My Mother-in-Law – Lost on the Mountain!

21 05 2013

“You can’t find her?” I asked.

“I looked all over the place. She’s not there. I was hoping you picked her up,” my father-in-law replied, a tinge of anger in his voice. “Did you show Wendel where I left her? Did he or Jim come and get her?”

“No. I gave you my word. They don’t know where she is,” I said.

“Maybe her cousin came and got her. Oh, I don’t know. What am I going to do? I can’t leave her here, and I won’t be able to come much longer,” he said with a sigh.

“We’ll come help you look on Saturday. She will be okay until then, I’m sure. I’ll have Wendel call you when he gets home.

That night I told our home group that my mother-in-law was lost on the mountain about an hour out of town.

“Oh no!” exclaimed one of the women. “Is there a search party? How long has she been missing? I hope she is all right.”

Giggling, I explained, “She will be fine. She’s in an urn. My father-in-law can’t remember where he buried her, that is all.

Okay, so sometimes I can be overly dramatic. This was too good an opportunity to pass up!

We arrived at the cabin just before lunchtime. My father-in-law was both upset that he couldn’t locate her urn; and angry because he was certain someone had come and collected her remains. We reassured him that she would be found, even if we had to search the entire range. Then we headed for the steep incline that was the foot of a foreboding mountain.

A little while later, we were standing before the rock that my father-in-law had originally shown me.

A couple of years earlier, he’d walked me up to this place. As we leaned against the rock, he took his walking stick and thrust it into the ground between us. “This is where you mother-in-law is,” he’d said. “I don’t want anyone else to know where I put her because I don’t want them to take her away. She loved it here, and this is where I want her to rest.”

We’re not irreverent people, disrespectful of the dead…we just have a little different understanding about “remains,” because we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. When the time comes for Jesus to come collect us, He will know right where to find us. Consequently, I was positive that neither my husband nor his brother were going to come “steal” her ashes.

“I promise not to tell a soul,” I had reassured him.

Now keeping his secret didn’t seem like such a good idea. Only we two knew where she’d been buried…and I hadn’t been back since the day he showed me the place. Besides, I’m a girl. I get lost walking around in my back yard!

We began to dig at the base of the rock. Sure enough, nothing was there. We glanced at the mountainside. It was speckled with  boulders and rocks of various sizes. This was going to take a bit of doing.

“Maybe it wasn’t this rock after all,” my father-in-law said.

“Well, that must be the case. I’m fairly certain she didn’t walk off,” I replied, trying to lighten the atmosphere a bit.

We dug around the base of every rock for a hundred yards or so. Nothing. He was getting tired, so I suggested that Wendel take him back to the cabin and the two of them get some lunch. I offered to continue looking.

As they turned to go, my father-in-law said, “Oh. I put her urn in a blue plastic bag before I buried it.”

“Okay, thanks. I’ll see you two in a little while.”

I turned once again to the mountain and sighed. So many boulders. Such a tall mountain. Where should I begin?

Of course. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? Where should one always begin?

Ask – then seek.

“Oh, Abba Father, You know the exact location on this mountainside where my mother-in-law’s remains are placed. I really need Your help. This is a big hill and there are hundreds of boulders. Would You please lead me to her?”

Looking around, I realized that we’d only looked to the right of the trail we came up – and not to the left.

Hmm. Why not check over this way?

I poked around a couple of large rocks, but to no avail. I walked a bit farther to the left. My heart skipped a beat. In a hollow under a medium-sized boulder I saw something blue. It looked like it might be a tarp, though. I tried not to get my hopes up as I cautiously stuck my hand into the tiny cave.

Woohoo! I felt the hard, smooth container through the plastic.

“Oh, Lord! This is awesome. You totally rock! – uh, no pun intended. Thank You for taking me to the right place. This is great!”

My father-in-law had selected the downhill side of the boulder as her resting place. Neither of us had considered the amount of snow that fell there every year – or the effects runoff would have on the terrain. I glanced back at the rock, and the little cavern beneath it. One more winter, and the dirt around the boulder would have eroded, causing it to crush the urn beneath.

With my prize in my arms, I gleefully skipped my way back to the cabin and presented it to my father-in-law. I excitedly told them how I’d found her – but only after I asked for God’s help.

Looking into my father-in-law’s eyes, I said, “God loves us even more than we love our children. When one of them lost something, we would help them search until it was found. Our heavenly Father knew your wife’s urn was important to you, and was delighted to show us where she was. Isn’t He so good?” (Oh, Lord, please let him hear what I’m saying.)

