(At the encouragement of a Christian friend, I decided to start writing this story).
There was a time that I lived a fairy tale life: husband, daughter and a home. Then, one day the clock struck midnight and that all changed. Cinderella held her broom and sang by the fireplace, “In my little corner, of my little house…” I baked breads and sold them at church bazaars and my chocolate cake at a local deli. I cleaned homes while my daughter was in school. On Sundays, we dressed up and went to church to praise the Lord. It was from the church pew where my faith began to grow. I listened intently on the word given by the preacher. And the child I loved dearly and was so proud of sat quietly beside me. She knew her mother loved her so. When I looked at her, I felt as though in this life I had done something right. I never knew how much I could love another human being. She looked over at me with those big, brown eyes as she worked diligently on her children’s Bible study papers and we smiled at each other. And when done, she would take a prayer request paper from the pew rack and draw her mother wearing hearts and a cross necklace and a sign, “To my mommy.” If I was having a hard day, I never let on. She deserved better than that. I always stayed strong and tried to not cry in front of her. I would always go to my room and talk to God. One time, when she was a young child, she came back from being away on a trip with her dad and I met them at the airport. I looked around and I waited and I waited; it seemed like forever. Then she came running down the ramp right into my arms. Well, I could not help myself, I cried. After all, I had practically stopped breathing while she was gone. She was a part of me and I missed her. I was raising her now as a single mother. My family lived up north and I could not leave the area. And it was hard at times, because you never want to see your children be sad because they are missing the other parent and you feel as though you are to blame, because where there used to be three, there is now two. And you try your best to comfort them, even when you do not understand yourself. Then Christmas comes and you put up the lights and remember the true Light who came as a gift for all and you dress up for church and Silent Nights and everyone talks of family gatherings. And you are thankful because God gave you the gift of a child at Christmas. And there is great sacrifice, but love is sacrifice. And you love them with all your heart and then they grow up and leave home and you wish they still needed you. And there are long periods of time when you do not hear from them. Then, you pray more on your knees. You are happy because you know in your heart that you raised them the very best you could. And you want them to be happy so you give them wings to fly and you try your best to accept things the way they are and get on with your life. But, inside you wish they still needed you because they did for so long. And people tell you that you need to move on; sometimes they are your family. No one really knows your heart except the Lord Jesus, who has your heart. And so you spend time early in the morning outside under a crescent moon and that one bright star in the East talking to God and you know that he understands. And sometimes you cry. All of a sudden you see a shooting star drizzle through the sky slowly right where you are looking and you think to yourself, he did that for me. And you feel his love and you feel his presence and you feel his peace because you know that you are not alone. There is a God who cares about you. When you look at your child you think how blessed you are that God saw fit to make you a mother and you are proud because he chose you to bring another human being into the world. And even though things are hard at times, you remember that his ways are higher than your ways and that he is watching over you and your child from that glorious place called heaven. And evening comes and you go outside and look up and see the Big Dipper right where it was the night before and you know that he who made the stars, made you. And there is a sense of comfort at knowing you are not alone. You go in to get ready for bed and you check one more time on your child, the precious gift given to you to love and you do. And then you realize that they are not there because they went to college, but you look anyway and you pick up a picture of them and you hold it close to your heart and you look at a mural they made on the wall, accented with gold STARS that reads, “The greatest gift you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return” and you smile because you taught your child to love. And there is something comforting about being in their room even when they are not there. And, you do what you can do and send flowers with a simple message, “I love you always, mom.” And a few days go by and they call, thanking you for the flowers. And one day, you decide to leave, what has been home for twenty-two years, and strike out on your own. A new venture lies ahead. But, first you make sure that your child that you raised has no emotional ties to it, because you love your child. And away you go to write the new chapter in your life. Goodbyes are hard, even when the child that your raised all those years as a single mother, gives you their blessing. Imagine how a bird feels when its mother pushes it out of the nest or perhaps how the mother feels at the pushing, trying to make her babies independent of her. There is always pain where there is love. You arrive at your destination and it works for a few months and then you miss your child and you miss where you lived for all those years. And people do not understand and sometimes they are your family. But, God does. And you dig deeper into his word and you need him more now because you have nowhere to go. You feel a sense of loss that is indescribable. Where you were needed for so long, now you are not. And so you go out on the road and become a missionary to help those who need you and you travel along making friends along the way. And you remember that Jesus had no place to lay his head. And he travelled for three years in his ministry often staying with those he was teaching. And you feel a sense of comfort because you make some sense of what you are doing, all this traveling around in your car trying to find home. And then you remember that your home is with him as you wait to go to your eternal home in heaven. And all of a sudden everything becomes real clear, that Jesus can use you as his disciple better when you are in a humble state then when everything is going well. And this has been my life for the past year and a half and I am thankful that he has always provided for me all that I need. Cinderella places her Bible on her bed, then kneels to pray, “Dear Heavenly Father, please hear my prayers and I thank you that you always hear me. The end.