Columnist: Life is just a loan
It was November 2011 when I collapsed in my red chair with exhaustion. Mentally, physically spent with a broken heart, and a broken spirit.
I was home for only a short while before I would be repacking and heading back to Florida to help my daughter as she battled cancer.
She was only 37, with one small child, battling something you only have nightmares about as a parent.
I was absolutely determined to use every method I could to convince God to stop the madness we were going through.
“You can’t do this, you just can’t!” I would plead day after day. Please, please, heal my daughter!! Some days I would just pray, “Please God,” not being able to utter any more words.
I felt there was a battle to will God to do something. I would convince Him — I would!
That day while in my chair, I was staring at the ceiling, tired of begging God, tired of thinking He was not listening. I wanted it my way. It was my child, and He could not take her away!
Without a word of prayer, I suddenly understood.
I have always had faith, but I did something I never dreamed my faith would give me the courage to do.
I realized my will couldn’t control destiny or fate or death or life. Only God’s will could. I knew she was His child in the first place and she was a beautiful loan to me. I decided to trust God implicitly.
Within my heart, I gave her back to God. I used my faith.
One day in the early ’80s I had just put the kids to bed. As a single mother with three children I watched every penny like a hawk.
I would balance my checkbook several times a month to make sure there were no mistakes and that we would make it to another paycheck.
That night was checkbook night. I had been an auditor for a bank for a period in my life so balancing a checkbook was a piece of cake. There was no savings, no money other than what was in this little account.
To my utter horror, I had made a mistake. It was mid-month and I only had $ 38.16 to make it to the end of the month.
I kept going back through the check register to make sure it wasn’t some gigantic addition/subtraction error.
I remember I sat in my grandmother’s old rocker she had given me, and I cried until my eyes were swollen.
“God, I’ll make a deal with you. If you will allow my children to have food for two weeks, I will try to eat nothing. I will eat scraps off their plates and as little as I can. “Please help me.”
I worked at that time for a mom and pop design center. Mrs. Milam was the mom and the following day she walked in around lunch time carrying a grocery bag.
There were six of us employed there, and we had a little kitchen in the back of the store.
“I was at church yesterday and I started craving chicken salad. Strangest thing! So, I bought two big hens and I made enough for all of us to have for lunch most of the week,” she exclaimed as she put the food in the refrigerator.
I ate the food every day and went home and ate the scraps off the children’s plates.
And that is the way it went for those two weeks. I, nor the children, were ever hungry.
Mrs. Milam never knew our plight, nor did others who suddenly asked us to dinner. God and I were the only ones who knew.
At the end of the month, I knew I only had 16 cents left as I went by the bank to deposit my salary. I had made it!
The funny thing was, when I went to balance my checkbook again, there was my deposit plus $38.16.
I know you’re thinking I had made the error originally, but I never found it. To this day I believe God gave me the money back because I trusted Him to help. I had used my faith.
We are called on throughout our lives to not just say we have faith but to use it. When we think we are in control of everything is usually when we are subjected to an understanding that we are not.
Tragedy, heartache, woes, illnesses and death surround all of us. Sometimes it seems that there in no way out of the darkness. Sometimes it seems we will never smile again.
People often get mad at God for letting bad things happen. Faith is lost to anger and resentment.
We have to remind ourselves that this place is not paradise. Maybe it is just a place to learn that we have to look beyond and through the pain, strife and, yes, even happiness, to find it.
Today my daughter is alive and healthy. I have more money in my checking account and food in the pantry. I know to be very grateful. I also know I will face more tragedies and troubles in my life.
However, through it all, I am fully aware that this life is just a loan — that I will pay back with my faith.