“I don’t think so, mom. Aaron has been visiting with this church for a few weeks and really likes it. I can’t exactly tell him no we are going somewhere else.” I felt bad. I honestly loved the idea of going to church with my parents. They were going to be going to the church we had gone to years before for a short while and I’d always liked it there. I could tell she was disappointed. She was quiet for a minute and looked down towards her feet.
“It would just make it easier if you were with me” she looked up at me, tilted her head. She adjusted herself and looked out the window, “what is everyone going to think of me going to church? As soon as they know I have cancer I’ll be on display…they’ll think that’s the only reason I’m going.” I told her it didn’t matter. She explained how this had been something her and my dad had been talking about for some time, before she found out she had cancer. They had planned on going when they got home the following Sunday from vacation, but they had learned she had cancer instead. She clearly felt uneasy about going to church now that she had cancer, but then admitted something even more, “will God think it’s the only reason I’m going?” She sat there… “I don’t think I can go.”
I knew the answer! Of course not! I told her, he knows what’s in your heart. She was not convinced. My mom always seemed scared of fully committing to the idea of God, of His love. I felt like I so badly wanted to say or do the right thing. I knew going to church with her would help relax her, but I knew my husband wanted to go to this other church. Then it hit me…
My oldest son, Zack was having some problems in elementary school. We met with the school psychologist who let us know she felt we were good parents, “the type who takes their children to museums.” As soon as my husband and I left the meeting, we looked at each other and both said we should take the kids to a museum. The following weekend we did just that.
The kids had loved The Children’s Museum and we both wondered why we had not gone sooner. Just outside the museum was a small art museum. Well, we wanted to be good parents, so we should take them there too. It was just one large room, dark and cool with track lighting being used to display the different pieces and paintings. As we walked through the small gallery, I noticed everything had a similar theme playing out. I pointed it out to my husband. He nodded and said, “yes, it’s an exhibit for The Prodigal Son.” I told him I didn’t know the story. He was surprised. He went on a told me the story of The Prodigal Son, as we walked through the gallery. The kids were quiet, listening too. The artwork around me seemed to come alive as I know understood the story they were telling me. We left the museum having really enjoyed ourselves.
I looked at my mother and told her the story of The Prodigal Son, explaining even if she was going to church because of cancer He didn’t care. He only wanted her to come to Him. We drove and talked about the story and how it related to her situation. She still felt torn, but I could see she was feeling more at ease with going to church.
At the time, I remember thinking what perfect timing. How we had been going through all these struggles with our son and how one small off handed remark pushed us to go to the museum. This trip would teach me a story, a story my mother would need to hear. A story my mother would hold onto as she went to church—a church that would become her family. A church family we would all come to need and rely on. It was perfect timing, it was God’s intervention.
Sometimes in our lives all we see is the pain and the heartache of our situation, I remember feeling so stressed about Zack and school. And it was because of this painful situation, I was able to share with my mom. Because of this story, she went to church and allowed herself to be loved, and she asked God into her heart. A year later, my beautiful mother died to this world. I know she will not perish but have everlasting life. I know in my heart, God has a reason for me to write this story down. I know there are no coincidences, but just His perfect timing. Trust in Him even in your bleakest moments…He is there.