Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Psalms and My Mom

My mom once told me her favorite book of the Bible was the Psalms, and I have to agree, it may be mine as well. Mom felt deeply and so she probably drew comfort from the depths and heights the Psalmist often plunges in his writing. There is no human experience David (and other psalm writers) did not experience.

How fitting, then, that the Psalms would be a primary comfort to my soul during the hardship we faced with Mom's stroke and death. Here are some of the Psalms that I read over and over during that time:

Psalm 139 -- From the moment Anna called me to tell me Mom had a stroke, the words of this Psalm jumped into my mind. I thought of her being flown in a helicopter alone to the next city, but my heart was comforted to read "Where shall I go from Your Spirit, or where shall I flee from Your presence?" Over and over I repeated this verse, thinking of the blessed presence of the Holy Spirit with my mother in the helicopter, moving from one hospital to another. As the night went on, I read verse 12 "even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." The night seemed so dark. The doctors did not know what all was happening in my mother's brain, but that dark place was not hidden from God. Probably the verse that I clung to the most was verse 5 "You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me." To know that everything that was happening was hemmed in by our powerful, wise, loving and sovereign God was the ultimate comfort. I prayed this verse for my mother, and for all of us, that we could trust in His direction. As the days went on, I also drew strength from verse 16 "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them." Even though we were in an utter quandary as to whether my mom would live another day, I knew that her days were written for her, even before she was born.

Psalm 57 -- "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. . . God will send out His steadfast love and His faithfulness!" I prayed this Psalm for my mom another night when the girls and I were visiting Mom in the SICU. Verse 4 reflected how my soul felt: "My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts."

Psalm 91 -- "He shall dwell under the Shadow of the Almighty." That phrase is so beautiful and comforting. Many people read us this psalm in the hospital during those days.

There are so many more, but I hope these words will be an encouragement to you, too!


The Murray Crew said...

Gret, thanks for comforting US with God's Word (Powerful and Mighty..Mighty Mighty is God's Word, It Makes the Devil Tremble...tell me you remember???)Keep going back to these precious words as your source for comfort and strength, sweet Gretchen.

I have soooooo many fond memories of you and your family. Looking at all the pictures brought so many to mind. Many of us have been blessed by your mother - "we are so glad she gave"

I love you.

James and Christen said...

Dear Friend,
Thank you for sharing how God's Word has encouraged and strengthened you through these difficult days. God is answering our prayers for you.

We are praying especially today that your time would be uplifting and a blessing as you reflect on the godly mother God blessed you with.

We love you all and would love to hug you and let you know how much we care.

With love and sympathy - Christen

Brittany said...

Psalm 57 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It has comforted me many times.

Fran R. said...

Isn't God's word just what we need when we need it? I'm so glad that you have His word in your heart, that will rise up and comfort you in your time of distress. The service was so beautiful, and indeed, I was proud of all you children and your part in the service. I love "Day Star", and only the way P. Joe can play and sing it. Everything touched my soul. Sue would have been pleased that He was glorified. The seats were full. Many loved her, your Dad, and you kids. Blessings, F.

Rebecca said...

Gretchen, you brought tears to my eyes. The depth of your spiritual wisdom continually floors me!! I know your mom was a woman of the Word....all I have to do is look at her kids. You all have a wonderful godly heritage and I'm so glad Amy was able to be there for her funeral. I heard it was amazing. It was so good for Amy. I don't think she'll ever be the same. Come see us sometime, Gretchen. We'd LOVE to have you. Maybe one day we'll be able to head that way!! Keep clinging to the Word and thanks so much for sharing your insights!! Love you!!

Anonymous said...

Gretchen, your heart is beautiful! I admire your faith in God, I admire the strength you have even during such a tragic and painful time. I was really blessed reading the scripture you quoted, it brought a few things in my own life back into perspective. I too, love the book of psalms. I continue to think and certainly pray for all of you. Love, Sioby