By Dawn Smiling

The date was February 5, 2014.  I was driving down North Dale Mabry at 7:20 am when my cell phone rang.  As I looked at the phone, I could see my sister’s name.  I knew she was about to tell me something I dreaded to hear.  In all of the years I have lived in Tampa, Florida, she has never called me this early.  I knew she was calling about Mom.  As I picked up the phone, she asked me to pull over.  That was when I knew my mom was home with the Lord. You always believe that you will be prepared, but I was not prepared.  I had the best mom in the whole world.  Her name is Bertha Mae, and I am so grateful to have known this special woman of God.

I am grateful that Mom introduced me to Jesus Christ.

My mom made sure I was in church every Sunday.  Although she did not attend on a regular basis, she made sure my sister’s and I were up early and dressed and ready to go to my grandma’s church.  It is my mother’s guidance that opened the door for me to be introduced to Jesus Christ.  My mother’s love for Jesus gave me a desire to know more about God.  Her love for God was a constant example for me and my sisters.

I am grateful that Mom gave me the courage to accept Jesus as my Personal Savior.

As a teenager, I experienced many struggles as a young Christian.  My mom would always look at me and say “you are different, and you won’t be able to do what others do”.  When I could not figure out why I didn’t fit in with

the world, it was my Mom helped me to see that God is real and so is His call over your life.  My mom helped me to see that God can keep me through anything I had to face because He called me, and He loves me.


I am grateful that Mom taught me about the joy of the Lord being my strength.

When you leave home, you always want your parents to see that you are living better.  Your parents feel better when they know their child is happy.  It was the hardest day of my life to call Mom and tell her my marriage was over.  When I called the house, I can still hear her say my name “Dawn”.  She said, “don’t let anyone steal your joy”.  I am so grateful for those words from my Mom.

I am grateful for the joy of the Lord.  Joy goes deeper than possessions. Joy is built in the lining of your soul.  Joy enablesyou to smile when circumstances look like you should cry.  Joy tells you that no matter what you are facing, the situation will not diminish the light that God has placed in you.

I am so grateful that God thought so much of me to allow Bertha Mae to be my friend, my confidante, and my Mom.  I am grateful that God did not forget me and my sisters.

I am truly grateful for life in spite of my mom’s death.  I have unspeakable joy!

Dawn Smiling

Dawn Smiling enjoys volunteering at Grace Family Church as a prayer counselor, part of the soul care ministry, and on  Beautiful Monday Nights. 

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