by Sandi Banks
I lift my fingers from the strings of Mom’s grand old concert harp. The lilting strains of the beloved hymn “In the Garden” linger in midair, as I wipe fresh tears with the back of my hand and breathe a bittersweet sigh. How I miss her.
Memories flood my mind, as the lyrics soothe my soul:
“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.” Without warning, my mind punches “rewind,” to a day long gone: August 20, 1956. My 10th birthday.
Our family was in crisis since Daddy had left several months earlier and Mom had moved her three daughters to Denver. A difficult transition. But on this day, I bubbled with excitement at the thought of having friends over.
We cleaned house, picked fresh roses from our garden, and began greeting our guests. Instantly, all seven girls gathered like magnets around Mom’s harp and begged her to play.
So, there in the living room of our tiny duplex, Denver Symphony’s harpist gave her daughter a beautiful gift: a mini concert for her new little friends.
They were awestruck. I was overjoyed. “Thank you, Mommy,” I whispered. “My very first slumber party! It’ll be so much fun!”
In her warm and winsome way, Mom welcomed everyone and began presenting the party plan. “After dinner, we’ll play games and open presents, and—”
“Hey, where’s your daddy?” my new best friend Sheila interrupted, facing me squarely. “Oh … he’s … he’s working,” I lied.
“Where’s he sleep?”
“Umm … in there.” I pointed to Mom’s closed bedroom door.
Sheila burst into the room, the others trailing behind. A single bed; flowers and lace. “This is your mommy’s room. Where’s your daddy sleep?”
I felt my face burn red hot. A lump formed in my throat.
“Well, see, Daddy works really hard and comes home really late, and he loves us so much, he doesn’t want to wake us so he … umm … sleeps downstairs.”
No sooner had the words tumbled out my mouth than The Sherlock Seven, relentless in their pursuit, descended the basement steps, only to find a wringer washer and a pile of old newspapers. The truth became painfully clear to them all.
Incensed, Sheila strutted toward me, knuckles on her hips, eyes ablaze. “You don’t even have a daddy, do you!”
Her words pierced my heart. I burst into tears, raced upstairs, locked myself in my room, and made Mom send all the girls and their gifts back home. I sobbed into the night.
“And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own …” Slowly, I lower the harp to the floor. It’s been over fifty years since that day, yet the sound of Mom’s gentle voice through that door remains a poignant memory.
Oh, Mom, I never considered what you went through that night. I only knew my pain. Now I understand, and I love you all the more.
“Where’s your daddy?” I answer now with a grateful smile, pointing to my Heavenly Father. The day I finally did open the door—the door to my heart— a few years later, He came in and drew me close. I embraced His truths and became His beloved daughter.
The love of a mother. The love of a Heavenly Father. Priceless.
“And the joys we share ,as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” Those joys, His promises, give us all hope:
“For God has said, ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you….’ ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5,6 GNT).
“Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love…revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39 NLT).
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Sandi Banks is an author and devotional writer for numerous publishing houses. As a storyteller, she draws upon her years of ministry and travel in 40 countries, living abroad, leading Bible studies, and hosting Summit Ministries’ worldview conferences. Her passion is bringing the hope of Christ to hurting women through writing, speaking, and mentoring. Find her at sandibanks.com
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