Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What Would You Give?

This time last year, Mom was really sick and growing exponentially sicker. It was horrible and exhausting to watch her decline like that. We never called in Hospice, and I got to serve Mom in ways that I could never have fathomed. I am thankful that I was able to be a small part of caring for her, but there were a lot of times that I told myself, "Just be thankful that she's here. Even though she's like this, at least she's still here with you." And over and over I said to myself, "There could come a day when you'd give anything, even to be back here, because it would mean she's alive. Be thankful even for this."
Today, I was washing dishes after the girls had eaten lunch, and my mind wandered back to where I was at this time last year and all those thoughts I fed myself came rushing back. What amazed me today, was the realization that I was wrong. I was wrong to think I'd give anything to be back there--just so I could have her. I am here to tell you that I wouldn't go back there for anything. To see her sick like that again. To go through the agony of uncertainty--just so desperate to know if He was going to heal her or not. I wouldn't go back there, even if it meant having her alive, because what she was then was not her. It was a faint whisper of her life, entrapped in a perishing and painful shell. Why would I trade that, for the knowledge that she is whole and beautiful and happier than I ever even saw her. I wouldn't trade it, and I'm sorry I spent so much time trying to relish something that I wish I could forget.

There is a sort of twisted game I've found my mind playing at times like these--when these types of comparisons start to seep in. I call it the, "What Would You Give Game?" While I've determined that I wouldn't want Mom back in the form she was before she left us, the question that plagues me is, "What would I give to have her back whole and happy? And what if I could throw in the, 'Her cancer would never ever come back so you can alleviate that worry as well' clause?" I can tell you that trading my immediate family gets struck off the list immediately. The thought of trading one of their lives makes my stomach turn, but what about somebody else...? None of you may be safe :) What if you throw out the God complex--lives are too valuable. What if you start talking about "comforts?" Would I give my house--meaning live with my children on the streets and not be able to be taken in by friends or family? Would I give my sanity? Is there a monetary limit? I mean when you think about realistically having to pay back 10 million, 100 million dollars and what that would mean about the rest of your life? Would I give up my ability to have more babies?

Thankfully, I serve a God who doesn't allow me to make these kinds of bargains. He makes decisions, that He tells me are in my best interest, and I don't have to decide anything. But, what does He ask me to give up in return?...Everything. Even those untouchables like my immediate family, my husband, my precious girls,...He demands that I give them all up to Him. That was a point that my Dad reached several years ago with Mom, and I could never hear him speak the words, "Lord, she's not mine, she's yours. I give her to you," without losing it. Because for us to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,..." there's a sacrifice of self and others that's involved. I know I haven't learned what it means to truly live life like that. But I imagine it would be a beautiful.

11 comments:

Nai Nai said...

Your Mom is so beautiful in these pictures and this is the only way I saw her, she was always wearing that big beautiful smile.
I just notice your header changed. it is just lovely.

Kellie Patton said...

Abby, you have a way with words...Touching and you make me really THINK. Love the new picture at the top! I'm so sad you didn't have your camera in Dothan (previous post) I would have loved to have seen pictures of the beautiful table-scape and food - sounds wonderful!

becky said...

when we look at our wee ones, we just wonder how on earth He gave His son for us? and it IS hard to give them to God. your mom is such a pretty lady and just from pictures, i think you look like her.

Lisa said...

Thanks, Abby, for a great post. What perspective you allow God to give you and then to share with all of us. You are such an encourager. Thanks for your faithfulness.
PS I love your new background, too.:)

LOOK WHO'S MARRIED!!!!! said...

Abby, I love all of your posts. They are inspirational. A quick question. You talk alot about God and religion. What is your religious background?

Abby Maddox said...

Sara
I feel like I don't have a quick answer to your question, but I'd like to give as short a version as I can.

I am, most of all, a Christian. Meaning (to me) that I believe God, our Father, sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die so that all who call on His name may have eternal life. Without Jesus, we're lost. I believe that, as a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives within me as a teacher and guide and comfort... Whew, those are the big things and the rest is details.

However, your question was about my religious background--the details, and I find myself hesitant to answer. I've been asking myself "Why be shy about it?" and I think the answer is that I am Baptist. I feel like as soon as I say Baptist, the majority of the world says, "OHHH! So you're ultra-conservative." And yes, I am conservative and I don't have a problem being called that. What I do have a problem with is that a lot of people translate conservative to mean, "close-minded, biggot" and I do hope I am not that.

There are some areas that the Baptist Church and I bump heads. Like drinking alcohol for instance. I happen to believe that if Jesus came to my house for dinner, he'd have a glass of wine. While I don't know exactly what Baptist doctrine says about drinking, I do know that alcohol is a hot topic. I also think that we could do with a little more ceremony in our services (like the Episcopals), because I think that many of those ceremonies are poignant reminders and beautiful symbols of Christ.

So why, with these disagreements (and others), am I still a Baptist? The answer is that I think baptism is important. I don't believe that a person has to be baptized in order to be saved, but I think that Jesus thought it was important enough to do it, so I think I should follow His lead. I also have issue with enfant baptism. I had several friends who were confused--believing themselves to be Christians because they were born into Christian families and sprinkled as a baby.

So, there is my short answer...Just imagine if I had given you the long one :)

ashr7406 said...

That was well said Abby! I totally agree with everything!!!

andi said...

I loved your post and am touched by the memory of sweet Becky. Do you remember me babysitting for you girls? You were older, so a lot of times, you were at a friend's house. Your mom was always beautiful, but peaceful more than anything. She had the presence of the Lord seeping through her. She loved people, but man did she love you girls! She was so proud of y'all. I am thankful for her friendship. I am touched by her life. I am excited to see her soon. It won't be long in the scope of eternity sweet sister.
She left a lasting mark, Abby. It is not one of herself, but of her life in the Lord. That is a legacy of life...

Mitzi said...

God bless you! You and your family are amazing.

Jason and Laura Brantley said...

you are a beautiful writer and i loved this post. when i became pregnant so that i would not worry about the million things there are to worry about I rested on the fact that the baby inside of me wasn't mine in the first place, it was God's. And I try to rest in that now as she grows and anything can happen, childhood cancer, an accident, anything. My true prayer is that when/if it does happen that I can say those things like your dad was able to say.

i love reading your blog...you have such a beautiful way with words and storytelling.

Darby said...

Abby, Souds like you need to be a Presbyterian... minus the infant baptism part! :) For the record, pres. don't believe that infant baptism saves.

Ok, love the new picture and blog design... refreshing, yes! Sad we didn't see y'all this weekend but glad you in your rockstarness got noticed! :) That cracked me up! I also laughed a Mary Aplin's wings being upside down! Hilarious. Ok, so none of this is relevant to this post... but I loved this post too. I always love and value your honesty so very much! Kiss those babies!