Jesus told us that we need to become like little children. After meditating on this for a bit, I realized that when my kids were little, they depended on us for everything – food, shelter, clothing, help when they hurt, care when they were ill, and all the rest. I began to understand that this is how our heavenly Father wants us to relate to Him as well.

God is no “Genie in a bottle” that I conjur up whenever I want something, but a loving Father who cares for me. He is pleased when I depend on Him to meet my needs, be they spiritual, physical, mental or emotional. Time and again He has helped me locate important items that I’ve put away and forgotten where they were stored – insignificant things, not unlike helping a child locate a beloved stuffed animal. I matter that much to Him. Valued – um hmm, that’s how I feel when He demonstrates His interest in the little details of my life.

John 17:3 reads, “This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” How do we get to know someone? We spend time with them. Through the course of life, we ask things of them. By the way they respond to those requests, we begin to understand how they think; what kinds of requests we can make of them, and which sort are a clear,”no.” We also learn what pleases them, and what behaviors hurt or offend them. As the relationship grows, and we come to know and love them more, we naturally desire to bring them pleasure and not pain.

It took several decades for God to finally break through my defenses. By showing His tender care for me – even in the small matters – I’ve come to see that He truly is good all the time, completely trustworthy, and worthy of all my praise. What an honor and great privilege it is to call Him “Father” and “Lord!”

By the way, we won’t be losing my mother-in-law again. She now has her own little “home” in a memorial park!

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22 responses

22 05 2013
godcrazzzy

love this. 🙂
I nominated you for a few awards. To collect them plz click this link and follow the simple instructions. You deserve them because you are a great writer and a blessing.
http://godcrazzzy.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/six-awards-really/

28 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for the awards, by the way. Phew! They sure take a bit of time to pass on…but well worth the effort when you realize how blessed the recipients are by being chosen. It was fun! 🙂
\o/

22 05 2013
Pure Glory

Wow, there is no one like our God! He is always close by and ready to help. His care for us is without measure. He loves your father-in-law and is drawing him with cords of love. When the children of Israel were leaving Egypt, there was one lamb for each household. All that were under the roof with the blood were saved. Your father-in-law’s heart is being softened to receive the Lord Jesus. I’m joining you in praying for his salvation. 🙂

22 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you so much for your comments and prayer. 🙂

How gracious and humble is the God we know and love…pursuing those who deny His existence or hate Him for one reason or another. I know this to be true because I was one of them!
\o/

22 05 2013
Pure Glory

You are welcome!

God is so good and his love so incredible. He pursues us and never quits.

21 05 2013
lumpster71

Awesome story. Thank you

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Awesome God!
\o/

21 05 2013
lumpster71

That He is. God is good.

21 05 2013
dianarasmussen

Lol! I love your sense of humor! Joy unspeakable! (ღ˘⌣˘ღ) ♫・*:.。. .。.:*・

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Words are so limiting…if you only knew! 😎
\o/

21 05 2013
annabachinsky

Great post! I was a little worried at first 😉 Building any relationship takes time and the same goes for our relationship with Christ. I’m so glad that He has never given up on me through the process. I can’t imagine living a day without Him guiding me every step of the way!

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂
\o/

21 05 2013
vonhonnauldt

Loved it!
You have my sense of humor, poor thing!

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Yeah, last week when they asked if we were going to have Jim’s remains shipped home, I looked at the nurse and said, “Well, if I move my car to the door, we can sit him up on the front seat. He’s still flexible!” She said, “No, we can’t do that…but maybe we could carpool him – oh, I’m sorry that was so rotten of me.”

At a time like that, a sense of humor is a good thing, I think!
\o/

21 05 2013
Toni Sprandel

Love this! Has your father-in-law accepted Christ? I will be praying for him.

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Toni. That would be appreciated. He has cancer and is on hospice.
\o/

21 05 2013
Toni Sprandel

Dear Most Gracious & Merciful Heavenly Father, please I pray, open the heart, soul and mind of Her father-in-law. You say in your Word, that you desire NONE to perish, so LORD, we pray that you would touch his life, draw him unto Yourself and allow him to accept Christ Jesus as the Saviour of his soul. May all glory, honor, praise & thanksgiving be given unto You. In Jesus Name, Amen!

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Amen!
\o/

21 05 2013
Larry Who

Great story and so well-written. Thanks.

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you very much. I appreciate your kind comments.
\o/

21 05 2013
TeachX3

Excellent read… 🙂 God bless you and yours sister!

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks! As we used to say when we were kids, “Same to you but more of it!” 😉
\o/

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