Sometimes faith is shades of gray. As some of you know who have been reading my blog my mother died in January of 2011. It has taken years to go through her things and absorb the life I never learned about. There are some things I still don’t understand, family history I don’t know. But through her death God opened a door.
Although she made sure my brother and I were baptized, attended Sunday school and church every week, it was only out of duty and respect to my God Mother Granny Turcotte. After we were confirmed, she never stepped foot in church again. The topic of religion and faith often brought a scornful look to her face and I never knew why because my faith has always brought me a great deal of comfort.
I grew up in a small country church, Grace Episcopal in Broad Brook Connecticut, and God brought me to the Lutheran church in college. My church home now is Missouri Synod Trinity Lutheran in Murdock Nebraska.
Not only did my Mother cut herself from God, but from family and friends. She didn’t think it was important to create relationships with relatives and her children. I rarely saw any of my aunts and uncles who lived in Oklahoma and California. The few cousins I knew as a child drifted as I got older.
There was one family member that consistently and faithfully maintained contact, a niece, my cousin Gail. I found saved cards, photos, and letters in my Mothers desk of an older cousin I never knew and never met. In February a forwarded letter from Gail arrived in my mailbox, so I reached out with the news of Mom’s passing, including my email address. An email arrived a week later.
Here is where God’s grace and divine intervention becomes apparent.
Gail and I learned quite a bit from each other the next week. Her Mother (Mom’s sister) was also not religious. We lived very parallel lives and had similar experiences and troubling childhoods with both of us having a difficult relationship with our Mothers.
During the normal course of telling each other about our lives Gail stated that she is a faithful member of Missouri Synod Trinity Lutheran Church in Woodward Oklahoma. This news brought goosebumps, tears to my eyes, a lump in my throat, and a prayer of thanks to God. How can this be a coincidence? I believe it’s not.
What does it mean? I don’t know. But I do take comfort in this has to be a sign, a message, an indication of God’s hand in our lives. Acknowledgment that to everything there is a purpose. Wait and the message will be revealed. Listen and hear God’s word in the world around us, from the people around us.
Better yet, when you find yourself in church pray for your family, your friends, those who have lost faith, who are lost. The Lord Jesus Christ will find them and guide them home. Gail’s Mother, my aunt, and the last of the five brothers and sisters, died last week. I truly believe our prayers that were delivered up to God were received and now our Mothers are safely and lovingly in the arms of Jesus and are at peace.