The month of October is a very special month, not only is the month of cancer awareness, but is also the anniversary of a woman I love and admired deeply.
Irene was a women of faith that lived what she preached, loved unconditionally and served selflessly to anyone that will cross her path, she had a heart of Gold and I am sure anyone can say that easily.
There is no one better than one of her beautiful daughters to share her experience and honor her on this special day. She was a warrior, a beautiful women inside and out, she left a Legacy and She will live in our hearts and minds forever!
God is going to speak to you! Enjoy.
There are months or seasons in the year that one looks forward to and prepares for with anticipation. Personally, I think Christmas is the best time of the year and I bet for many others as well. When November 1st comes around, my Christmas tree will be up and running (say Amen, if you’re with me). For others, it may be Spring or Summer where the changes in temperature, scenery, and seasons start transitioning and coming to life. Oh, the beauty of the changes in seasons!
When thinking about the changes in seasons, October has somewhat of a different effect on me compared to what I described above. Many emotions, thoughts, and memories surface at a heightened level every year. Many good and others not so great. October 7th, 2015 was the day that changed everything for me when my beloved mother was called to our promised heavenly home. After fervent prayers, three surgeries, many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation sessions, countless hospitalizations, sleepless nights, inexplicable pain, and eventually the inability to walk or eat, she was called to rest in peace.
For those of you who didn’t get the privilege to meet my mom Irene, you would have loved this amazing human being. Just so you have an idea: she was the friend who would fill your refrigerator when you didn’t have money for groceries; she was the woman who would put her kids to sleep in the same room for months at a time to open up a room for someone in need; she was the daughter who would call her parents consistently and honor them with actions and words despite whatever happened in the past; she was the mother who was not always present, but when she was, she was intentional; she was the wife who supported, motivated, and complemented my dad; she was the sister who knitted the family together and who was a best friend to each sibling; she was an exceptional servant of the Lord and of others no matter the request; she was the patient who when asked by doctors or friends how she was feeling, she would say “I’m doing well thank God”; and one of the most memorable qualities was her great sense of humor that made everyone chuckle with her sayings, imitations of people, and different accents. She would seriously make me laugh even when she was mad and venting with me. Writing all this makes me miss her even more.
Despite the belief of seeing our loved ones again in Heaven, as we go through these moments of loss, people are often quick to respond with “everything happens for a reason” or “it’s the Lord’s will.” The fact of the matter is that loss IS loss, and not one person experiencing this cares for the reason why their loved one has been taken. They only care that the person they are losing, is not going to physically be there on birthdays, holidays, in life’s celebratory moments, on family vacations, or be a phone call away. Singing “Holy, Holy is our God almighty” is not always going to make things feel better in those times, and that IS ok because grief is a real thing and the Lord is walking us through it – even though it may not feel like it at the moment. There is a season for everything as we have learned through Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 (ESV), and we must learn how to navigate each and every one of those seasons.
Before my mom’s passing, I firmly believed and declared my mom’s miracle was around the corner while praying tirelessly for victory over the cancer that was in her body. Little did I know, there would be a shift in me that led to a spiritual dry season after she was called home. The unanswered questions, anger, frustration, feelings of betrayal, and doubts that I experienced were constantly battling with my rooted faith in Christ. I would ask: “Why did a woman of God like my mom have to go through all this pain and suffering?”, “Lord, if by your stripes we are healed, why didn’t you heal my mom who had so much faith and love for you?”, and last “Why my mom Lord?” These are all questions that come to mind at times, yet, as time passes the Lord continues to work and bring about healing. People say that things will get easier, but, that is not necessarily true. The Lord equips us to better handle living life without our loved ones as He begins replacing negative memories that tend to overwhelm our minds, with happy moments we had before the illness struck or the loss occurred. One of these beautiful memories include me taking road trips with her to Tampa to see family and go outlet-shopping (a mother-daughter tradition I didn’t know we had until now).
In the past few weeks I have been reading the books of Timothy where we see how Paul was facing imminent death. All the while, Paul was preparing the terrain, encouraging, and affirming Timothy to carry on the ministry and faithfully guard the gospel Jesus left. The words legacy, contentment, and gratitude kept popping up as I meditated and prayed in my quiet times with God. In 2 Timothy 1:5, after Paul opens his letter with a greeting to Timothy, he writes: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”(ESV) This simple verse that may not have meant anything to me four or five years ago, meant the world to me and broke me down into tears. The Lord was revealing to me the power a legacy has in transcending, impacting, and influencing future generations. He was reminding me that just as Jesus left a legacy for Paul to follow and pass along to Timothy, my mother also left a legacy that inevitably dwells in me for me to continue living and sharing with others. The legacy my mom left of loving your neighbor, honoring your parents, being a virtuous woman, forgiving others, being grateful, and being joyful are all ones that I saw and experienced firsthand while growing up. He then led me back to 1 Timothy 6:6-7 where Paul wrote: “But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”(ESV) I was once again reminded that:
legacy is not just the inheritance of material things, but most importantly, the impact they left on this earth and passed along to us so that we may continue the deed.
All this to say, although we will each enter, come across, and journey through different seasons in life, every season is an opportunity for us to be refined in order to ultimately glorify our Father and become more like Christ. Whatever the legacy you’re left with (good or bad), remember that God gives us the option to transform it, improve it, and/or carry it along.
Oh, the beauty of the changes in seasons!