Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tender Mercies: One of Life's Great Lessons

Have you ever had times when you've needed a friend and one was sent right when you needed it most?
Have you ever been down and someone calls or stops by or sends a card just to let you know you are in their thoughts and brighten your day?
Have you ever needed something and found that need filled through another person?
Have you ever been desperately in need of comfort, and received that comfort from your spouse or one of your children?
Have you ever prayed to make it through a trial to find years later that you not only made it through, but you were stronger because of it?

I'm sure we all have had these moments, but do we recognize those tender mercies when they come? If you are like me, you don't truly recognize them until they have passed.

I've received many mercies in my life, far too many to count. Some of them I didn't recognize until years later when I've taken a moment to truly think about them.
I remember many things about my childhood. Some I have chosen to lock away, and others remain at the forefront of my mind, and each and every one of these memories was accompanied by a tender mercy I could not recognize at the time.
There is one memory in particular that will forever stay with me because it testifies with absolute certainty of God's love for me, of His love and mindfulness of all of us.

I was nine years old. I had gotten off the school bus and slowly walked home. Because of the things I witnessed in my home on a daily basis, it was never a place where one could find comfort. I walked through the door and immediately heard the very familiar screams and cries of my mother. Walking down the hallway, I stopped at her open bedroom door. My stepfather was administering one of his daily beatings, only this one looked far worse. He yelled at me to go to my room, which I immediately did.
I closed my door, stood looking out my window for a few moments, then got on my bed and pulled a pillow over my head. I cried and tried to muffle out the cries of my mother but couldn't. I began to rock back and forth, talking to my invisible friend, and prayed for it to be over. I don't know how long I did this. I just remember continually rocking with the pillow over my head and praying for comfort.

And comfort did come. Because the next thing I knew, I was waking up to go and eat dinner and it was over.

After the birth of my youngest son, I was again dealing with bouts of major depression. There were times that I would lie on my side in bed and rock back and forth, praying for it to be over.
And once again, comfort did come.

Do I wish I had not had to deal with these things?

Absolutely not!

Because look at the lessons learned! They were priceless!

God has given me so many tender mercies in my life and I promised myself I would always strive to recognize each and every one.
Of course, I'm still a work in progress:-)
I pray we can all recognize the tender mercies that come to us, as well as the lessons learned from each trial.

Suggested Reading

Book: Grace

Author: Richard Paul Evans

The Book
She was my first kiss. My first love. She was a little match girl who could see the future in the flame of a candle. She was a runaway who taught me more about life than anyone has before or since. And when she was gone my innocence left with her.

As I begin to write, a part of me feels as if I am awakening something best left dead and buried, or at least buried. We can bury the past, but it never really dies. The experience of that winter has grown on my soul like ivy climbing the outside of a home, growing until it begins to tear and tug at the brick and mortar.

I pray I can still get the story right. My memory, like my eyesight, has waned with age. Still, there are things that become clearer to me as I grow older. This much I know: too many things were kept secret in those days. Things that never should have been hidden. And things that should have.

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