What are the vivid memories that you have? Think back at the childhood memories and you will see that the memories that tug at your heart the most are those little things from your childhood. I can remember my mother telling me the story of when I was born. Every year on my birthday, she would call me and tell me how it took three days to come up with a name for her little baby girl. She said she finally came up with Tina Marie. I believe that I always loved my name because she made it sound so special.
As I grew older and my mother was going through testing and evaluations in order to be put on the liver transplant waiting list, I can remember sitting in the Doctor’s office with her as they asked many questions about how and why she became an alcoholic during the 8 years that she drank. When she was in her thirties, she drank and in a matter of 8 years developed cirrhosis of the liver. It was my sister-in-law’s death that transformed her life. She was led to the Lord after being homeless by my brother’s wife. Two weeks later, she received a phone call that her daughter in law had died in an auto accident; leaving behind two babies. My brother lost the love of his life and I remember how I thought –there must be more to life than this! I began to seek God and my mother became a step in mom for my nephews. God changed her life and she lived the remaining years of her life serving her Lord with all of her heart. She was very sick for a long time. Doctor’s told us she may only live a few months but she lived 14 years before she finally received her call to be at the hospital on Thanksgiving day in 1994. I remembered how so many thoughts raced through my mind as I remembered the hard years of watching my mother suffer and struggle through life. I did not ever think of those things until the doctor began to ask her questions. My heart was so overwhelmed with the memories that I did not know existed; I began to cry. I suppressed all those thoughts throughout my childhood, but on that day those memories overflowed in my mind and spirit. On that Thanksgiving night, I gave thanks to God for healing my mother. A week later she died after being in the ICU and I lost many of my memories when my mother left me. I became angry with her for hurting herself by drinking and I lost faith in God for taking her away from me.
I knew that God had given her 14 years instead of a few months but I wanted her back and my memories were going through my mind in what seemed to be a movie. It wasn’t until God healed my brother as he lay in a hospital bed in ICU, (after having his cancer ridden lung removed) that I began to remember how great my faith had been for many years. The doctors told our family he would have to be put on life support and his chances were not good for survival. I prayed and asked God to please restore my faith by healing my brother. That night, the doctor’s came back and told us he was breathing on his own. A week later, he was awake and on his road to recovery!
My faith has been restored. I have those memories back and I am determined to create memories for my family by living a life that overflows with God’s grace.
As I enjoyed this last thanksgiving in a vacation home in Florida with my daughter and her family, my thanksgiving memories are now full of joy. Thanksgiving has a different meaning now. Moving on in life after a tragedy takes time, but remembering that life is like a book, full of chapters helps bring healing. As we finish one chapter-another one begins.
Allow God to give you a heart that seeks him and give thanks each day for your memories and for the memories to come. In the age of quality time verses quantity, remember that your children will remember the little things-the everyday things.
The great family vacations will be remembered, but the times of those little things in life will create an equally lasting memory.