Death at My Door (Part 1)

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee" (Psalm 56:3).

One evening after hosting a Bible study for homeschooling friends around a campfire, my observant son noticed a small amber-colored bottle lying on the ground. Walking up to me with the bottle in his hand, he began to read the letters on the bottle's torn label, "S-t-r-y-c-h . . . what's this, Mom?" he asked.

The next five minutes were a blur. I had seen a white powder on my two-year-old daughter's clothes and assumed she'd been in the ashes of the campfire. However, I quickly realized the white powder on her clothes matched the contents of the bottle that my son had just found. My heart stopped as I spelled out the letters again, S-t-r-y-c-h . . . Strychnine! This was an old bottle of poison my grandfather had used years ago to kill rats on our farm! Somehow, we had missed seeing it when we had cleaned out the old shed before converting it into a playhouse. "Oh my!" I cried. "My daughter's been playing with poison!"

Every mom knows toddlers are forever putting things into their mouths, and I could only imagine how much of this poison my young daughter had ingested. Running into the house to call 911, I frantically prayed, "Please, help me Lord!" The anxious tone I heard in the voice of the poison control person gave me no reassurance. "Get her to the hospital as fast as you can," he said. "Strychnine doesn't lose its potency!" Looking at my husband's frightened face, I knew he was thinking the same thing as me — our precious baby girl was going to die!

(To be continued in tomorrow's Daily Focus)

Father, when disaster looms, I run to You, my Rock and my Strong Tower. Show me how to trust You even in the worst of circumstances. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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Comments(39 comments)

MAGGIE R 01/19/2009 07:28:59

I do not really care for death suspence in my devotional

it really turned me off, I know your being creative.

Please keep the focus on the Scripture!

LINDA D 01/19/2009 11:26:45

I'm a bit baffled by the previous comment from someone thinking that this devotional was not focused on Scripture. The featured verse is (paraphrased by me!) "When I am afraid, I will trust in you!" The hardest time to trust is when the outcome is not clear. When there is suspense....when we have to depend completely on the Lord. I found the "suspense" part of this devotional is exactly the point!! It gives the reader a bit of the feeling of having to trust without knowing. Isn't that exactly what trust is all about??

The author's prayer at the end says it perfectly..."when disaster looms, I run to you, my Rock and my Strong Tower..." This devotional entry ended with disaster looming...the most important, yet the most difficult time to trust!! The suspenseful "ending" drove the point home for me!!

naomi r 01/23/2009 20:43:57

Maggie, The thing about a devotion is the study of The Bible. I mean this with only Christian love. Life as we know it, is filled with unpleasant times. The Bible has much to say about the topic of death. Who other to run to but our loving Heavenly father while we travel through that valley?

NIKKI P 01/19/2010 07:11:21

Ack! I have to wait till tomorrow for the rest of the story. Are all of these devotions written by the same person?

HEIDI A 01/19/2010 16:03:11

Not a day goes by that I'm not encouraged and strengthened by your devotionals... thank you. I'm anxious to see tomorrows post! God bless you!

ALISON S 01/19/2011 06:03:59

I love these devotionals. There have been many that leave me saying "I've needed that". Thank you for sharing and encouraging. These devotionals are even great for my non-homeschooling friends.

AMY K 01/19/2011 06:52:09

Anxious to see the 2nd part! For those of you who are critical, don't be. This lady takes time every day to be an encouragement to you. She has one that YOU don't approve of and you get turned off. How petty can we be.

MARY C 01/19/2011 06:56:55

I enjoy these devotionals - including todays. I'll stay tuned...

FELECIA D 01/19/2011 07:59:36

Isn't God's word for all circumstances of life? Trials and tribulations of life is when we seek God's direction, strength, purpose, help.

JODY N 01/19/2011 08:05:09

Maggie, I understand your difficulty in approaching tough topics, but I believe that this was very well placed and wrote. We as homeschooling Mamas spend so much more time with our kids in our own home and that means when disaster strikes it will be in our own home with our own children. Who then should we lean on to get over this fear, deal with our insecurities as a parent, and look to for strength when the inevitable and unthinkable occurs? GOD! Thank you for sharing this intimate family time and reminding us of who to look for when these disasters occur!

KAREN L 01/19/2011 08:23:28

I'm not one to read the last page in a book first. But, I will let you know, I've read tomorrow's devotion. I have the book! Daily Focus - A Devotional for homeschoolers by homeschoolers. It's worth the wait! Isaiah 26:3

JULIE S 01/19/2011 09:24:48

Thank you for the daily devotionals. I start everyday with them.

