My son was born eight years ago on Mothers’ Day. The perfect gift – he made me a mother. Every year, his birthday party is the day before Mothers’ Day. On both days I think of my mother who passed away 16 years ago. She made our birthdays so special. There was always a potato covered in tin foil with toothpicks with canned pineapple and cheese sticking out of it: the party porcupine. Some traditions are better left in the 70s, but the same love goes into our party preparations today.
My son and I recently read the Chronicles of Narnia series together. It was the theme of his birthday party. In the book, The Horse and His Boy, the main character, Shasta, encounters Aslan – who takes the form of a lion in the series, but at this point in the story he is only a presence with a voice. The boy tells Aslan his story, which includes some scary encounters with lions. He is weary and feels hard done by. Then Aslan reveals:
“I was the lion.”
And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you as you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”
The same story retold but now completely different.
This year after the party, a guest’s mom recognized my brother from her university days. Over a series of emails, we realized that she had been my mom’s nurse in her final days. She told me that she still thinks of my mom, that they had had many great conversations and that she was touched by my mom’s life.
I was blessed by this woman sharing her story. My mother led a quiet life, mostly, it seemed to me, centred around our family. Her impact on our lives cannot be overstated, but it would be easy to miss the rest of her story. She rarely talked about herself. But God knows her whole story. He knows every life she touched. He was there too.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 8-9
The moments of our lives – both the joys and the hardships – are woven into God’s great story. There is beauty and purpose in every detail. Each piece of the story that He reveals to me convinces me of His unfailing love.
I am truly well when I remember that God’s story is greater than mine. He is taking even the smallest of my efforts and He is multiplying it, using it for good beyond what I can see or ever imagine.
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