Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesdays with Wanda

I go to a church that has a wonderful women’s ministry. Every year they have a Christmas fellowship for the women of the church. Last year, Mom went with me and we had a wonderful time together. I was always so proud to introduce Mom to others, and she loved meeting and fellowshipping with other Christian women.

This year they had another Christmas party planned, and I knew I could not go by myself. I knew I would be flooded with memories of my mom and I sitting together in the sanctuary. I almost didn’t go at all.

But my sweet sister said she would go with me, and I am so glad she did. We had a wonderful time together. What would I do without her?

The theme for the night was “The Peace of Christmas”.

We ate all the goodies that each of us brought and then gathered in the sanctuary to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Our women’s ministry leader, Judy, opened the service with this verse…

“My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you, let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Of ALL the verses in the bible, I couldn’t believe this was the one I was hearing! That verse had been Mom’s “life verse”, and it was definitely the verse that she clung to during her death. I have never known a peace like I saw in my mom’s life as she faced death. It’s a peace that I long for and pray for each day.

As I heard Judy read that verse, I almost smiled. If was as if I could hear Mom saying, “Traci, are you listening? Don’t be afraid, sweetie, don’t be troubled, God is with you. Trust Him.”

And I felt His peace wash over me as I was reminded that He will take care of me.

Our women’s ministry also creates a Devotional Guide for Women that includes a collection of devotionals to help prepare our hearts for Christmas. It is written by the ladies of our church, and I love reading it each year.

This year, Judy asked me to write one of the devotionals for the book, and I said “yes”.

Of course I wrote it about my mom, and I wanted to share it with you. It was titled…

A Midnight Clear Moment

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them…” Luke 2:8,9

Have you ever thought about what it would have been like to be a shepherd on that clear moonlit night? It was a night like any other night. The shepherds were tending to their sheep as usual.

Then something sudden and unexpected happened. Angels appeared announcing the good news of Christ’s birth. Not only were the shepherd terrified; they probably were confused too. They may have wondered why God chose to reveal his amazing plan to them. Shouldn’t He have chosen a group of people more important and influential? It just didn’t make sense.

But then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” The shepherds didn’t need to fear this unexpected news, for it would result in great joy for all people. They heard the good news, trusted God, and traveled to Bethlehem to experience something far greater than they could have ever imagined….the birth of Jesus!

Our lives can be a lot like that of the shepherds. We go about our daily routines doing what we always do, when something totally unexpected happens. And a lot of times it just doesn’t make sense. That’s how I felt when I found out my mom had terminal cancer. Just like the shepherds, I was terrified. Have you ever been there?

But during her illness, Mom told me something that I will never forget. She said, “I may not understand God, but I trust Him.” She was not afraid of dying because she knew the “good news of great joy that will be for all people.” She knew that because of Jesus she would have life everlasting, and she was able to experience a “peace that passes all understanding” even in the darkest of nights.

Dear Jesus, when things happen to us that we don’t expect or understand, I pray that you would help us to trust you—knowing that you will bless our lives in ways that we could never have imagined. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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To all of my sweet blogging friends, if something unexpected or difficult has come into your life, I pray that you would know that God loves you, He knows what you are going through, and you can trust Him.

Have a blessed day,


21 comments:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful post. I really need to hear this today especially!

    Leigh Ann

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  2. Dear Traci, my mother passed away 5 years ago. She too lost her life here on earth to cancer. Your thoughts regarding your mother are so closely alined to mine, even after all these years. I don't think one ever really gets "over" loosing their mom, or anyone so endearing to them. However, I feel that I can handle my emotions better now, than I once could. I look forward to Wednesdays, and reading about you and your mom. Thanks for sharing your memories and love for your mom, and Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas.
    Glenda

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  3. Merry Christmas Traci. Thank you for sharing your Mom with us. By doing so, you have comforted me over the loss of mine.

