father: “Lord, I believe you want me to live here, this far away, I’m relying on You when that time comes.”
Give your burdens to the Lord, says Psalm 55:22, and he will take care of you.
Now, the moment I feared had arrived.
I had decisions to make. I stood with my husband in the middle of the kitchen; our young children ran around us, and we discussed what I should do.
When would be the best time to go? When I could help the most, we agreed, and not too late to have quality time. How long should I go for? “For as long as it takes,” replied my husband. But I knew he was making a sacrifice. He had a job to do, and looking after three children at the same time would be a challenge.
We agree on ten precious days. I packed my bags and left.
I arrived a daughter, but quickly became a nurse, a cook, a cleaner, and a decision-maker as well. Each day brought a new change and a steady decline.
We had memorable moments, too. A request for a fish and chips lunch at a favorite restaurant, even though mom struggled with the short walk to the car. Getting some fresh air around the neighborhood—my brother pushed her wheelchair while I walked at her side.
Then my mom’s world became a hospital bed set up in the living room, and family constantly close by.
I witnessed no fear with what laid ahead. I learned faith could be strong towards the end. I heard only confidence and trust in her Savior. And, I gained courage as I listened and observed.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-9 (NIV)
Day ten arrived. I sat on the end of the bed, fighting back the tears. It was time to say goodbye.
I leaned over. Mom struggled to sit up. “I want to stand up and give you a hug,” she said. Thin, stork-like legs hung over the side of the bed. She wobbled as they struggled to hold up her feather-light frame. I grasped her frail body in my arms as she leaned into me.
“I love you,” I choked.
“I love you, too.”
I had never heard those three words said to me before, and I’d never said them back. Of course, I knew I was loved—sending lots of love, mom would say and I would respond the same—but I had always longed to have I love you said to me.
Deep peace flooded an aching heart. Joy flourished in the midst of sorrow.
And my God will meet all YOUR needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (emphasis mine.)
Where do you need strength for what lies ahead? What unmet need can you trust to Christ’s riches?
A little about Rachel Britton:
Since graduating from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2011 with a Masters in Religion, cum laude, Rachel has been using her training and experience to give women hope and encouragement. Mostly, though, they enjoy listening to her British accent.
Prior to this, Rachel served on ministry staff to women at Grace Chapel, a non-denominational church of 5,000 in Lexington, Massachusetts. She continues her involvement as a member of the women’s prayer team, and as co-founder of a ministry, Culture of Wellness.
When Rachel’s not writing, blogging, and speaking, she’s mamma bear to three lovable teenagers, and wife to Colin. Rachel finds inspiration in walking, biking and skiing the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She likes to travel, particularly back to England, and explore new places in the USA and further afield with her family.
Rachel blogs weekly here. You want to be on her mailing list – I promise!