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When loss becomes a gain

It was 6 am on a Sunday morning when I was awakened by a phone call. It was a family friend insisting that I arrive to the hospital because my mother wanted to see me. Before I could utter a word, the phone call ended. My mother was recovering from a coma at the hospital an hour away. I instantly understood something was wrong because my mother knew I could not drive and above all, it was a church day. I did not understand what was going on until I went down stairs and found my dad crying as he was ironing his clothes. He kept repeating the Spanish words “Se va…se va” – “she is leaving.” The fear I always had deep down, caught up to me; my mother was dying. I thought to myself, “How could I stop it from happening?” “Maybe I could call all the lives she impacted from around the world to pray for her?” “Maybe I could make it to the hospital and my faith would be so strong it would move mountains?”

In my desperation, I went storming up to my bedroom demanding answers from God. I was pacing back and forth, as I was pointed my finger to heaven, reminding Him of all the promises He made to this woman of God and how much she did for His Kingdom. I told Him He needed to heal her right away because that was the right thing to do and it would be a shame if He did not; but I knew better. I knew how small I was before Him. How could I forget, He is God, the creator of the world and designer of my life. With tears in my eyes, and hands clenching my heart, I humbled myself and said, “I know I can’t demand from you. Let your will be done.” Not even a minute passed when I received another call, this time from the attending doctor. He confirmed my worst fear; my mother was dying and they were trying their best to resuscitate her. He urged my family to head out to the hospital as soon as possible.

My father left while I stayed behind to open the church. I trusted that a strong woman like my mother would never die. This would simply be another battle she would win. As I waited, I prayed my phone would not ring with bad news. In the silence of my wait, my heart became anxious and afraid. I did what she taught me to do in troubling times, pray. I began to pray over my mother, for the doctors and for this nightmare to soon be over. Through it all, I had a surpassing peace within me that allowed me to make it to church ready to worship God, because I knew this too would pass.

When I arrived at church, I instantly saw the grief filled faces of my brothers and sisters. May 18th marked the day my mother, my confidant and Pastor went to be with the Lord. My mother’s passing was the day before my 21st birthday; the day that my mother brought me into this earth and the day I would transition into a young woman. How would I live my life without the woman I depended on? The one who pushed me every day to be a better daughter and Christian and the one who gave me the solutions to all my problems? How I could live with the loss of my mother? But it was not a loss and God showed me why.

I had a commitment to minister at a youth camp a day after her burial. With my heart in pieces, my situation said all was lost, but my spirit knew I needed to worship because that is what I saw my mom do in her pain. I made it to the camp without knowing the plans God had for me. God is an expert at using the most tragic and hopeless situations to manifest His amazing purpose in our lives, even if we cannot see it in the moment or, when it seems there is nothing to gain. It was at this hard place in my life where I learned what true surrender was: an all or nothing kind of sacrificial worship, my whole life— broken in pieces—at His feet. I exchanged my pain for His love, my questions for His sovereignty, my life for His will, and my loss for HIM. My mother told me I was called by God from her womb, but now I knew it for myself. I finally realized I was called for HIM.

God will never take something away from you without giving you so much more in return. He wanted to reveal Himself to me in a way I never saw before. He worked in my mother’s life, but now I see him at work in me. He is more than a savior I needed occasionally. He became my mother, my answer, and faithful companion. Paul testifies this in Philippians 3:7-8, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Based on the world’s perspective, I lost a mother I will never get back. But based on my eternal perspective and faith in Jesus Christ, I gained a better understanding of who God wanted to be in my life. He was waiting for me to freely give Him my whole heart, not just pieces. He did not want perfection, He did not want my success, He certainly did not want me to know it all; he just wanted me. He wants your heart so one day we can gain something my mother has already obtained; something greater than life itself—His Presence for all eternity. As I transitioned into a young woman of God here on earth, my mother transitioned into her eternal home in heaven. What a gain that is!

By Jailene Reyes

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