The Everlasting Arms

Thank you Candy for pointing me to this truth in the days after Mom died, underneath everything are God’s everlasting arms holding me tight.

The everlasting arms guided me to three scriptures that became my anchors. Three scriptures I knew well, but became new all over again in the midst of my current reality.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1, NLT

Mom’s maiden name was Fraser. Many ‘Frasers’ are buried in one cemetery in New York. On the main headstone Psalm 46:1 is inscribed. I don’t know the history of why this particular scripture was chosen, but I am experiencing the reality of its truth. On April 4, six months ago, I noted in the margin of my Bible Mom fractured her hip last night. Although that morning I had no idea what the next six months held, God reminded me that He was my refuge; He was my strength; and He would be there for me. Oh how I needed that!

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

While in NJ I often found myself quoting these words of invitation, come to me; take my easy yoke. When life felt stifling, overbearing, and heavy – not easy and light, Jesus’ invitation confronted me with a choice. Will I believe his yoke is easy and his burden is light? Making the decision to trust, I prayed. Father, right now this feels heavy, too heavy for me. Will you take the heavy and leave me with the easy yoke and the light burden you promised. I prayed these words often and experienced the grace of a light burden.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death …”
from Psalm 23;1, 4

Recently Mom told me that the 23rd Psalm was her favorite scripture. Like many of you I can quote it from memory. But as I walked through my own valley of the reality of death, David’s words pushed me to a new level of trust.

Verse 1 is the thesis of the Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Or as the NLT says, “… I have all that I need.” When relationships got thorny or when the doctors and nurses couldn’t answer my questions, would I believe I had all I needed?

The month before Mom broke her hip our pastor preached on Psalm 23 preparing me for what was ahead.  He concluded with these thoughts:
When I feel like faking it and wearing a mask, am I really believing that the Lord is my shepherd?
Steward your emotions and tell yourself the truth.
Oh how I needed these words this past month.

In the midst of many emotions, the truths spoken to me in Psalm 46, Matthew 11, and Psalm 23 became my personal everlasting arms.

Olive wood carving, “The Hands of God”

After the Black Forest fire four years ago, my friend Carolyn brought me this piece from Israel. Once again it has special meaning.

“Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “The Everlasting Arms

  1. Beth Smith says:

    Dear Sue, thank you for sharing your mom of who she was. Wow what a lady with many accomplishments through her life. Our moms are so special & to lose them is really a big loss. My prayer for you has been for comfort in your Fathers arms as you go through this journey of loss. God Bless you Sue in the days ahead. Just think we get to see our moms again one day. Love, Beth Smith

    • sue@suetell.com says:

      Beth, your words are a great encouragement. My eyes still feel heavy from tears, but I’m moving forward and letting myself be who I am. Writing has been a gift for me.

      love, sue

  2. Denise GRACE says:

    Sue I will ponder the idea of whether I am faking it or really trusting God to come through. Prayers for you my friend as you remember and grieve.

  3. Beth Smith says:

    Sue, my journey of losing my dear mom 4 years ago has been very hard for me. I took care of her for 10 years in our home. So losing her has been a long journey for me. She was 96 loved the Lord & sharp as a tack when God took her home. Walking by her room & the memories of her last days there when she went home still bring tears. All this to say is take your time to grieve, I was told there is no time limit. The peace I do have is knowing she is with Jesus. At her memorial service our pastor spoke on the 23rd Psalm. I am moving on day by day with His loving arms around me letting me be me too, He formed us in our mothers womb, He knows our makeup so I just allow myself to take time with His peace & comfort. Thank you for your honest sharing Sue. Long post, but I feel your loss, Love Beth

  4. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing your painful journey. As a live in caregiver and an activity director at an assisted living I face many losses. In fact this year so far between residents, family and church family there have been 25 deaths! I struggle some days to keep it all in perspective. Those words about God’s everlasting arms have been a great reminder. I can choose to rest in those arms or I can be mad at God for taking so many people away. Seeing it in black and white it’s a no-brainer!

    • sue@suetell.com says:

      Oh Rebecca, Thanking God for you! Not many could survive with such constant death. I’m sure you are a blessing to many many … especially the ones who are left behind, like me. Your words encourage. I’ll pray for you.

  5. Sandy Carter says:

    Sue, thank you for being so candid about your journey with your beautiful mother in her final days here. I lost my mother nearly 20 years ago. My sister and I marveled at the comfort of God’s grace during those first difficult days. I’ve recently meditated on Ps. 23, noting the paths of righteousness sometimes wind their way through the valley of the shadow of death. How wonderful that the Good Shepherd never leaves us! Praying His Presence will be very evident to you and your family as you grieve the loss of your mom.

    • sue@suetell.com says:

      Thank you Sandy. I’m letting myself live one day at a time at the moment. Not much energy for more when the shadow of death became a personal reality. I love that Jer 31 talks about grace in the wilderness and God’s love is part of that grace. love, sue

  6. Jo Smith says:

    Sue, what a great, compassionate God we have Who carries us through the pain and loss of losing one so dear. I’m praying for you, and having been where you are, am willing and eager to listen to/read stories about your mom.

    • sue@suetell.com says:

      You are so kind, Jo. Thank you. Being with you the other day and hearing your story and seeing the trunk was so encouraging to me. Love you.

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