CARLA D 01/19/2011 09:32:06

I'm so encouraged by these devotionals- and some of them I have experienced in my personal life. This one hit home, because when my sons were younger, they were outside playing at their grandmother's. The then pre-schooler sprayed his brother with oven cleaner, thinking it was bug repellant. My mother was babysitting them, and had left oven cleaner outside after a cookout. You can imagine how I felt when I arrived at her house to pick them up, and my baby's lips were almost as big as his face! Not only that, but when his brother sprayed his legs, it left a scar.

So, again, the author of these devotionals has hit home.

The thing about these devotionals is I know for a certainty that they are from God. There have been some times that I have read them, and I was stopped in my tracks, because the words on the page were so real to my situation at the time. I have even been brought to tears, and/or convicted by MANY of them. Thank you to the writer for sharing your most intimate and personal homeschooling adventures with us. They DO make a difference.

BETH A 01/19/2011 11:21:38

By leaving us "hanging on" to hear how this story ends, it helps me understand (a very little bit) how much you had to be trusting God in this situation. Time sometimes seems to drag on... and we want immediate answers! Very good verse to hold on to. Thanks.

Sherri M 01/19/2011 13:15:05

Today I am getting ready to take my children on a road trip through snowy road conditions to go to the funeral of my friend that I have had since the 6th grade. We have been so close through thick and thin. Her children and my children have been best of friends since the day they were born. We are faced with a lot of grief, a lot of questions, and quite frankly a lot of fear. Her children are filled with uncertainty as they face a whole new future that has changed in the blink of an eye. They now have to go live with their dad and his girlfriend and her two kids. It is not the best of situations for them. Now I have a scripture to hold on to, and to share with them. This day, this message was meant to be. Thank you for sharing...although, as I will be on the road very early in the morning, I doubt I'll be able to catch the conclusion.

GAYLE C 01/19/2011 13:29:12

I thought the suspenseful ending drove the point (or what I believe to be the point, as Linda put it) of the devotional home, too. We can feel like we're left hanging in life or we can, as the devotional points out, put our trust in the Lord and be held by Him. I look forward to reading the outcome.

PATRICIA W 01/19/2011 15:46:44

Patti W

I fully anticipate the full work of our Lord and Savior in this matter...He is all and does all. He has carried me and my family through some very rough times. Keep up the faith all. Thank you for the daily devotions in all content.

ELISABETH B 01/23/2011 07:23:01

What a great reminder that in the midst of my own personal trial that "God is my strong tower, whom shall I fear..."

Life is unpredictable, I am thankful that God holds me.

Thank you for this timely devotional.

Elisabeth B., Massena, NY

KYLA G 03/23/2011 14:00:15

that was great i am anxious to see what happens tomorrow

SHIRLEY D 01/19/2012 05:49:11

Shirley D

WONDERFUL devotional. A fear that all of us as Mothers and Fathers have gone thru at some point in our child rearing. Keep up the great work.

STEPHANIE S 01/19/2012 06:31:40

I don't care for the death suspense / wait for romorrow devotional today either. Too shock value- ish. Kind of what you'd expect in our culture- but not for a devotional.

TAMMY A 01/19/2012 06:45:04

I normally do not leave comments because my day is filled to the brim with homeschooling and all my other responsibilities. When I read some of these criticisms it truly plummets my spirit. I cannot understand why someone would feel the need to criticize someone else for sharing what God has done for them. Witnessing means sharing what God has done in your life. Who is anyone to judge what the author is inspired to write? This is not a Bible Study, this is a story sharing when God revealed something to a simple homeschooling Momma. Please stop leaving negative feedback, because it will discourage someone else from stepping out and sharing what God has done for them. It takes courage to share your personal life with strangers. If you disagree with the author, don't read it, but don't sit in judgement or post discouraging criticisms to someone who is telling the story of how God helped her.

HOLLY A 01/19/2012 07:08:23

Tammy A, you said it so much better than I could or would so "ditto". I have never left a comment on here but like you I'm taking the time and trouble today to log in because I am disgusted that people feel it's okay to criticize these devotions. This is not FB or Twitter - these are a free service and no one is forced to read them. I'll also add that they have been a blessing to my family.

stacey b 01/19/2012 07:12:41

It makes me sad when I read comments like these. Everyone has a right to share, including those who might have an issue with suspense. I do understand the purpose of the devotion and the use of the illustration; however, I too am uncomfortable with not knowing the end. I can only assume the outcome is good because the alternative would be too difficult to write about in this format. Overall, I feel everyone should calm down. I don't feel that anyone is making a personal attack on this woman - just letting her know how they feel about the format. Now I'm off to homeschool my kids and trust God with my day.

