To Seniors and Others Missing Out

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.         Colossians 3:2

This piece, originally entitled “What Else Matters?” was posted May 3 of last year. I wanted to share it again, for all my readers who are or have seniors missing their prom, graduation, and other festivities they thought they would be enjoying now. Feel free to share this with them. I hope it encourages those who are feeling the loss.

It was the morning of the National Day of Prayer. I was sitting in the auditorium at City Hall, listening to my daughter’s school choir singing a goosebump-raising rendition of “You Are God Alone.” They were warming up for the city-wide prayer meeting that was starting in half an hour. And I was crying.

My daughter Kelly had been having a rough time in high school. The migraines that had first appeared when she was four years old had continued to plague her through grade school and middle school and had caused her record absences through high school, in spite of years of prayers and attempts to find a solution through medicine, both traditional and “alternative.”

But in spite of enduring more pain than some people suffer in a lifetime, Kelly had found a few sources of pleasure in her life. By far her greatest joy was singing, and her favorite part of school was choir. When the students performed, Kelly’s face radiated with unmistakable joy. She had looked forward to the national Day of Prayer and taking part, and as I had said goodbye to her that morning and she left for school, I had whispered a special prayer of thanks to God for this special day.

My optimism had been short-lived, however. Kelly had called me from the parking lot of a McDonald’s half a mile from school to tell me about the migraine that had assaulted her shortly after she had walked out the door. When I had suggested that she come home, take some medication, and rest until the assembly, she had sobbed that if she didn’t show up at 8:00 she wouldn’t be allowed to sing with the choir.

There are definite advantages to a small Christian school, one of them being teachers who know each student well and practice grace along with discipline. As I called the office to explain Kelly’s dilemma, the choir director, who “happened to be” right by the phone, responded with compassion. She said to let Kelly come home, take a pill and a nap, and meet the choir at City Hall at 11:30 if she was feeling better.

But the medication that knocked out the migraine had a way of knocking out the patient as well, and when I had tried to rouse Kelly for the prayer meeting, she had been hopelessly (and predictably) dead to the world. Now as the choir finished their warm-up and filed off the stage, there I sat, with nothing to do but feel sorry for Kelly, thinking of all the important high school events she had missed and would never again get a chance to do. And yes, I’ll admit I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, as well. (When “BabyBear” hurts, “MamaBear” hurts, too.) So in spite of my efforts to contain them, the tears flowed.

I was digging through my purse, looking for a tissue when I came across my small New Testament. Since the prayer meeting didn’t start until noon, I knew I had twenty minutes to kill, and the last thing I wanted to do was spend them wallowing in self-pity. So I pulled out the Bible and prayed.

Lord, Jesus, please encourage me. I don’t want to feel this way today!

I was not in the habit of looking for answers to problems by haphazardly opening the Bible; I hadn’t done that since college. But since I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, I opened the Book at random, planning just to read until I found something helpful, or until the prayer meeting started, whichever came first.

The scripture that first caught my eye was the last chapter of Mark:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb, and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!”                    (Mark 16: 1-6)

Something told me I had seen enough, so I stopped reading.

OK, what does that have to do with Kelly’s migraines? I wondered. But then I pondered the significance of the passage.

Jesus is alive … JESUS IS ALIVE! That means that death is not the end … for Him or for us! And it certainly means this life isn’t the be-all and end-all for those who trust in the Lord. – It’s barely the beginning!

Yes, my daughter had missed the National Day of Prayer, over a hundred days of high school, and numerous weekend festivities. She had missed Homecoming, but someday she would be at the greatest Homecoming in history. She had missed singing in the choir that day, but someday she would sing in heaven’s choir forever. Kelly loved Jesus, and she would get to spend forever with Him, at the never-ending, greatest celebration of all time. When one had that to look forward to … what else mattered?

What else matters? I asked myself, and I found that in spite of my pity-party, I was smiling. I decided that I would pour myself into the Day of Prayer and keep a better perspective on life from that day on, by remembering the one thing that really matters –

Jesus is alive!

Excerpted from BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?)                           c 2015 Ann Aschauer

Prayer: Lord, we rejoice that You are alive! Keep us mindful of what really matters. In Your name, amen

72 thoughts on “To Seniors and Others Missing Out

  1. Hi Annie, wow, that was such a touching and beautiful story. I’m sad that your precious daughter has had to suffer so (I’ll pray for her too, as God brings her to mind). But I’m so glad that through the suffering you found hope (hallelujah He’s Alive!), and shared that hope in such a real way here on your blog. Totally encouraged me! Again, thanks for sharing! Hugs

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers. Kelly is doing so much better. She just got a new job, and when she told me yesterday (via text message with a picture of her smiling in her new company shirt 🙂 ) she casually mentioned that she had a bad migraine, but she obviously wasn’t let it get her down. And that’s at least half the battle. New job has flexible hours, so having a migraine show up doesn’t have to present a problem – and taking that pressure off will probably mean less migraines DO show up. 😉 God is so good!

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Thank you for sharing this Ann. What is applicable for Mama Bear is also sometimes applicable for Papa Bear too and you’re right, there are times when it can indeed be very difficult, to say the least. Seeing Jesus in His glory and being in the presence of God is probably something that we can’t even begin to comprehend. And you’re right about what really matters, that we’re there with Him and with those that we love. Grace and blessings.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. W*O*W! This is SO GOOD!