    Something that caught my attention is the peace your Mom had while facing death. That was one of the things I was so in wonder of with my mother. The grace she had as she made the decision to stop her NG tube nourishment and the peace as she waited to pass. It is amazing the lessons we learn from them even when they don't know they are teaching us.

    Have a very Merry Christmas and know your Mama is up there smiling down on you and very proud of her sweet daughter.

    ~Lanie

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  4. Dear Traci. I'm always so touched by your posts. I know your mother is so proud of you.

    May you family enjoy all the blessings of the season. Merry Christmas. Hugs...Tracy :)

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  5. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing about your Mom. Your devotional really spoke to me. God bless you and your family!

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  6. Thank you Traci for sharing such a beautiful post!

    God Bless,
    Gail

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  7. Beautiful post ... thanks for sharing.

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  8. Traci, I am so glad Cyndi went with you. What a blessing for both of you.

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder that God is indeed with us. That is what Christmas is all about. Immanuel.

    Merry Christmas!

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  9. Traci, you are always such an inspiration just like your mom. I hope you and all your family have a very Blessed Christmas. I know this one will be very different without your mom present, but I do know she will be with you in your hearts and memories. I'm sure you can hear her singing with the angels. Hugs, Marty

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  10. Thank you for sharing such a nice post. Your mom must of been a wonderful person! I can tell you have a lot of her qualities just from visiting your blog! I hope you have a Very Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing your blog, it's terrific!!

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  11. thank you for sharing, traci....i needed that. merry christmas, my friend!

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  12. Traci
    Okay... that one just brought immediate tears! Any of us who have lost our moms, feel it so much especially at Christmas! What a sweet treasure God gave you and your sister at the Christmas party. And you know... that is EXACTLY what your mom would be saying to you, and mine to me.
    Enjoy your Christmas with yur beautiful family, as our loved ones are enjoying it with Jesus.

    Love,
    Sonja

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  13. Hi Traci
    I read your blog and just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and your family this Christmas season. The first year I didn't have my mom anymore was so tough. After 10 years, its bareable but I still miss her more than words could ever say! I'm glad you have your sisters and Dad to lean on.

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  14. Such a beautiful post ~ thank you so much for sharing. I think it would be wonderful to attend a church like yours with the women's group. My mother was ill for a very long time and once while she was in the hospital the Dr's told us she was in a coma and death was imminent. 45 minutes later, she was awake and trying her best to talk. She'd had a major stroke and her speech was affected initially. We finally got her quiet for awhile and I was sitting in the room with her. There was this overwhelming peace that came into that room and washed over me. It was so incredible that I really cannot describe it. My heavy heart was lifted and I thought...whatever is coming, God is watching over us. I tend to think that this peace is what your mother carried with her.

    I hope that you and your family have a blessed Christmas. I so admire your strength!

    xo

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  15. Dropping in on Christmas Eve to tell you I'm saying a prayer for you. (I love this post.)

    It's getting close to the 4 year anniversary of my mom's passing (Dec. 30 2005) I miss her profoundly at this time of year. Thinking of you as you go through your "firsts" without your mom on this side of eternity. Hugs~
    Robin
    All Things Heart and HOme

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  16. Thank you for sharing this. My husband lost his job this past year and I wonder how we'll get through sometimes, but this helps me remember to trust and have faith. Thanks again.

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  17. I'm so glad I found your post tonight. A good friend of mine's sister just found out she has 3-6 months to live (bone cancer). I love that verse you quoted that was your mom's favorite...it's one I will give to my friend's sister to cling to in the coming weeks and months.

    Have a blessed and Holy Christmas season!
    Judy

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  18. This post really touched my heart and I really needed to read it tonight. Merry Christmas to you and your family.


    Hugs,
    Lee Laurie

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  19. A wonderful devotional! The shepherds not only put away their fear, but stepped out in faith to find the Babe and then proceeded to tell all they could about all they had heard and seen! Your Wednesday's With Wanda is so inspiring! Thank You so much for sharing!

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