TABITHA J 01/19/2012 08:47:35

I think that the author was afraid that she was going to lose her little girl after playing in poison, which is why she panicked.

Donna K 01/19/2012 08:55:37

I find the negative comments super annoying. Obviously some people have a sensitivity problem if they are so bothered by not knowing what happens till tomorrow but many of us found this super interesting. This devotional is in two parts because it is too long to put in one. There is nothing to criticize here in any case. The negative comment people are saying that they don't find this tasteful for the Christian community. Maybe if you are bothered you should unsubscribe and start your own devotional.

DARCY P 01/19/2012 08:56:09

I do not have a problem with the topic, I have a problem with the "stay tuned" idea. I had enjoyed these devotionals up until today where there is a cliff hanger. To me, a morning devotional is something that I can contemplate and study for the day - but without the whole story I do not have that option. It isn't the right forum for a cliff hanger - regardless of topic. It makes it feel unreal and like a soap opera - which I do not appreciate.

CHRISTINE K 01/19/2012 09:12:46

We, in our selfish world want everything now. Sometimes God say's wait! Thank you for reminding us that we can't have everything now...including the end of the we do in our current culture today with our fast technology, and fast food drive thru's, and credit cards. Thanks for making us have a little patience! It's good us! Instant gratification is the world we live in today!

Donna K 01/19/2012 09:54:37

There is nothing "unreal" about this devotional Darcy. All of life is like this at times. When my newborn granddaughter was in the hospital this year and we were waiting for test results God didn't tell us how it would turn out and we had to trust Him with the situation.

SUE B 01/19/2012 09:56:52

I appreciate the devotional today also. I have had to accept many things as a result of my daughter's choices which leaves my husband and I with caring for our two grandsons (one handicapped from drug use during my daughter's pregnancy). I am like their mother because my daughter works graveyard and swing shifts that leave the boys here most of the time. I also homeschool and try hard to work around her crazy schedule. When the boys are not with me, I have to use these verses to trust that God will protect and care for them while they are with their father one night a week and their mother two. Those nights are confusing and difficult for them. They never know exactly where they will be. I do have fear and have to trust that God has the best in mind for them. Their parents do not follow the Bible and their interests are far from God's values and morality especially for raising children. I feel like at any time something could happen when I am not caring for them. I am devoted to providing them with knowledge of God and the Bible, how to care for themselves, education, and what needs to be accomplished for the handicapped child to function with his disabilities. Neither parent thinks beyond their own self interests. It feels like death sometimes when I see their little hearts being turned every which way because of what they see and experience with them. I can only rely on God to help me, as well as, with those little boys who depend on me for so much. They are not disposable children or accessories as they seem to be by their parents. They are precious to God, my husband and I. I do not know the end of this story either, but God does!

Donna K 01/19/2012 10:48:21

Bless you Sue as you serve Him who is able to be with your precious grandsons when you're not. He created them and you are in a good place to be trusting Him with them and your daughter and son-in-law. I am praying with you about the situation.

SHANNON W 01/19/2012 10:49:23

While no one wants to think of the death of their own child, it is very real and true, even among the godly, and those that homeschool. I speak from a very sad heart. Our son passed away in a tragic accident at the age of 7, in the summer of 2010. Just like the author of this devotional this morning (and I totally could relate to her experience), we had taken precautionary measures to ensure safety. Accidents do happen, They are very real. And they CAN be for His glory! Many unsaved have come to Christ because of our precious Ethan's death. God used our tragedy for His glory, and I don't think He is done using it for His glory. While I know some of us might have a peaches and cream mentality, please let us know forget that life isn't peachy and rosey. Death is real. We need Him like never before when we face these circustances! Thank you to the author for being bold and brave enough to share, because I guarantee that at least one person who read this today will face, unfortunately, similar circumstances because are not in control, and we are human and flawed. This world isn't perfect. God bless!

Proverbs 3:5-6

Matthew 7:12

In Loving Memory of Ethan

TONI D 01/19/2012 11:54:03


My soul does make her boast in the Lord: the HUMBLE shall hear thereof, and be glad.

