Welcome to another round of the Five Minute Friday blog link-up!
We gather every week for a fast and fun free writing exercise. All you have to do is set a timer for five minutes and write!
Learn more about the blog link-up over here.
This week’s FMF writing prompt is: STILL
I’m cheating a little bit this week because whenever I’ve thought about this prompt, I can only picture my mom holding a plate that she painted on her 59th birthday — her last birthday here on earth.
Even though I lived in Cape Town, South Africa at the time, I was with her in Michigan on that birthday because of the incredibly generous and anonymous gift of an overseas plane ticket.
My sister and I took our mom to a ceramic painting studio as part of our celebration of her life. Instead of sharing a five minute free write of my own this week, here is a brief excerpt about that evening from my memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging (affiliate link).
From the chapter, Grace:
When the day of her birthday arrived, I showered Mom with cards and small gifts of love from friends she had made in Cape Town. The beloved church family half a world away, who held up our arms as we grew weak in battle. Mom sat on the edge of her overstuffed ivory couch wearing her wig, a huge smile, and a brace on her left arm—evidence of the brittleness of her cancer-infused bones. With numb fingers and a fractured wrist, she opened the tokens of adoration wrapped in prayer. Fragrant lotions and Rooibos tea. Devotional books and beaded jewelry.
Mom, Sarah, and I continued the celebration by driving to Grand Haven, a neighboring Lake Michigan coastal town. Huddled around a table at a ceramic painting studio, we painted, talked, and laughed. Without my husband or kids with me on that trip, it felt like I was back in high school. Just the three of us again.
“Remember the time Kate threw up in the hallway in the middle of the night, and Mom ran out of her room to help, and fell in it?”
“Remember when Mom drove away from the bank with the teller’s deposit canister and tried to make us return it for her?”
Laughter and art around the same table was the perfect blend of therapy. I almost forgot the real reason I was there. Almost.
Sarah painted an oval-shaped platter, I picked a vase, and Mom chose a square plate. Mom brushed a plum color around the outer border, filled the center of the square with a teal background, and added words from Psalm 46:10 in matching plum across the plate: “Be still and know that I am God.”
That was my mom.
I look at this picture above and see a lot of things I don’t love about it. I don’t like seeing my mom with an oxygen tube in her nose, a wig to cover her bald head after chemotherapy, a compression sleeve on her right arm to suppress the lymphedema, and swelling throughout her face, abdomen, and hands from the cancerous fluid ravaging her body.
But I look again and I see the most important things: we are together, and she is clinging to the truth that even in spite of great hardship, He is God and that is enough. We need only be still, for He will fight for us (Exodus 14:14).
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”Exodus 14:14
Don’t forget, we’re having a Special Edition Link-up over at my personal website, katemotaung.com, starting Monday, December 17th.
The topic is: BOOKS I READ IN 2018
Hope you can join us! Compile your list and get ready to join the link-up at katemotaung.com anytime between December 17-22.
DECEMBER / JANUARY FMF SCHEDULE:
December 21: Regular FMF Link-up
December 28: NO FMF Link-up
January 4: NO FMF Link-up
January 11: Regular FMF Link-up
Join this week’s FMF link-up here:
Aww, what a beautiful story. I love the faith that shines through the photo and the story. We can never lose out when we are still and know that God is in control.
Kate, tis the season to cheat a little with posts. You said STILL in November 2014 and it was fun to compare what I said then and now. Have a blessed and holy Advent season. Bless you, my friend.
I know how bittersweet those words are. But we’re still standing! The Lord isn’t done with yet!
what a bittersweet memory Kate. i loved reading your story. somehow, at xmas, i replay many memories of this type in my mind. my dad died very suddenly of a heart attack just after thanksgiving. he was healthy one minute and dead the next! we lived in JA at the time. were able to come for the funeral. (they lived in south FL.) that xmas, we were still in a cocoon of denial.
my mom died in her 80’s in the spring. so it was a different thing all together.
it seems that these memories of loved ones return at this time of year.
i enjoyed seeing photos of your mom.
Be still and relax in the Lord. Everyday I am learning to be still and relax in the Lord. I remember the times that He has helped me and other believers. In the rush and noise of my life I step home within myself and be still. In my home I am still and wait upon the Lord to be presence in my life for the day. His presence is a calming voice to me and it helps me through the day. Everyday I am learning to Be still in the Lord through out everyday.
I love the picture! You have your mama’s eyes! I love the excerpt from your book and the legacy of your mom which you share with all of us. Blessings and hugs to you, Kate. We grieve now for our loved ones gone ahead of us, but it is a temporary separation. I keep reminding myself of that reality asI long to see my dad again, too. Merry Christmas!