September 23rd of last year my mom died unexpectedly. She was only 60 years old. My mom lived in Connecticut where I grew up and she had recently retired from working as a postal worker, a job she worked most of her life.
She suffered from depression and severe anxiety and she rarely left her apartment during the years after her retirement. I tried for years to persuade her to let me move her to Nebraska so I could help take care of her and just be there for her when she needed anything. The thought of moving was overwhelming for my mom and I was never able to convince her to make the move. Her life wasn’t great and I just so desperately wanted to help make it better. I loved my mom very much and I’m surprised how hard it is right now for me to just write a few words about her. The pain of losing her is still very present.
When she passed I started to lose passion for this new adventure of Music Missions God had just called me to. I was scheduled to lead worship and talk about the mission in Nicaragua at a church in Indiana just a few weeks after my mom’s death. I was supposed to lead the entire church service. No preacher preaching a sermon.. just me leading worship, doing special music and talking about this mission in Nicaragua for the whole service. My keyboard player had to cancel suddenly and couldn’t come with me so I was nervous about that as well. Honestly all I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and be left alone. I didn’t want to be in front of people. I didn’t want to talk about the mission. I didn’t want to lead people in worship. I was grieving. I was hurting.
There were about 300 people at this church on the day I led worship and spoke to the congregation. All I can say is God really took over that day. I honestly felt God was just speaking to me and through me . I remember talking about my mom a little. I remember saying that her story didn’t end well, that the latter part of her life was just sad and I was uncertain about where she stood with Jesus in the end. But I also remember saying that just because I didn’t have all the answers and her story didn’t end well didn’t mean that I was going to give up on trusting God now. I remember really believing that. I remember feeling a deep sense of peace that was a bedrock beneath all of the pain I was feeling then and still feel now.
That church of 300 people took an offering for the work in Nicaragua that day totaling over $11,000. The pastor of that church and his wife have since flown to Nicaragua and their church is sponsoring an entire village community of their own in Nicaragua. Amazing! God did this when I was at one of my weakest points in life, when I was feeling completely inadequate and worthless. I find it so amazing that God wants to use us to accomplish His will. I hope this gives you the courage to press on with your journey and to trust that God is doing beautiful things through your life even when you’re at your weakest and you feel like you have nothing left to give. Especially then.
I love you mom.
2 Cor 12:9-10
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.