Renita Kay Hyde-Garcia
Stubborn and sweet. Giving, yet guarded. Tough, but as fragile as ceramic. She was a fighter. She fought for life. She fought to silence the voice in her head that told her she was insignificant. She fought for her children, always made sure we were taken care of. We never wore a store-bought costume, never turned in a generic school project, never missed a meal—Check my childhood photos for proof. We always had more than enough and then some. She cared about every detail of our lives. Every detail. Every single detail. We called it smothering; she called it love. I’ll miss that.
Her life is a case study in miracles, one after the other. She never should have made it, but ever present was the hand of God. He saved her life on multiple occasions, all the while pursuing her with the tireless love that ultimately saved her soul. She was a praying mother, an example in worship. Far from perfect, but never the same.
She understood what Paul meant when he said we were bought with a price, that we should glorify God with our bodies. How else do you explain how a woman could push songs of praise through cancer-stained lungs, or turn a cancer ward into a mission field? There are so many stories of her using her wig, her scars, or her time in the hospital, not as a crutch to draw pity, but as an opportunity to share a testimony of God’s healing power and his grace to endure. God’s gift of faith in her life gave her the strength to boldly say, “No matter what happens, I win.” She knew that to live this life is Christ, and to die is only gain.
In her later years, my mom started guarding her pennies. Not because she became more budget conscious, but because they served as reminders. What others let fall to the ground without a second thought, she would pick up and hold close as a sign from God.
Matthew 10:29-31 says,
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Every copper piece reminded her of her value to God. Every time she climbed into the car and found one on her seat, or walked in a room and met one on her path she thought, “I know, God. You do love me.” Such insignificant currency. Such an important message.
Mom, like a sparrow taken from flight, you fell from this life, but not outside your Father’s care. When you fell you landed in His hand, and He is lifting you up even now, high above pain and confusion, out of cancer’s reach, into His glorious rest. No longer will you have to rely on coins to communicate God’s love. You will feel its warmth firsthand.
As for me, I will take up your hobby, and when I see a penny I will think of God’s great love, but I will also think of you. I will think of your faith, your prayers for me and for Justin, your sacrificial love, and the evidence of grace all throughout your story.
I love you, Mom. You are worth more than many sparrows. You are priceless.