'MIDST ROSES AND COCRETE
by Shirley A. Reynolds
On this first holy day of the Feast of Tabernacles 2010 I was
reading the following article. Not only was the article striking
for what it says, and the teaching we can obtain from it (the
Feast of Tabernacles is about forgiveness and rejoicing and
healing), but the Shirley Reynolds writes from Idaho City, ID. I
shall in a few hours be flying out of Calgary, Alberta, to Idaho
Fall, ID. to join up with my co-worker in the Gospel - Tara
Chapman, and her family. We shall be spending the Feast in a
quiet log cabin in the backwoods. It will be a family type feast
of Tabernacles this year; but small or large, observing the Feast
of Tabernacles with someone is special, with usually special
places of beauty to see from the hand of our Creator.
This article is very touching. I pray it will touch your heart as
it did mine; and wherever you are during this wonderful Feast of
Tabernacles, have a super spiritual and physical time. For those
of you who could not "go away" I have given you this article and
a new study under the section for "Taberancles" on my Website -
0n a concrete bench in a mausoleum courtyard, I tried to
muster courage. Shaking my fist at the foliage, I said, "I'm not
leaving until I've emptied my heart of this anger toward my
Oh Mama, I thought. Why did you use a rosebush vine as a
switch? Why did you make a little girl sit for hours on a dark
basement landing? Why didn't you love me?
Hands pressed against my head, my body shook. I'd had
enough! Why does the past keep wiggling its way into my thoughts?
I wondered. I looked up at my parents' names set in stone. "Oh
Daddy," I cried. "I wish I could have told you what was
happening. I didn't want to hurt anyone!" Then my mind traveled
"I'm gonna be five today," I said, putting on my party dress
and favorite pair of shoes. As I presented myself to Mama, she
yanked bobby pins out of my hair and stretched out my long curls.
"You can play outside, but don't get dirty!" she ordered.
Leaning against the porch railing, I daydreamed about the
presents I'd receive at the party that afternoon, about the red
scooter I'd seen in the Sears catalog. It was all I really wanted
for my birthday.
Suddenly I looked up to see Mama looking down at me. She
noticed the dirt on my dress and my long curls blown to straight
strands by the wind. I'd tried hard to do what Mama wanted and
once again, I'd failed.
"I told you not to get dirty!" she yelled. "And don't say a
word to your father, or you will be punished!"
"I won't, Mama!" If I said anything else, she'd accuse me of
I knew what to expect. She broke off a thorn-covered
rosebush vine, grasped my arm, and dragged me toward the basement
door. Stumbling along, I felt the sting of thorns against the
back of my legs. My chin quivered as the basement door slammed
shut. In darkness, I made my way to the landing, a few steps
"Mommy, please open the door! I didn't mean to get my dress
dirty!" I called. The welts on my legs were swelling into
stinging bumps. I sat with my knees pulled up to my chest,
rocking back and forth, singing "Jesus loves me, this I know..."
Did Jesus really love me?
I wish Daddy were home! I thought. He loves me. But I can't
tell him what happened. Mama would say 1'd lied. I wanted to go
to my room, but I had to wait.
I watched through a basement window as the sun disappeared.
My stomach growled and my head ached. Then I heard Mama's voice:
"Come upstairs and change clothes!"
I longed to tell my father about the switching and the
basement landing, but I feared worse trouble. Right now, I longed
for his hug, his story telling, his hand on my forehead at
When he arrived home, my father called, "Where's my baby?"
I hugged him tight and wondered if he saw my red eyes, but he
As my friends arrived, Mama acted as if nothing had
happened. After I opened other presents, she brought out the red
scooter and said, "I'm giving it to your cousin; she doesn't have
anything to play with at her house. But you can go outside and
ride it for a while."
I looked at my father in shock, but he put his hands up as
if to say, "I don't know anything about this!" I rode the scooter
up and down our front sidewalk, then watched as my cousin took it
Something happened to me that day. I wanted to grow up, be
an adult, and live in my own house. I loved my father, but I
couldn't tell him my secrets. I'd watch him come home from work,
hug me, sit in his chair and read his Bible, then read me
stories. When he tucked me into bed, he'd kiss me good night,
pray for me, and turn out the light.
Switchings continued up to my twelfth birthday. The day I
came home from school with the measles, things changed. Confined
to the couch for five days, I watched our new television and
listened to my mother as she ironed. "Oh, by the way, it's time
you knew you are adopted," she said. "It was your father's idea
to have a child, not mine."
Her words stunned me. My father, the perfect picture of
Jesus to me, had loved me all this time for both parents. My
continual childhood prayers, asking God to make my mother love
me, were futile. Nothing I could do would change her feelings.
She continued. "My mother died giving birth to me, and I made a
solemn vow to never become pregnant. But your father's firm
After this, I retreated into my bedroom after school and
spent my time there. Avoiding my mother seemed easier than being
the object of her anger.
Before I graduated from high school, my mother grew ill.
