Finding My Strong Tower

The day I learned my 67-­year-­old mother had colon cancer and needed surgery, I took it in stride. My logical brain side took over. I am a pharmacist. I knew the medical community was making strides in cancer treatment and longevity of life. I had much hope…

Where’s My Fairytale?

I grew up in a wonderful Christian family; my parents loved my siblings and me very much. Even though we moved often, I remember my childhood with fondness. When I was ten years old, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but now I realize that I had no clue what that really meant.

Image credit:


As I got older, I desired a life similar to the one my parents provided for me. I had a plan: I would attend college, marry my Prince Charming, and then begin my family.

I wanted the fairytale—not a broken engagement… not a marriage that fell apart… not a divorce… not a miscarriage and infertility that cast a shadow over my new marriage…

Where was Jesus?

My world seemed secure because my mom was my best friend. I didn’t develop a close relationship with Jesus because she was my rock. As a good preacher’s kid, I saw Mom walk the walk and she provided me with guidance and the truth I needed to hear even when I was making bad choices.

When I got pregnant, I immediately shared the news with Mom. When I miscarried, I called Mom. I shared almost everything with her.

Whenever I had a question, I could call Mom. She lived 1000 miles away, but she was as close as a phone call. Even in in the midst of her surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, she was my comforter.

Shortly after my baby was born, the reality of it all hit me. My mother was not going to be alive for my baby’s first Christmas. In one room I had my baby trying to go to sleep, and in the other room, my mom was dying.

Who Will Be There for Me Now?

How could I ever replace the relationship I had with my mom? Who could I turn to now? As a new mother, I longed to talk to her—to absorb her advice and wisdom regarding motherhood.

I had always sought my way of putting my broken life back together instead of asking God how He could use a circumstance to draw me to Himself. And when I couldn’t do it alone, I relied on Mom.

But in the midst of overwhelming grief, I began to learn how to fully rely on God in a way I never had before… and to experience the comfort and peace of Jesus.

God began to show me how He had been drawing me to himself even during the final days with my mother. His provisions were numerous and astounding! Because my daughter was an infant, she would sleep soundly in my arms while I stayed at my mother’s side. And because I was on maternity leave, I was able to travel to be with Mom.  God himself had been with me during the most painful loss of my life.

Learning to Trust God

Slowly, I learned to depend on the strength of the Lord rather than relying on any temporary earthly comfort. I learned to lean on and talk to God instead of my mom.

Sometimes, driving in the car, I would imagine Jesus sitting next to me. When I longed to talk to my mom, I began talking to God instead. When I wanted to write Mom a letter, I would pickup my journal and begin writing to Jesus.

It was a gradual transition.

Then one day, I found a tape of a sermon my mom had preached as an American Baptist preacher. It was about “facing the storms in your life.” She related a story about a time when she was learning how to swim and had to stop fighting the lifeguard so he could save her… just like Jesus saved the apostles in the boat from the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

God used that sermon—in my mother’s voice—to carry me through my hard times! He was with me each step of every day!

Growing Strong

The more I read my Bible, the more Jesus’ words began to reside in my mind and my heart. I remembered lyrics from hymns I sang as a child, and my faith grew stronger as I witnessed God’s promised truths become reality.

I learned that frequently my plans are not God’s plans and that life is not a Disney fairytale with a perfect ending. Our lives resemble the stories in the Bible: God prepares us, just as He prepared Ruth for a new husband and a great inheritance.

He uses devastation and pain to draw us to Himself so that we might seek His face and glorify Him through our sorrow.

He is the Solid Rock and the Strong Tower.

With Jesus, we can journey through trials with a peace that passes all understanding.

He’s Waiting for You

Sometimes we feel our life is safe and secure because a particular person is in it—a child… a husband… a parent… a friend.  When that person is no longer there, for whatever reason, we ache until we realize we have to find the true source of security and wholeness.

If you are hurting, Jesus wants to be your comforter. Will you trust Him to faithfully care for you? He is the only One we can depend on, and He is the only One worthy of our trust.

Today, you can choose to follow Jesus with these words:

Dear God, forgive me for living a sinful and selfish life. Help me to listen to Your voice, and help me to see Your hand upon my life. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the debt of my sin. Guide me. I want to be whole again.

In Jesus name, Amen.

The name of the LORD is a Strong Tower; The righteous run into it and are safe.  Proverbs 18:10

Sarah Tipton has been married for thirty plus years and is enjoying God’s blessings as a wife and mother—even in an imperfect world. She lives in San Diego, California.