A wise woman once told me, God’s timing is always perfect. My mother told me these five very powerful words just hours after learning she had an inoperable form of cancer. These words might not seem like much; in the grander scope of things, when you look outside yourself & try to see through God’s eyes, you see the immense weight of those words.
After my father returned home from being in the nursing home, I felt the ‘Trial by Fire’ I walked through with my dad was finally over; he was now safely back home with his family. Even though the trial was so excruciating to walk through, God saw me through it. I would now rest for a while with Jesus right by my side; God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed me to have that reprieve which would last for 13 days.
If you read my ‘beauty for ashes’ blog, you remember the phone call that changed my life forever – where my mother and I learned of the tragic death of my oldest brother. It seemed a phone call with mom returned full circle on March 13, 2017. My mom called to tell me she needed me to take her to the emergency room. She had been a borderline type 2 diabetic for a few years but was able to control it with diet & exercise. For the last week or so, she began to feel quite ill; instead of getting better as time passed, she was getting worse. She naturally assumed that her symptoms meant she would now require insulin. Her doctor’s office couldn’t work her in, so she called & asked if I would take her to the hospital. We had prepared ourselves that once she was on the insulin, & a little bit of a life change, things would go back to normal. Oh, how we were wrong!
Yet – God’s timing is always perfect.
So, I picked her up & we were off to the hospital. Once we arrived, they got her checked in, drew blood, & ran several other tests; all that was left for us to do was to wait. Several hours later, I grew restless and impatient. After all, mom just needed insulin, right? Couldn’t the doctors hurry up? I never once thought something other than her diabetes would be found to be wrong with her; the doctors would fix her good as new and I would bring her home, and I would go back to ‘life as normal’. Finally, the doctor came back in with some of the results.
A blood test for pancreatic cancer came back with extremely high numbers, and there were other problems where she would need emergency surgery as her body was shutting down; she was in critical condition. Another test showed an inoperable mass in her pancreas – this was the death blow in its certainty… I was clearly in denial at this point. I remember thinking “not all the tests are back, and maybe the blood test is wrong and she will be fine”.
The surgery I could comprehend, needing insulin, I could understand. Treatments or surgery were all things I realized had to happen to help my mom be ‘good as new.’ Cancer, on the other hand, hit me like a punch in the gut; it came out of nowhere! My mom was reasonably healthy. A routine check-up three months earlier, where they ran some of the same tests, all came back normal! I couldn’t, wouldn’t accept that my mother had terminal cancer and there was no hope for her. Surely the tests were wrong!
I tried to listen as the doctors explained my mother’s condition, but I didn’t fully comprehend. My mom, on the other hand, knew the full weight of what the doctors were telling her. She knew the success rate was slim to none using chemotherapy or radiation. She decided against these treatment options; she wanted to enjoy what time she had left with her family. They were admitting her into the hospital & scheduling a surgical procedure that would hopefully help her and give her more time, as time was not on her side at this point.
Knowing they were going to transfer her into a regular room, I left to go pick up my older sister. I called and gave her the basic information I had, but knew she would be frantic. At this point, I was numb inside and didn’t know what to think or how to feel. I was in denial but I had to prepare myself emotionally and tried to remain calm. I now had to deal with talking to my sister and helping her to be able to accept the news. A few hours later, my sister & I arrived at her room, & she told us two things. 1 – that she was at peace with this (meaning the fact that she had cancer) & 2 – that God’s timing is always perfect.
Hearing my mom say she was at peace with having cancer, I could barely comprehend. I was NOT at peace with it at all! I hadn’t accepted that news and refused to accept it! It was as if someone had played a cruel cosmic joke, and I was the butt of that joke. But then to hear her say, “God’s timing is always perfect” was too much for me and I could feel myself losing control inside. Inside I was screaming: “perfect? how can you EVEN say, ‘God’s timing is always perfect?‘” “This is the FARTHEST THING from being perfect!” “I just got dad home from the nursing home, & you hit my mother with cancer, God?” “Why would You do this to me, God – Why would you do this to HER?”
These were all things I screamed inside that day, & have screamed many days since. Even in 2020, as I write all this out, I still struggle with it. I was angry with God for a long time, but I never stopped believing for one moment that God could or would save my mom.
I had seen God work a miracle as He brought my dad back from the brink of death. Inside, I was sure that God would heal my mom as He did my dad. I believed this as fact, and that her healing was a done deal. I had the kind of faith that moved mountains when it came to my mom and the belief that God would heal her. Of course, rational thinking tried to invade my mind during this time as well. I knew that God wasn’t a magic genie that I could force to do my bidding. I knew that God would do what He felt was best. Yet, I still held onto faith that I would see a miracle and that He would heal my mom.
Because – God’s timing is always perfect.
I had to find some sliver of hope – Mom’s…not…going…to…die!
All I could think about was how God saved my dad from death, & He would save my mom, too; I believed with every ounce in me that God would perform a miracle and heal my mother. My sister started doing frantic research – any reported cancer cures, my sister read them all. My sister did find a few things that did seem worthwhile to try, & mom was willing. Surely God would heal her through these natural means? After all – “God’s timing is always perfect,“ just as mom said, right!