Diabetes, heart problems, and Alzheimer's ravaged her body and
mind. During that time, I attended church with Dad, who did
everything he could to bring normalcy to our family. Then Mom
took pneumonia and was hospitalized, with a poor prognosis.
Standing by her bed, I held her hands. "Mama, I know I've been a
burden to you," I said. "I wanted to love you, and I wanted you
to love me! I've met a special man, and we are going to be
married after I graduate."
She turned her head to the side. "Get out of my room. I
don't know you!" Mama died two days later.
Dad chose to live alone in their three-story home. A short
time after I was married, he married his childhood sweetheart.
Together, they took care of the rosebush Mom used to punish me.
DESIRE AND DECISION
After we'd been married four years, our baby girl was born.
When I first looked at my daughter, all the memories of my
childhood flooded over me. I knew I had to rid myself of the
anger I had carried into adulthood. Unforgiveness felt like icy
fingers holding me in a vice.
Oh God, if I'm going to teach forgiveness to my daughter,
then I'm going to have to let go, I thought. All I knew to do was
go to the cemetery.
Then my father had a severe stroke and died. it happened
fast, and I believed my whole world had crumbled.
It was time to let the anger go, time to let God take
ultimate control. I made the journey.
Thirty years later, I stared at the gray fortress. The
memory of the basement landing was fresh in my mind as I smelled
the sweet aroma of yellow roses encircling the mausoleum. The
quiet cemetery solitude wrapped its arms around me. A gust of
wind sent shivers up my spine, and everything inside me seemed to
say, Run as fast you can!
Saying I was sorry now seemed futile, but I needed freedom
Tears fell in rivulets down my face. "Lord, I came here
today to ask You to take away the anger burning inside me toward
my mother. I believe now that she loved me in the only way she
knew. But Lord, I have to ask Your forgiveness for these angry
feelings I've harbored for so many years. They are eating me up.
I want to leave here knowing that my heart is clear. I cannot
carry the load any longer!"
Speaking as if my mother stood beside me, I said, "Oh Mama,
I am so sorry. I have spent years trying to understand why we
couldn't tell each other 'I love you!' I need to say it now. I do
love you, Mom!"
FREE AR LAST
When I opened my eyes, the whole world seemed brighter. I
turned around and leaned against the cold concrete. I knew God
had removed a huge burden and brought healing in its place.
Wiping my tears away with my coat sleeve, I walked away. Was I
crying for a lost relationship? No, I was crying because my life
had been healed!
I noticed the birds chirping and the wind kicking up the
leaves before me. In the distance, a wind chime tinkled. There
was relief in my mind and lightness in my steps.
As I looked back on the cobblestone pathway, the mausoleum
did not seem as ominous as before. The bright yellow roses seemed
to bow in acknowledgment; their fragrance was beautiful! I shut
the door on the basement landing, once and for all. Before I
climbed back into my car, I said, "I love you, Mom," and meant
every word. Jesus loves me, this 1 know.
Shirley A. Reynolds writes from Idaho City, ID.
September-October 2010 - "Bible Advocate" - a publication of the
C0G7Day, Denver, CO. USA.
B-Healthy * B-Well-thy * B-Wise
Power of Love, Joy of Forgiveness
No More Stress, Just Happiness
Health/Wellness Plan For Your Life! Start Today! Don't Delay!
A. Anticipate each new day as a joyful one.
B. Speak the truth with love all day long.
C. Ask questions. Listen with understanding. Think in silence.
D. Refuse permission for anger, fear, sadness, or hurt to take
E. Resolve conflicts by thinking, Have I done something to cause
this? What lessons can I learn from it?
F. Restore and build relationships by asking what you can do to
make each one better.
G. Say these WELLNESS WORDS often: Please forgive them. Help me
forgive them. Please forgive me. Help me forgive myself. Please
remove my bitterness. Please restore my joy. I'm wrong. I'm
sorry. Thank you. You're welcome. Please. What is your opinion?
H. Know that distress is caused by having to be right, by finding
fault, by trying to control and manipulate, and by being selfish.
I. Stop doing things that cause negative stress. Give up bad
habits. Stop addictions. Humbly say that you want to stop. Ask
that the desire for unhealthy things be taken away.
J. Practice the seven super powers that you have power to
control: attitude, honesty, communication, love, encouragement,
forgiveness, and humility.
K. Know that the power of love and the joy of forgiveness exist
inside every believer. You were made for relationships; love one
This Wellness Works plan is presented in conjunction with
National Forgiveness Day (October 30th). For free help with
stress, visit www.unconditionallovelive.com.
Isn't that above article heart-wrenching by Shirley. It must be
heartbreaking for a child to have two parents but one does not
show that outward attitude and emotion of LOVE towards their
child. I've tried to put myself in Shirley's shoes as I read her
words, and some tears rolled down my cheeks. I'm so pleased
though that Shirley found the love to forgive and to so move on
with a rejoicing heart. Yes, Jesus does love us, this I know, for
the Bible tells us so.