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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Tower of Strength

Series: Flowers in the Desert



I Chronicles 16:11 ESV


The Organ Pipe Cactus is an unusual plant in many ways. 


First, in many ways it looks like an organ pipe so it’s obvious how it got it’s name.


It turns out the Organ Pipe Cactus is renown in many ways. According to the University of Arizona Press, “In the United States, these spectacular and intriguing plants are found exclusively in a small area of the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern corner of Arizona. With a landscape marked by sharp, rocky slopes and daytime highs in the summer reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the region is inhospitable for most ordinary life, whether plant or animal. But the organ pipe cactus is far from ordinary. Although it is the most common columnar cactus, it is so unusual in the United States that it is only one of three cacti to have a national preserve established to protect it.” (https://swc.arizona.edu/organ-pipe-cactus#:~:text=Distinguished by its slender vertical,pipe cactus got its name.)


I think it’s safe to say even for a cactus, this plant is unusually hearty.  


It’s important to note that it’s one of three cacti protected by a preserve. 


While it’s strong, it’s somewhat fragile. 


In many ways that is indicative of all of life. 


A little over ten years ago I was reminded how precarious and fragile life can be. At the time I had five grandchildren. They were all funny and a little crazy at times (in a good sort of way).  Like all children they loved to run and play. 


Being a grandmother is a unique blessing in many ways. You really do get the blessing of life and fun that you don’t always have the opportunity to enjoy with your children. That’s because you’re not usually the primary caregiver for your grandchildren. You get to play and read to them without having to attend to daily needs. 


I loved being a Mother but I found that being a grandmother was more about having fun!


So just over ten years ago I was at Bible Study at church late in the afternoon in the Fall when I received a telephone call from my youngest son. He lived several states west of me so I left the room and took the call. 


His voice was breaking up but he said something like, “Oh Mom you gotta come! You gotta come!”


My daughter in law had given birth to twins and they came very early five days before the phone call. She delivered in week 23 of the pregnancy. 


The twins were very small but stable.


Neither twin weighed two pounds. 


Then the oldest twin had two brain bleeds the day my son called.


I told my son I’d be there by morning. It was just after 4pm and I knew I could catch the 7pm train headed West to the mountains. 


I called my daughter to tell her the news and to let her know I was headed west. As it turned out, my daughter (who is the older sister to three boys) piled her children into the car with her husband and they drove all night to get all of us to the mountains by morning. 


Oh how we all prayed for our newest members of our family! 


The next few days were a bit of a blur. My three older children, their spouses, and their children all headed west to support the twins and my youngest son and his wife. 


Looking back, I remember those hard days. 


Difficult decisions had to be made.


We all prayed for strength. 


I Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”


We sought the Lord. We opened our hands and our hearts asking for the strength of the Lord. As a family we continuously sought God’s presence. 


Both twins survived and today they grow strong and tall. The oldest twin has Cerebral Palsy and he has the sweetest smile you could ever (ever) imagine. His younger brother turned out to be his ‘help’ and one of his biggest fans. 


Looking back ten years now, we still look to the Lord for strength, and thank God every day for the miracles we’ve witnessed in his life. 


This year I fully expect the twins to “outgrow” me (ten years old and 5 feet tall!). 


Our miracle babies are a tower of strength. They overcame many obstacles with God’s help (a little like the Organ Pipe Cactus that survives and thrives in the extremely hot Arizona desert sun.)


What’s remarkable to me is witnessing my grandson fight through every obstacle, every surgery, every every time. 


With God’s help, he IS a fighter and an inspiration to us all. 


Spiritual Practice: God’s Strength


Pray for the children and adults all over the globe who fight to walk, to eat, and even to survive. They are a tower of strength. They are true heroes! 


In God, Deborah


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