Mom’s Gift

I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

It’s Mother’s Day Eve and I’m counting my blessings. As I assemble my list, I place my mom at the top. Of all that I learned from my mom, it was the grace with which she lived her last days which touched me and taught me most.

Three days before my mom passed away, fatigue confined her to bed. Her daytime attire changed from street clothes to a nightgown to a hospital gown within seventy-two hours. This day, I arrived just as Ruth, her nurse, spooned tiny dollops of ice cream into my mom’s mouth. After giving me my “Hi, Mary” smile, my mom turned to Ruth to whisper, “Thank you for the ice cream.” Afterward, Ruth helped her to the washroom. As Ruth nestled my mom into the wheelchair, my mom whispered again, “Thank you for your help.” Mom held on tightly when Ruth wrapped her arms around her to ease her back into bed. As she left, my mom’s eyes followed Ruth to the door. Ruth turned to wave and my mom smiled in gratitude. Later, when the activity director came to see how she was doing, Mom met her with another of her grateful smiles.

In spite of her impending passing, my mother concerned herself with the people around her. She never complained and was ever grateful for even the smallest kindness, whether or not it was part of ones job or part her children’s duty to their dying parent.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Dear God, thank you for the gift of my mom. She revealed your generosity, grace and love until the end. Give me the courage to offer the same to those I meet along the way.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Worry, but have faith, too…

“Why are you so terrified?
Why are you lacking in faith?”

Mark 4:40

I’ve given birth twice and I can honestly say that I would do it all over again for both of my sons. This is an easier call for my older son as his delivery was “too easy” I am told. The second time around was a little different…

Because I’d experienced contractions for days, we expected a quick delivery. Still, we waited several hours for progress. Suddenly, a nurse tossed a gown at my husband and rushed me into the delivery room. Monitors had detected fetal distress. When he made his appearance shortly thereafter, Timothy was white as a ghost. That nurse whisked our baby away without allowing me to hold him. After some whispering among the medical team, our doctor asked us not to worry. Then he added that he was calling in a specialist. My husband and I prayed. We had waited a very long time for this child.

The next morning, the doctor shared that our baby might be suffering from an illness which could cause serious disabilities before taking him by age three. This news devastated us and our prayers continued. Later that day, Sister Charles who managed the hospital lab hurried into our room. She said, “I’ve looked at Timothy. Trust me. He will be just fine.” By the time the tests were completed, our little boy sported a very healthy glow. I’m happy to report that Sister Charles was absolutely right!

Dear God, thank you for this wonderful son and his wonderful older brother. Today, in celebration of his birthday, please bless all parents with a generous measure of peace. You understand better than we do just how much we worry about our children.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

A Happy Heart

From the day we heard about you,
we have not ceased praying for you…

Colossians 1:9

A few week’s ago when we celebrated our little grandson’s first birthday, I couldn’t help recalling my own encounters with motherhood. I vividly recalled the day my doctor told me that, indeed, I was with child. This announcement came after a years-long struggle to have children, so this news was most welcome. I also recall that from the moment I heard these words, I felt that I knew my baby. Though I had no idea of what he or she would look like and I had no idea of who this child would be, I could not help loving this precious one. It was on that day that I also began to pray, above all else, that this child would be happy. If God blessed this little one with a happy heart, I knew he or she would be able to handle everything else.

When our baby arrived, he proved to be everything I had hoped for and more. Still, I continued to pray for him every day -sometimes, several times a day. The truth is that this is my ritual regarding our second son, both of our daughters-in-law and our grandchildren as well. I do the same for my extended family and friends.

If I’m going to be totally honest here, I must admit that I call God’s attention to much of the world these days. If people were a bit happier, this world would be far more peaceful. It seems to me that it is God’s wish for each of us to be happy. So it is that I pray -often and with absolute faith- for just that.

Loving God, bless us every one with a happy heart!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Transforming Love

All this is the work of the kindness of our God.
Luke 1:18

As I continue to prepare for our Christmas celebrations, the wife, mom and grandma in me hope that everything will be perfect for the ones I love. Though I have done my best to prepare, one never knows what lies ahead. I consider the mother of Jesus and her plans. When Gabriel appeared to announce an alternative, the news must have startled Mary at best. “God’s Son? My Son? How can this possibly be?” Still, this brave teenager listened and opened herself to the challenges which lay ahead. Like the every parent among us, Mary allowed her life to be changed forever by the child God had given her to love.

Within the next seventy-two hours, we will celebrate Christmas. Life will likely be more hectic than any of us prefer. Still, we are invited to adjust, refocus and to embrace this precious time. The child who changed everything two millenniums ago remains among us to do the same today. Like our loved ones, this child seeks our attention, our focus and our love. Though our own children grow and leave home to make their own way as we did, Jesus never leaves. He grew and prospered, died and rose only to remain around us and within us every moment of our lives. So it is that Jesus asks that we do whatever we do with him in mind. Like our own children, that cute little babe in the manger makes unimaginably unexpected demands upon us. Like our own children, he rewards us with greater love than seems possible.

Dear God, thank you for transforming this world with Love Incarnate.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Thanksgiving Tuesday

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exult him above all forever.

Daniel 3:57

Today, I offer heartful thanks for one of the Lord’s works which changed my life forever. This is my younger son’s birthday, and I will always cherish the adventure which led us to this day.

My husband and I could not have been more blessed the day our older son was born. As we gazed upon that little boy, we knew with all of our hearts just how much God loved us because our hearts were bursting with love for this little one. From Day One, he brought joy to our days -still does. As soon as he realized that some of his cousins were siblings, he wondered when he would have a little brother. He didn’t understand that we could not bear another child, so he periodically repeated this request. Just after our son’s seventh birthday, quite miraculously and unexpectedly, we discovered a subsequent pregnancy.

All went well until that birth-day when our newborn son was whisked away before I could hold him. His color wasn’t good and he needed the warmth of an incubator immediately. The following day, the doctor shared that he was calling in a specialist to look into a possible “blood issue.” Another day passed without answers. While my husband and I tried to keep a calm demeanor for our older son, we prayed with all of our might. In the midst of this trauma, Sister Charles who worked in the hospital stopped by my room. “Stop worrying, Mary,” she said. “I’ve looked at that baby and he’s going to be perfectly fine!”

Today, I offer my deepest thanks that Sister Charles was right. Indeed, my younger son is perfectly fine!

Generous God, thank you for the gift of my children. When I became their mother, I assumed the most important and fulfilling role of my life.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved