Driving Miss Sylvie

May 12, 2019


Driving Miss Sylvie

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isaiah 46:4 NLT

Women need relationships with their mothers, female relatives and friends. Today, scientific studies are reporting this, but women have always known this to be true.  As an only child, my mother was incredibly important to me…I loved the beautiful voice that she had as she sang in the church choir.  I loved her ability to dance and to laugh and I loved to watch her transform a piece of fabric into a stylish garment.   Sylvia Marie was a beautiful lady…she was my mother.

Very early in my life, she was diagnosed with a debilitating and cruel disease, Multiple Sclerosis, which would eventually rob her of her motor strength and skills, leaving her bedridden for the last twenty years of her life.  I remember the day that her car keys were taken away and although she knew that it was necessary, the realization was overwhelming to her as she accepted that life was changed forever. This was one of the many times that I would witness a grace and acceptance radiating from her soul, even though life was hard. Today, as I think about this, I would have taken the car, and left her with the keys.

Life changed for all of us.  I began to drive Miss Sylvie (a name she acquired from an employee years before), to the places she needed to go: the hairdresser, the doctor, the grocery store, shopping…I also witnessed the tragedy of falls which left her injured and bleeding. Unfortunately, trips to the emergency room were also part of our outings.  She was a small woman, but the transfers from wheel chair to car often left us both on the ground, laughing until tears ran down our faces. My friends, remember to laugh when you can!

My husband, Billy, was loving and gracious to share me with the great needs of my parents.  And then, we had two beautiful children, Adam and Christie, who became the joy of my mother’s life.  Because we homeschooled, the daily activities for them, also included bike rides to their grand-mother’s house to help with her needs.

As my mother’s condition deteriorated, the grieving began for me.  I found myself crying for her, begging God to help her…to heal her…I grieved for the life that she did not have…I grieved for the pain she felt when she fell…I grieved for her daily routine, so unlike mine.  I grieved for myself, wishing that my mother could sing, dance, and sew…My friends, remember to cry when you need to.

Her favorite prayer that she kept beside her bed was “The Serenity Prayer”,

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time…”

I do not think that she was aware that the poem was written by Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian who courageously opposed Nazism.  The perpetrators were similar….the disease and the ideology both destroyed human bodies…but, as God promised, they could not kill the human spirit OR the human soul.

As my mother’s disease progressed and her body’s vitality diminished, something amazing happened in OUR family.  Our children learned to walk in compassion, to empathize, and to reach into people’s lives.  I discovered that my life was also changed as God expanded my heart and my ability to nurture and to meet needs.  He unlocked compassion in my heart, not only for my mother, but for others who suffered in this life…And my husband exhibited amazing generosity, kindness, and love.

My mother found her peace as she asked God to help her to be content in the circumstances that she could not change.  If she was willing to be gracious, patient, peaceful…how could I not respond accordingly?  I did not understand why she had to suffer, why she was not healed, why she could not sing, or dance, or sew…But,  she could laugh, she could live, she could love…She could share her simple faith of trusting God…of believing God…

Driving Miss Sylvie changed my life….

Driving Miss Sylvie changed my life. Driving Miss Sylvie changed the lives of my children…Today, they are incredibly kind, unselfish, and compassionate, willing to reach into lives, instead of turning away…and they married spouses who share these same qualities.

For my friends who are bearing the struggles of aging parents, I encourage you to trust God that He is and will be faithful to them.  The suffering, the pain, the tears are not wasted.  There is purpose in every breath they take; in every day they live…And He is using their days to change lives, just as our lives were changed by having the privilege of caring for our parents.

Yes, our Loving Father keeps His promises…Our tears are never wasted…they draw us near to the Father’s Heart as He brings contentment, grace, and His peace.  Miss Sylvie spent the last week of her life, allowing me to read from the Gospel of John from her large-print Bible which we gave her for Christmas.  She was too weak to hold it herself, but her spirit was strong and thirsty for the Truth of God’s Word… She allowed me to drive her as far as I could go with her…Then God carried her to her eternal destination, her Home…eternal peace and contentment with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today, I am blessed with beautiful young women in my life…our daughter, daughter-in-love, and five beautiful grand-daughters…and we are on the journey of life together…May I love them well…

My dear friends, I am praying for each one of you as you walk in these days…you are a blessing, and I assure you that you will be blessed as you walk on this long journey. You my friends DO love well. Just love the best you can!  God will never forsake your loved ones…nor will He forsake you…I know from experience…He is faithful!

 “I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isaiah 46:4 NLT

Love you in Jesus,