On the outside, I remained calm for my mom and everyone else (even during the months that followed) and never once complained, or told her or anyone else how scared I was inside or that I feared I couldn’t handle all the responsibilities now placed upon my shoulders. I never broke down in front of her that I didn’t want to lose her, as I didn’t want her to worry about me. I guess you could say I hid my feelings well from everyone around me, as I had to be strong for my sister and my children. I think to some degree I haven’t fully grieved over everything that happened (nearly three years later).
I always enjoyed listening to the Christian radio station K-Love; it was what gave me the most comfort during that painful time. A song I had never heard before by Casting Crowns called Oh My Soul was frequently played back then. Listening to that song helped me to cry out and to continue leaning upon Jesus to take care of my mom. Listening to that song also spoke to the darkness within my soul; Jesus used K-Love and the music they played to carry me through the next several months, and God is still using K-Love to help heal broken hearts.
Over the next nine days, mom underwent three surgical procedures to put in a stent, that would give her a little more time. Then, she was finally able to come home. Because she had made peace with her cancer, she started final preparations to get all her affairs in order.
After mom came home from the hospital, God began speaking to me again, much in the same way He did in regards to my father. I felt a desperate urgency inside that I had to give her, her own Celebration of Life party – just like I had given my dad the year before in 2016. I still clung to the hope that God could save my mom (my dad was living proof that miracles do happen). I also had to accept that God might instead call her home to her eternal home.
I knew I had to plan this celebration for her before she would get too sick & not be able to attend. With the help of my mother in law, we designed a celebration of life party for her, seven days later. It was our way to show her – tell her, just what she has always meant to us as a mother & grandmother.
Yet, I felt something was missing – something that a mere party could not express. What could I give my mom that summed up the totality of my life, being my mother, & to thank her for training me up in the Lord? The best gift I knew to give was a song specifically written just for her. I had seven days in which to write and record the song & then create the music video. I would present the video to her at the party. I knew that Jesus Christ was with me during those seven days as I wrote this song for her.
For – God’s timing is always perfect.
Much like I had tried to plan a surprise party for my dad, I attempted to surprise my mom as well. She ended up finding out about the party due to a mix up in communication with a neighbor whom we invited, but who thought she had passed away. I honestly don’t think I could have gotten her to come, had she not found out by mistake, as she was in so much pain; yet she came anyways, not just for me and my sister and the grandsons, but also, I believe she came for herself. We all needed the healing that came during this celebration party. Sometimes the little things we feel are blunders or mistakes, quite possibly are God’s way of getting something back on His path and His will.
We honored my mother on March 27, 2017. We praised her for being a wonderful mother & grandmother as well as a beloved daughter of Jesus Christ. The only thing she was not aware of was the song I wrote for her that I entitled I Am Blessed (A Song for my Mother). It was the best way I knew to tell her, just what she has meant to me, my entire life.
Shortly after her party, my mother took a turn for the worst; one of the three procedures caused her to get MRSA, & she was back in the hospital. The treatment for this could only be administered in the hospital or a nursing home. My mother was crushed, as she wasn’t ready to go to a nursing home at this point. A few days later, due to the pain she was in, she relented, & we found a nursing home a few miles from our house. She was also now willing to be placed on hospice, where they were able to treat her for the staph infection.
As the days, weeks & months passed, my mother aged 20 years & became skin & bones. Her final request was that we all gather & share a steak dinner. She had stopped eating at this point, but she & I shared a lobster & steak dinner. She loved lobster, & that night, it was as if God granted her one final request; she enjoyed her last meal with her family.
I took over her affairs & paid off all her bills; she lived on meager wages, but she lived out Proverbs 31 that describes the virtuous woman. She spent her entire life taking care of her children, her grandsons, & taking care of others.
On June 10, 2017, (three months after receiving the news she had cancer) my mother went home to be with the Lord. She suffered from hallucinations a few weeks before her passing. Yet, the day before, she had a precise, lucid moment. She called her pastor, who was not in the office, and left him a message that she was going home. Not twenty-four hours later, she would indeed be home in her eternal home.
God’s timing is always perfect. Until the day she died, I believed that God could perform a miracle & save my mother; the real miracle was that she returned to her eternal home.
How did I make it through losing my mother after almost losing my father? I have often sat real still, thought back to these painful times, & asked myself the same question. In & of myself, I didn’t do anything; it was all Jesus. He was the one who gave me the strength, for it was Jesus who carried me through it all.
Now she is united with her beloved son, whom she lost in 1984. I miss her every single day. Yet while her work is now finished, mine is not. She raised her children & grandchildren in the ways of the Lord. To know the truth of salvation, that it is only through Jesus Christ, & once saved, that salvation can never be taken from them. I will see her again. Until that day comes, I will continue to carry her message, which has become my message. I don’t always understand it, but accept in faith:
God’s Timing Is Always Perfect!
I want to share the video of the song I Am Blessed (A Song for my Mother) that I wrote for my mother. It was the video I played for her at her celebration of life party in 2017. You can find the song on the album The Good Shepherd.
If you liked the song I wrote for my mother, you might consider checking out my brand new release, The Return of the King. My other two albums are now available The Good Shepherd or my debut album Best Part of Me.
My mother’s H.S. Graduation Picture