    My daughter has suffered with migraines since she was two years old. She, too, has tried everything. But… right now she is in Hawaii on a vacation. Last Saturday she took an 8.5 hour long exam for her license as a child and family therapist. She is considering a PhD, next. She certainly hasn’t let the migraines hold her back!

    My daughter’s daughter, my granddaughter, was just accepted into a PhD program for social anthropology, after earning her MA at Harvard Extension School last year. Yeah, I’m kind of old, even though I don’t feel like it. But yaaay, it’s amazing what can be accomplished in life, despite having migraines!

    What you said is true — nothing else really matters, except Christ, and Him crucified, and risen from the dead forever. Praise the Lord! I am praying for your daughter. Please pray for my daughter and my two granddaughters to find their way to Christ, out of their current agnosticism. They don’t want to listen to mom/grandma, because what do I know. I haven’t been to Harvard. 😁

    Liked by 5 people

  4. There is nothing worse than watching your child in physical pain. We ask, “Why is this happening?” It’s easy to forget that this is not our home. Thanks for a great post, Annie. Blessings!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Thank you very much for sharing this, Ann. As a mama bear to baby bears who have indeed missed a lot in this season, especially my senior, I have been striving for just that perspective. I think I honestly have felt the stings more than my kiddos have! I am continually humbled and amazed at their wise and mature stance through all this. Perhaps, that is a piece of what He is teaching me, if I will pause to listen. 😊 Again, thank you and blessings to you!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Perspective is everything isn’t it. I love how God through His word gently shifted your perspective and made you see that even though missing out in certain things now feels sad, this is not our final destination. I pray that your daughter will be free from ever having migraines. May she continue to hold firm to the Lord and grow in her faith.
    Manu 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Sam. Yes, some things are worth repeating. One of my close friends said she was going to get me a T-shirt that says, “What else matters?” on the front, and “Jesus is alive. Everything else is details.” on the back. We never quite got around to doing that, but maybe someday…

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  8. What a glorious story of triumph–even though your specific desire for Kelly to sing with her choir was not fulfilled. Prayers answered differently than our expectations do not mean God hasn’t answered. It’s just that He’s working in a different direction for a particular purpose. Perhaps that’s what happened at that National Day of Prayer meeting. In choosing to read your New Testament, you gleaned strong truth to lean on for the rest of your days–for Kelly too! (And your story has now ministered to how many people?!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know, Nancy. It’s in my book “BARRIERS (SO, if prayers are so powerful how come mine don’t get answered?)” so it could very well be a lot of people.
      (Think how many people have been ministered to over the centuries because Paul was imprisoned and had to write to the churches instead of visiting them!)

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  9. Wonderful testimony and it is refreshing. Jesus is alive! Thanks be to God, that his word encouraged you and now you have encouraged us with the same word. He used her, to drive you to his word and you came away better for doing so. Amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Beautiful sweet story……bless your daughter’s heart. I pray she doesn’t suffer too much now? I am a MOM too and I know how hard it is to watch them suffer!!
    Isn’t that just like GOD to point us in the right direction to scripture in the Bible when we do need it the most. Only a GOD of such grace can do that when we are having that “pity” party. HE does that with me over and over. HE is faithful, honest and true to us. Blessings friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, when Jesus shows up at a pity party, the party’s OVER.
      Kelly is doing well. She’s accomplished three things she once didn’t think she could – finished school (master’s degree), got a good job, and married a godly man who loves her and Jesus. She still has migraines sometimes, but THEY don’t have HER. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your daughter is blessed to have such a good, “mamma bear” for her mother. And your raising of her with your God values has paid off because she could easily be a, “woe is me” daughter all the time. This was an encouraging post, thank you.

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  12. I am studying Stoicism and now have a tough time empathizing with people who mourn the dead or anything lost. I only own what is inside me, and freely give up anything in the world. Yet, I am trying to go one step further and pursue virtuousness, which I read you do by seeking divine perspective. I am getting better at perceiving that everything that happens is god’s will (i.e. providence), but want to go further and not look up, but look around. It is really difficult for me to change, but I am trying – the speed of change is a combination of both natural talent and effort, and my natural talent appears to be poor, probably because I suffer from several mental illnesses due to my upbringing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stoicism seems admirable to some people, but for me it would be a lost cause. I can’t deny that I feel, and often I feel very deeply.
      I don’t believe the God of the Bible requires us to ignore our feelings. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus, even knowing He was about to raise him to life. He knew the pain Lazarus’ sisters were going through, and He had compassion on them for the pain of the moment. Possibly He was also grieving for Mankind in general, that we have to go through grief and other pain in our fallenness. So I don’t think I am expected to deny my pain. I do believe Jesus is there with open arms, inviting me to bring that pain to Him, so He can comfort me as only He can do. ❤

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      1. I am researching more about kenosis because Stoicism also suggests adopting a divine perspective to be virtuous, which is the sole path to happiness. So, both Christianity and Stoicism suggest emptying oneself and channeling God, which doesn’t stop you from feeling, but does help you gain divine perspective on it.

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  13. My favorite passage on this subject is Philippians 2:5-11, which talks about JESUS emptying Himself and taking on human form, “the very nature of a servant,” so that God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above all names. Scripture is so full of paradoxes…

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