I sought You Lord and You heard my cry and You delivered me from all my fears - even the fear of death! When my precious baby was dying, when we HAD to wait on You Lord, You didn't tell us which way it was going to go - we had to wait and wait and wait on You, we had to trust You every step of the way to keep us, to keep our minds, we had to allow PATIENCE to have her perfect work, that our very souls might be saved in You - and when she was taking her last breath, our hearts flooded as we stood firmly and declared that we'd still trust You and that NEVERTHELESS, You are still God and You and You alone are in control of us, of her, and of all the universe, and that if You do not heal her now, or raise her from death in the next hours, we KNOW that You're able!!! You are able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can think or ask of You! Death has already been conquered by You, Lord, You hold the key!! All our lives are in your hands! You deliver and You grant mercy at Your will that You shall get ALL the glory.... and many souls shall be saved!!! When SUDDEN destruction comes, when disaster is apparent, when death is at our door, we know to run to You, our Strong TOWER, our Hiding Place, our Refuge, our Rock of Salvation! - for You ARE with us, and for us, WILL BE with us, and will never leave us! I thank You JESUS for this moment of remembrance! ...and for your miracle of peace in the time of trouble!

I will bless You Lord, at all times! You are worthy! You're a WONDER down in my soul!

I Love You Jesus!

Donna K 01/19/2012 21:45:01

Amen Toni and Shannon and God bless you both and your families. We lost our son-in-law in a workplace accident in the fall of 2010 and it has been devastating but where else can we go but to Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

TAMI S 01/20/2012 05:18:51

Alot of the best lessons learned are from traumatic stories like this one. Death is a part of life (and scripture!) and the lesson here most certainly points us to scripture and how in everyday events, both good and bad, we need to rely on the Lord to get us through.

FAWN T 01/20/2012 12:28:18

Thank you for leading me to GOD, even when trouble strikes, He is my hope in the everlasting life

KATHY S 01/19/2013 12:53:52

Shannon W

My heart goes out to you for the loss of your son. I am amazed at the strength you have. May God always be with you.

I recently, right beofre Christmas, had a terrible experience. My son had gotten the "Flu type B" .

He got up every morning just like he always did and went to the restroom, before going he gave me his beatiful smile and said "Good Morning Mama".

A few minutes later, I heard a Boom, my son 6ft 2, I knew he had fallen. I went into the washroom, he lay on the floor head aligned with the very thick and hard edge of the bathtub, he acknowledged me and tried to lift his head, he kept saing "I'm o;.k." .

Then as I went to help him get up, his head went back, eyes open, face lloked so white and lips started turning color, hge was completely unresponsive, The cell was close by and I dialed 911 and kept calling his name, no repsonse.

Then he awoke and said "what", having no recollection of what had occurred. The paramedics were here within minutes. Off we were to the overloaded hospital.

There was not one bump or bruise on my sons head, he had no pain in his head, his shoulder hurt a tad.

The hospital was going to send him home. We took a walk to the Hospital washroom, when we came out, he said "mama, I'm diz" and that was it he had stretched his arms out to hold me, I grabbed him and held on for life.

Our Male nurse had left us, overloaded hospital as I said. I screamed out and tried to get him to the gurnee that was in sight. Some female nurses were there to help, they kept telling me I had to let go of him, and I was grasped so tightly, I just couldn't. Minutes later he got back conciousness, and said "what happened?"

3 day hospital stay. They claimed dehydration, which he was still drinking and eating, just less. It was the most horrible feeling, I thought at home I had lost my only child, my sweet boy, my child that has aspergers and was so loving and caring to me and his Grandmother, his Uncle, and our friends. Thank God, for he spared my son.

Dear lord, I am forever grateful for your kindness and Mercy. You gave me my most precious son as a gift, and you have allowed me more time with him. Praise your name!

VICKY K 01/19/2013 15:14:06

We lost our 5 year old daughter last March. The autopsy said she died of pneumonia. She had no cough, no phlegm, no shortness of breath, and the only fever she had was measured at 99.2 the evening before she had the seizure that sent her to the ER. She never regained consciousness and was dead in less than 18 hours. Was there anything we could have done other than pray. She was one of the best things that ever happened to me and I miss her every single day. God is the only way I will make it through this.

CEARIA E 01/19/2013 22:00:11

I agree.....with Maggie that this one. Let's just please stay with scripture. I did not view this as encouraging today. Vicky, God loves you and I am with you if you need someone.

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