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Cosmos flowers against a blazing sunset

Mother’s Day is always on a Sunday, and many of my memories of my mother happened on Sundays at church. I practically grew up in church. Often on Sunday mornings, from my perch on a front pew, I’d watch Mother rise from the piano bench to stand behind the pulpit and minister in song with her beautiful soprano voice.

Mother would give a brief testimony of God’s sustaining grace in her life, then convey the music and words of the song with a such a sweet spirit that hearts were softened and prepared to receive Daddy’s biblical message. As Mother sang, she’d often lift one hand in testimony to the words of the song, because she was finding them true in her own life. That was certainly the case when she sang one of her favorites: “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.”

In Journeys to Mother Love I shared briefly about the fire that burned our house down in the middle of the night when I was four years old, and the resulting trauma I experienced, as well as God’s wonderful provision and healing. I didn’t have space in the book to tell more background of how the Lord prepared Mother for that trial and assured her of his love and presence even as we walked through the flames.

The night of the fire our parents had taken my little sister and me with them to a campmeeting service. In that service a soloist stood and sang a wonderful new song with such anointing that throughout the auditorium people wiped tears from their eyes. Mother was deeply touched and, as she went to sleep that night, the words of the song rang in her mind as if God himself were speaking them to her:

I don’t know about tomorrow; I just live from day to day.

I don’t borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to gray.

I don’t worry o’er the future, for I know what Jesus said;

And today I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead.

… And the path that is my portion may be through the flame or flood;

But His presence goes before me, and I’m covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand;

But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.

–words and music by Ira F. Stanphill

Later that night, the one who grabbed my hand and held it tight as we fled fearfully through the burning house was my mother. And the One who held her hand, and had given her an assurance of that only a few hours earlier, was her heavenly Father.

I’m glad Mother was there in my childhood and youth. The One who walked beside her knew about the cancer and suffering and death that lay ahead for her. He knew we would lose her so young. But what she experienced and testified to and taught us continues to hold true for me as I move into uncertainties of my older years: He knows! He holds tomorrow in His hands. And He will continue to hold my hand.

~ Cathy Lawton