“So soldiers cut the lifeboat and let it drift away.” Acts 27:32
The other day while I was studying I read the story of Paul’s shipwreck. It’s a good read, Acts 27: 27-42. This verse jumped out at me, I’ve been thinking about it for days. The sailors are freaking out, so they put out the lifeboats “just in case”. Paul tells them if they jump ship they will surely die. They trust him and they cut the lifeboats and let them drift away.
The first thought that entered my head was, “What is my lifeboat that I need to cut away?”. It just struck me that what Paul was asking them to do was to cut their ties to what the world would have them do and trust God. I started thinking about all the “lifeboats” we have. Things, people, places we cling to because we think they will keep us safe. We think they will protect us. But they won’t, they can’t. Only God can do that.
Today is Mother’s Day. I think for the majority of us, our Mom’s were or are our first lifeboat. They picked us up when we fell down. They kissed our boo-boos and told us everything was ok. When our heart was broken for the first time, they held us as we cried. When we accomplished anything, from taking our first step to graduating, they were and are our biggest cheerleaders.
My Mom was my hardest lifeboat to cut. It’s not a cutting from your life, but it’s realizing she can’t protect you from the storms of life. No matter how hard she wants too. I think our storms are harder for her to bear than her own storms. Watching your child suffer has to be the hardest thing a person can endure.
When I was in second grade I found a poem in my Mom’s Bible. It had been read at her brother’s funeral. She had written on it that she wanted it read at her funeral. It made me so sick to my stomache that day I missed school. The thought of life without my Mom was unbearable. I could live without a lot of things, but I couldn’t imagine living without her.
I was incredibly blessed. My Mom and I had a very close relationship. By the end of her life, she was more than my Mom. She was and always will be my best friend. It has been three years since she passed. I feel closer to her now than ever.
God helped me cut the lifeboat that was my Mom, but in true God fashion. When I cut the rope, I didn’t lose her, I found her.
It was March 6, 2010 when we found out my Mom had Pancreatic Cancer. She had a blockage in her colon and they were able to remove it. The cancer had grown down into her colon instead of up through her body, which is what pancreatic cancer typically does. She was 7% of the people that could have it surgically removed. That gave us another 4 and 1/2 years with her.
During that time God transitioned my life. I was 41 years old when that happened and had never been married. On Oct. 21 of that year he brought my husband into my life. My Mom was able to watch our relationship grow. She was there the day we were married. He was there the day she died. God gave me a new lifeboat when He took away the old. Or that is what I thought, until I started thinking about this verse.
The truth is God is all I need. The people He gives us in life, they’re not lifeboats, they’re blessings. It isn’t fair to put that much pressure on one person, even your Mom. God gives us people to help us in life. He gives us things that make life easier. He creates places where we feel safe. All of those are gifts from God, to be treasured.
It was because of God in my life I could accept my Mom was dieing. It was because of God in my life, instead of fearing the future without her I enjoyed the days I had with her. One of my most precious memories of my Mom is holding her hand as she went to meet Jesus. I still see the smile on her face as she slipped away. I didn’t cut a lifeboat, I let my friend enjoy heaven.
One of the things I know my Mom is most proud of me for is reading the poem at her funeral. The same one I found in her Bible when I was in second grade. The same one that made me realize she would one day die. The same one that made me appreciate how great she was.
Now, when I think of my Mom I smile. She is evident in every part of my life. I hear her words come from my lips daily. I watch her actions play out in my life. I love my husband because she taught me how. More than anything, I have a rich and full life because she introduced me to Jesus. She set the example with her actions, not her words. St. Francis of Assisi quoted, “Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words.” My Mom did that incredibly well, he would be proud.
I always say, if I can be half the woman she was, I’ll be doing alright. Well Mom, you taught me how to do that by leaving me with your favorite Psalm. A fitting way to end this post dedicated to her:
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.