For the most part, I had always defined my mother’s life as one of trouble, and I didn’t want to face the kind of pain I’d seen her endure. I was Joshua, standing on the precipice of life without my best friend and my fearless example of faith under pressure. I didn’t want to traverse new territory without her. I didn’t want to face situations that required total reliance on God as she had. But the ground I was meant to conquer wasn’t hers to possess. Maintaining faith through hardship and pressing onward through suffering, she had contributed to my life all that I needed in order to take hold of the future God had in store for me.
As I stood, holding God’s promise that He’d be with me just as He had been there for her, I was comforted that I wouldn’t be alone. But I was fearful of what lay ahead. Like Joshua, I’d faced giants before, but never without my mentor. Would I be able to cope with life without my mother’s physical presence, her prayers, or her godly influence in my life? What troubles were on the horizon of MY world?
Of a much different personality than hers, I couldn’t see myself handling similar trials with her sense of grace and beauty. In fact, that she’d failed to walk away from some of the painful experiences she’d endured had been a source of aggravation to me in my youth. In my strong opinion, I’d felt she had borne enough difficulties outside of her control that she had no need to surrender some of the areas in which she chose to submit. Analyzing “as I was with Moses…” in light of Mama’s life, I didn’t think I’d respond to harsh words, hard-headed people, or physical pain with kindness, gentleness, and acceptance as Mama had. I was more of the fiery, get-even and get-upset sort, and I didn’t want to have to rely on God as my defense--unless it would have been to take God’s offer to start a new nation and blast the stupid people in my life. But Mama, like Moses, had tried a few things her way and found out God’s way was better. She’d laid down the staff years earlier, choosing submission rather than “smiting at the rock” in a fit of anger. She’d chosen to forsake comfort in order to intercede for others. I wasn’t sure I could do the same.
However, that promise held a truth I failed to observe through the cloud of uncertainty and fear. There were mountain top moments. Like Joshua, I’d witnessed plenty of God’s special touch on my predecessor’s life. I’d fully believed Him myself. But I hadn’t shared in the fullness of the Moses-God encounters. I hadn’t gone that extra distance to the top of the mountain to sit face-to-face with God. Just Him and me. And that was what I was missing.
That place is what God wanted for me. That was His promise. Not only was He promising He’d be there to offer assistance and help through hardship. Not only was He reassuring me that the comfort of His arm would be securely wrapped around my shoulder. He was letting me know that there were summit experiences I could enjoy that went far beyond what I’d known as a valley dweller.
It was hard to say goodbye to my Moses, but God has remained faithful to every part of His promise. God allowed Mama to lead me to places rich with promise, peace, and victories she experienced only from a distance. Like Moses, not all of her longings were fulfilled. She wanted unlimited church involvement, a tender marriage relationship, all of her children living for God, and the ability to give and do for others, but she didn’t see these as close up as she would have liked. Some, she brushed her fingertips against in old age. Others did not come to pass in her lifetime. She didn’t have the fulfillment of her yearnings in the manner she desired.
But I did.
Perhaps because I sat at her feet and felt her hunger, my own appetite for these same things was developed. More than likely, however, some of Mama’s mountaintop moments were spent requesting these blessings for me. Because I enjoy the answer to her prayers, it’s as if her dreams are coming true.
From my territory of promise and provision, I continue her tradition of treasuring the presence of God. And He continues to remain faithful to His Word, unceasingly present, ever powerful, always providing, never failing…eternally a friend to my mother and me.
Tip/Tidbit: Are you facing a situation that feels uncertain? You can rely on God. Go higher with Him, and you will find that He has only the best things in store for you.