Grandma's Quilt of Prayer (Day 3, from Cleansing Thoughts)
I looked around the yard of the now-abandoned farm, and I saw a large weeping willow tree that reminded me of how much fun I had playing in the neighbor's willow as a little girl; it became my secret place. It had an arch cut in the branches with a garden arbor placed in the opening and inside there was a white iron table and two chairs, and around the trunk of the tree was a circle bench. The branches had been trimmed to form an inner circle, yet from the outside, you would never know it was there. I love the way I could hide under its branches and close myself off from the outside, I would spend as much time as possible there, hidden away in the safety of its branches. I thought of my little granddaughter, who has a sweetness about her that seems to always find its way right into my heart. She has such a carefree personality, gentle and delicate as a butterfly dancing from flower to flower. Everything about her is soft and full of life, from her voice to the way her long curls flow around her dainty features. She is the picture of innocence, sweet and fragile, I wanted to protect her from all the cruelties of this world, perhaps that's why the willow made me think of her. One of my favorite passages is from Psalms 91:1 "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (NKJV). I could imagine her safe within its branches, protected by her Heavenly Father. Every night I would pray that God would send His angels to watch over her and keep her safe.
Not far from the willow was an old oak tree, and hanging from one of the branches was a rope where a swing might have been and some boards that looked as if at one time this might have been a play yard. If I closed my eyes and listened with my heart, I could almost hear children laughing and playing in the shade under the outstretched branches. There were also the remains of an old picnic table as well, and in my imagination, I could see their mother bringing lunch as their dad came in from the fields, as the family gathered to enjoy the meal. I wondered how many generations had lived here and how many mothers had gathered her family here for lunch. I began to think of my mother and how, over the years, she has always been nearby. When I was sick, she cared for me. When I was down, she would encourage me. Kind of like this old tree she would always be there waiting for us to return home, as this oak tree had been there for generations. My grandmother once told me it was a mother's love that bound the family together, and when I asked her how, she simply said I would understand when I had my own family. After I had my son I thought I knew what she meant, but I really didn't fully understand until after I became a Christian. Word of God says there is faith, hope, and love, or the three, love is the greatest of all. Most would say there is nothing greater than the love between a mother and her child, however, even as adults or parents we do not always express love in the way God had intended. The Word has this to say concerning love: "Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; It is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice in injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakness]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end] . . . (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Amplified Bible) This is the kind of love we must strive to obtain and in my eyes the closest thing on this earth, even though we miss the mark, is a mother's love for her child. I took one last look at the old oak tree and ever so softly said a silent prayer for my mom. Then I took one last look around and smiled in memory of those that once lived here.
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