Saturday, June 25, 2011

Four Years Ago Today...

My sweet Mother went to heaven.

I have found that with each year that passes, there is something different that sticks out to me on this anniversary.

This year, what stands out to me the most are all the friends and family that were there for me. Over time, there are images of the day that I have worked hard to forget, but the images of my friends and family are ones that I still hold onto and love.

On this day, four years ago, and for several weeks and months later, I felt as though the ground had been ripped out from under me. However, while my ground was gone, God provided a safety net of friends and family who were there to catch me. God always provides.

On this day, four years ago, the lady that kept Luke when he was a baby had picked him up from daycare. When Josh was at her house picking him up, he received the call from my brother regarding my Mother. I will forever be thankful that Josh was not alone. He was at the house of friends. Friends who where there for him, and for Luke. God provided.

When my Dad, Brother, and I returned to my parents’ house that day, I saw Josh standing in front of their home. I noticed he was not alone. A friend ours had drove him over. This friend of ours is younger than us, and his father had passed away a few years earlier. As I looked at him that day, I was reminded that he made it through the loss of a parent and I would too. He was someone I could talk to, someone who understood. God provided.

My best friend was out of town with her family four years ago today. It would be days before I would hear how someone was able to get a hold of her husband in their remote location to inform them of what had happened. It would be years before she told me the crazy story of how she came back to town. But, all I knew at the time was that the next day, my best friend was at the door. She was there to do whatever I needed. I needed a lot. God provided.

I also will never forget receiving a special card in the mail one day. The card was from The Sister….funny thing though….while we were friends at the time, we were not as close as we are now. That unexpected card has never been forgotten. I treasure it. God provided.

Our friends from our Bible study also came over a couple of nights later. These folks were awesome. There to listen, there to pray, there to do whatever we needed. They also explained they were not really casserole kind of people, so instead……Gift Cards --to all kinds of restaurants-- fast food and sit down places that had carryout. Our food was taken care of for WEEKS. God provided.

Also, two days after mother passed away, my in-laws arrived at my house. They do not live close, but several states away. They had just been to visit us two months before. The first words out of my mouth were, “I can’t believe you came all this way.” My mother-in-law’s response, “There is no way we wouldn’t.” I will never forget that. My Mother and my mother-in-law were friends, but I knew at that moment, she was not only there out of respect for my Mother, but for me, her daughter-in-law -- a girl who had just had the floor ripped out from under her. My mother-in-law has been there for me (father-in-law too). There for hugs, there to hold me through tears, there on the phone, listening, praying. God provided.

The night she passed away, my brother and I both stayed in my parents’ house. In the middle of the night I had gone for a drink of water and ended up in a heap on the floor crying. My brother came in there and sat with me, holding me. As we cried, he said we would make it though. I believed him. I was not sure how we would get through it, but I believed we would. God provided.

My Dad -- how this man put aside his on sorrow at times to deal with me is unbelievable. I love him dearly. I once told him, before Mother passed away, I would have never thought we could be closer..…but, somehow, we are. I was honest, I followed up with saying I would give it all back to have life the way it was. He said he understood. I have learned to just be thankful for our new found closeness. My Dad is a much stronger man than I ever thought. My Mother would be proud. God again provided.

And last, but certainly not least, my dear husband. How he put up with me that first day, week, year….is beyond me. I was difficult, depressed, off in my own world, unable to function. He kept our family going. Luke was taken care of, laundry was done, the house was taken care of. He took it all on, never complained. He learned to deal with me when I would just up and leave the house with no explanation or word of when I would return, or even letting him know where I was going. However, what I am most thankful for is the one day he kindly said, “I know you are hurting, but you are going to need to pull it together.” Please know it was MONTHS before he said this. But, honestly, it was what I needed to hear. He was not being mean, but he knew I needed to start living again. God provided!

As I look back, I see not just what God took away from me that day, but all that God gave to me in my time of need. The right people were there, the right words were said. I am still learning to live this new life without my dear, sweet Mother, and I feel I always will. It is hard and it is tough, however, I am not at it alone. Not only do I have my God, but all the sweet friends and family that He has placed in my life. God continues to provide.

Shortly after Mother passed away, I was asked to write a tribute to her. I said yes without really thinking about it. However, as I sat down to write, I began to wonder how I could ever write something that would really convey my thoughts on this wonderful woman. (As is evident in this blog, I am not the greatest writer!) When I read back over it today, I realized it is not the best. But, it was the best I could do at the time.

Sherrie Lynn Petty

July 24, 1949 – June 25, 2007

When I think of my Mother, many things come to my mind. She was my best friend. She was loving, kind, thoughtful, patient, and honest. However, above all, she was a godly woman. She lived a life that honored God in all that she did; and God’s love shined through her. She always had a good word to say to others and was uplifting. She was a true prayer warrior for God.

It was her love for the lord that guided her through life. She was a Sunday School teacher for over 25 years. She enjoyed teaching children at church and had a strong desire to teach them of Jesus’ love. She not only taught children in church, but was a first grade teacher at McWhorter Elementary for 21 years. It was not uncommon for her students to come back to school and visit her for years after they left her class. I was so touched to hear that even after graduation, her students would come to visit with her.

My Father was so blessed to have her as his wife for 39 years. They knew each other since they were children and went to high school together. It was my Mother who took him to a revival where he came to know the Lord as his Savior. She brought out the best in him and has helped him to be the godly man he is today.

My brother and I are also blessed to have her as our Mother. She brought laughter and joy to our lives, but most importantly, taught us of Jesus. She was instrumental in our coming to know the Lord. She had a strong influence on our lives and helped us to be the people we are today.

She loved being a wife, mother, and teacher, but it is not surprising that she was elated to be a grandmother. She was blessed to have five grandchildren who thought the world of her. She was always thinking of them and praying for their futures. Grandma was such a delight for them to be with and laughter and giggles could always be heard when they were together. They will miss her so much as she had a strong impact on them all.

I am honored to have had my mother with me for 29 years. She has taught me so much in a short time. She has taught me love, kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, and honesty, but above all, she taught me of God’s love. I miss her deeply, but I rejoice in knowing where she is today and knowing that I will one day see her again. When I think of her praising her Lord it brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. She has been made perfect in heaven where she now walks the streets of gold.

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