Monday, January 26, 2009

Agents of Grace

Grief still pays me unexpected visits sometimes, coming upon me like an unseasonable storm. Lately it has been in situations when one of my children needs a mother's comfort or care—and I feel helpless to be that for them.

My son Tyler was diagnosed at the age of fourteen with a disease that has no cure. Tammy, in typical style, moved swiftly past the immediate pain of that news and began to deal with the practical realities of the disease. There were hospital stays, procedures and medications. Tammy handled them all with skill and a mother's care. She would read up on the disease and become an overnight expert. I would sit in silence with the doctor as she ran through a list of questions I never would have thought to ask. That’s just what a mother does. It’s been said that a woman's beauty is revealed in and after pregnancy. Actually, I think she’s transformed by a sacrificial love that is awesome to behold, actually it is breath taking. The first time I laid eyes on Tammy, I knew she was beautiful. But when she became a mother, a new, more defined beauty emerged.

Thankfully for almost six years our son has been free from symptoms as the disease stayed in remission. Just over a week ago, though, Tyler came to me with the news that the symptoms have returned. So did my grief. I felt overwhelmed by the list of things that Tammy had managed to keep so orderly. I didn’t know where to begin or what to do. So I formed a plan of action with her as my role model. The problem was I knew I would never be able to do it all—especially providing the comfort a mother alone can bring. Yet it has to get done, and swiftly.

Today we went to the hospital for a test. We arrived early and sat down to go through the procedures for outpatient admission. The first woman we spoke to welcomed us with sweetness and kindness. She found Tyler's file, confirmed his appointment and told us his name would be called in a few moments. When Tyler was called and we got up out of our seats, this dear woman, stopped Tyler and cupped his face in her hands. She whispered something to him, and I watched him hug her as she held him. Tears formed in my eyes as I realized that what I couldn’t give Tyler God provided through a stranger, a mother, an agent of grace. As we walked down the hall I asked Tyler what she’d said. She’d given him words of comfort and faith in the Lord's plan for the whole of Tyler's life. She spoke hope into his anxious heart, another thing a mother does.

As a father, my concerns for my children are many. I feel saddest when I think of how they’ve been deprived of an amazing mother. Yet God has a way of breaking through the storm of our grief and showing us a glimpse of His glory through one of his agents of grace.

I want to be an agent of grace. I don't think you can plan such a ministry. I think, rather, you simply make yourself available to the Lord, love people, and stay sensitive to His Spirit's prompting voice.

Before the day was over another mother made one of the most amazing meals and brought it to our home. Another one of God’s wonderful agents of grace.

Tyler is going to be fine. Thank you, Lord, for your agents of grace.

Ed Litton

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a humbling reminder of how powerful our words and actions are, especially when they're backed by the moving of the Holy Spirit.

MWilliams said...

You are a strong and Godly man. God is using you to touch people's lives and He'll use you in your childrens' lives in ways you may never know. Deut. 31:6 says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Anonymous said...

This past December, I ran in to you at Mobile Infirmary. I asked if you would come pray with my mom, and you did. You spoke with her and prayed with her. My mom was so happy, telling people of your visit with her. You see, Pastor Ed, you too have that touch, that ability to make someone feel the power of GOD in their weakest moment. My mom passed away Thursday 1/22/09.

Anonymous said...

Thank you pastor Ed, for both recognizing and revealing to your sheep, the true beauty that God gave to mothers. I wish all daddys saw it the way you do and acknowledged it in their actions as well as their words. What a powerful "keep on keeping on" tool that would be for us moms!!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed, you truly are a blessing to many people. My husband and I came for counseling with you years ago. My husband gave you a ride from the automotive shop awhile back. I always pray for you and your family. I will always remember the love and compassion you had for your wife and family. You have done just as God commanded you to do,Love your wife as I loved the church. My daily prayer is my husband will have the relationship with the Lord that will teach him to love me as Christ loved the church. May God continue to bless you and keep you . He is the same today, tommorrow and forever, Amen.

Your truly,
Stephanie

MessickMom said...

Pastor, I'm reminded through your words how the Lord has to be so many things to us when we are deprived of them. Those without spouses ... the Lord has to fill the empty spot of a husband or wife. Those without mothers or fathers ... the Lord has to fill the empty spot of that mom or dad. I pray that God continues to fill those missing places in your life and the lives of your kids. Even though I know it will be difficult at so many times, I feel sure He will be there as no one else can be. We love you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for presenting a picture of a someone to me, though I have never met, I am left with a desire to be more like.
For me to be remembered as a great mother would be the highest compliment.