Monday, March 6, 2017

Struggles and Triumps

Guest Post by Cynthia Simmons

I have a room that’s off limits. If you open the door and peek inside, you see lots of papers and boxes scattered over the floor. It looks like junk, but it’s not. Those messy piles are the remnants of my childhood home. I’m compiling the material into an archive, and each time I dig in I learn something new.

Dad underlined “you were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold” in his New Testament. In the margin he penned, “Redeemed by the blood of Christ.” He didn’t often put his thoughts on paper, so I was thrilled to find a small tablet filled with his handwriting. He recorded his courtship with my mother. It’s so sweet. Mom wore red on their first date, and she spilled her coffee when he told a joke. They were married almost fifty-six years when she died.

A spiral bound book contained tearful prayers Mother wrote when feeling overwhelmed. Her Bible also had some treasures. In the center she recounted the story of her conversion. Precious! She kept notes on sermons, and dated passages she read in her devotions. In 1952 she’d highlighted Psalm 46:1. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Beneath those words she jotted “Eternal refuge.”

Mom had a rare dementia that also impacted small motor skills. Handwriting became so difficult that she quit. In February of 2005 she scribbled, “Why can’t I be healed? I’ve prayed and others have prayed. Do you HEAR? PLEASE IN THE NAME of Jesus heal my body.” That made my heart heavy. Her final entry was in March 2005. The handwriting is almost illegible. “Psalm 33: 13 -20. The Lord is like a shield. He protects me. Verse 18 – His eye is watching me!! He is my strength.”

Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (NAS)

 In Hebrews 11, the author told stories of faithful saints who lived before us. They are that ‘great cloud of witnesses’ who believed and endured. I’m very thankful my parents belong in that hall of fame. Mother could’ve turned against God when her illness continued to worsen, but she didn’t. Instead she chose to believe even though she didn’t know how things would turn out. Hebrews 12:1 says to get anything out of the way that will prevent us from trusting our Savior. When I’m tempted to doubt, I think of my parents and the legacy they left me. I can’t allow worry, fear, or discouragement stand in the way. Someday my children will sort through my things, and I hope they discover a legacy of undying faith.

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over twenty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), she conducts writing workshops and has served as president, vice president, and conference director. In December 2009 the membership granted her Life Time Membership for her numerous contributions to writers.  “Cindy” is fond of history and writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. Her writing appeared in CAG publications, NATHHAN NEWS, Chattanooga Regional Historical Magazine, Georgia Right to Life Newsletter, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Catholic Exchange, and Christian Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, came out in 2008. While promoting her book, she had interviews on radio and TV across the nation and was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year. She also conducts monthly podcasts called CAG Spotlight in which she interviews authors and VIPs in the writing industry. At present she is completing a twelve week Bible study using the stories in Struggles and Triumphs.

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