Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Matt. 28: 19-20).
I am with you always: what comforting words! Words that I have always felt and held in my heart. I have been a Christian all of my life. As a child my family attended several different churches, but I became a Presbyterian in my youth and have been one ever since. Growing up, we were the family that could always be counted on to show up for church, even through a major snowstorm! Dad was a trustee and ushered at church, but didn’t attend weekly. Mom did, and she taught Sunday school, served as a deacon, a youth group leader, and on several committees. I assisted her in some of these functions when I was a teen and was also active in the youth groups.
When I went off to college I attended church when I came home, but didn’t actively seek out a congregation at school. After marrying and moving away, I drifted away from church, but when I had children, I became active in a Presbyterian Church in Lafayette, NY. They quickly involved me in the church school, and over the next twenty years had me serve as a youth group leader, deacon, elder, and on various committees.
My oldest son Matthew was killed in a car accident. Through the pain of loss, God heard my prayers and sent loving people to help me gain some peace and understanding.
I have always prayed to God, and this has never stopped. I started as a child with my Mother, and two sisters praying, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray thee Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take. God bless…” Then we would name all those that we could think of that we thought needed to be included. This nightly ritual and childhood prayer has evolved into the prayers that I share with the Lord today. They start off the same, but now include what I am thankful for, a request for help with what lies heavy on my heart and mind. I also ask for forgiveness for my sins, because the Lord knows I’m far from perfect! If I am still awake, I end with the Lord’s Prayer. This allows me to feel God’s presence and peace.
Throughout my life, He has always been there, working inside and beside me, putting me in the paths of those who need me. He put those same people and many more, including strangers, on my path to help me through the greatest test of my faith and life. On August 17, 2004, my oldest son, Matthew, was killed in a car accident. The name Matthew in Hebrew means, ‘Gift from God,’ and he was. His birth, life, and death forever changed my life and my family’s lives. Through the pain of loss, and trying to comprehend why, God heard my prayers and put loving people on my path to help me through the sorrow, and to help me gain some peace and understanding. Since that time I have been able to talk to others and hopefully help them too.
This is not something that I find easy to think about or talk about. When people ask me how I am, I want to tell them I am a work in progress. The Lord, His son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit give me strength, direction, and comfort. I know He is with me always, to the close of the age.
Thank you for everything Lord. Amen
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