Personal Growth, Christian Living, Spiritual Growth
Date Published: April 4, 2021
Publisher: Clay Bridges Press
From the outside world, the family was like any other. Within the walls of
the home was a completely different story. Set in a common suburban
neighborhood with extraordinary financial struggles and intense pressure
between Mom and Dad’s marriage. Divorce was imminent. Mom exhausted
herself to get her love from her husband until Dad’s desertion left
the family in ruinous chaos. Mom lost all self-control. Her temper flared
and the unwanted hatred for herself and Dad turned into rage, violence, and
unending terror towards the children. Poverty overtook us, malnutrition was
not uncommon, and unconditional love was an estranged enemy. Born into this
tragedy, I was two months old upon Dad’s leaving.
I take you on a narrative journey through my childhood. The rage,
devastation, and hatred are exposed to what really happened. However,
intertwined with this constant chaos is a spiritual awakening that brings an
amazing grace, freedom, and redemption. Nevertheless, every day was wrought
with surviving until the next. Yet, a close friend that I come to know, The
Peacemaker, the God who comes close to us and deeply entrenches Himself amid
each storm of life, made Himself known through the perils of my
From the jaws of death and fright comes a chilling, yet inspiring, story of
a child that thought of himself to be hated, deserted, abandoned, assaulted,
and worthless. A plan where Heavenly Father steps in, becomes my father and
friend, calls me son, and makes certain that I know I am Wanted.
The Fierce Storm
awakened in that cold, leather recliner in the hospital room, next to Mom. The wind rattled against the large window and seeped through the cracks of the windowsill on this chilly February morning. I pulled the blanket a little closer to my shoulders to cover my whole body. It had been a long night.
Mom had been brought to the hospital early yesterday because she complained of leg pain. I had delayed coming until around noon because I was annoyed by her list of complaints. When I arrived at her new residence, where she had moved just five days earlier, I was startled by what I found. Mom was on her queen-sized bed, apparently unable to move her right leg. It was all she could do to try to lift it. I checked her vital signs and asked her about pain. Everything seemed to be normal, except it clearly was not.
As I walked through her residence, I saw evidence of her long battle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It had left its mark throughout the whole apartment, staining many of the surfaces in her home. The stench in her apartment wreaked, and the place where she had come to rest on her bed was unsightly.
Mom ached in what was obviously a prolonged state of pain. Quivering, she spoke in a somber and low tone: “My leg! Oh, my leg!” Yet, there was nothing definitively wrong. It baffled me until I gave up trying to find an answer and resolved to call the ambulance.
Now, I got up from the vinyl recliner and checked on Mom. I smiled at her. She smiled back and asked for me to look up. I followed her request, turning my head, and looking at the tile that spread across the ceiling of her hospital room. She seemed to be pointing to a specific tile, where she was clearly seeing something that was not visible.
“Look!” she said, “Furry, white kittens. They are looking straight at me.” Her smile was contagious, but my bewilderment caused my eyebrows to rise, and my eyes rolled as I tried to keep my chuckle hidden. Mom has gone nutty, I thought to myself. The moment stayed with me, though.
My wife and I had taken Mom in two years earlier. Her throat cancer had spread throughout her whole body. At the time, it looked as if her time was coming to an end quickly. The decision to bring her into our home was the hardest thing I had to do. To expose my children and wife to the narcissistic, self-absorbed, and controlling person that Mom was, and still is, stressed me to no end.
As the weeks and months passed with her living with us, her cancer stopped growing and the doctors went into a “watch and wait” pattern. Mom took it to mean her cancer was gone completely. This false narrative made her challenging to deal with when it came to facing other medical issues. Her IBS, only diagnosed two months before this hospital stay, was the cause of her constant diarrhea over the last couple of years.
Mom had always been a very difficult woman to be around. My motives in taking her in were to give her a home, a genuine family atmosphere, something she rarely experienced in her life. My intention was also to take care of her every need, no matter what it would cost us. Unfortunately, the cost was much more than I imagined, but not financially. Rather, the weight of Mom’s presence in our home came to be a very heavy burden.
When we moved Mom into her own place five days ago, her exhausting, controlling nature within our home finally had its end. We found this beautiful apartment that she could call her own. She was happy, as was my family now that she had her own residence.
The doctors ran all kinds of tests to determine Mom’s condition while she was in the emergency room. All the tests were negative. However, two things caused the doctors to move her to a room where she would stay overnight: Her chest x-ray came back, showing a dark circle within her lungs, and her blood pressure and heart rate were quite low. So, they kept her in the hospital to keep an eye on her. Otherwise, they would have been ready to release her. With that assurance, the doctor had expressed hope that she would be going home soon. His words brought me calm in this uncertainty.
Sleeping in that recliner had made my back sore. Yet I sat in it again now and reflected on Mom’s startling choice from yesterday. While in the emergency room, I had stepped away to grab a bite to eat. A record-keeping assistant had come in to gather information from Mom, who had been fully cognizant and answered all his questions amiably. He was gone by the time I got back to her room. She had summarized the visit with these words, “He asked if I wanted to be resuscitated if my heart stopped. I told him no!” She had spoken in a quiet, confident, almost eerie tone. Now the words repeated themselves over and over in my head.
My daydreaming stopped. Looking over at her, I saw that Mom had fallen back asleep. Her vital signs were still well below normal. I was getting concerned, but took it all in stride, trusting the doctors every step of the way.
My mind wandered again. I began to reflect on the third reason that I had brought Mom to live with us. Many had questioned my decision. Nevertheless, I knew it was what I was supposed to do. I wanted her to experience the same spiritual awakening I had. I wanted the same for all those I knew and met, especially for my family. My heart was hurting for Mom, both for her frail state now and for her broken heart all those years ago.
Yet, she was not the only one who pained my heart. My story is just a story, I mused to myself, like any other. Yet, I knew it was so much more. I had been wrestling with writing my family’s narrative for six years now. Nevertheless, as Mom lay in that bed, the need had become very apparent and even more urgent that I finish what I set out to do.
The storms of life are vicious and ferocious at times. I wanted my mother to have peace as I have come to intimately know it. For that matter, I long for anyone who struggles with the tortuous nature of this life, with the storms that seem to have no end, and who does not know peace, to know there is freedom, a way out, and life on the other side. It is why I must tell my story…
About the Author
It is with obedience and brokenness that I present my life’s journey.
I owe much gratitude to my wife, children, siblings, friends, and many
others as they helped in this project of love. The trauma and
destruction of my broken world have compelled me to lead others out of
darkness and into His Glorious light. You can learn more