In My Momma’s Tote

I caught a whiff of mustiness as I opened the lid of the clear, plastic tote and starred at the brittle, yellow pages packed within. Years of my mother’s writing and research reduced to a single tote of loose papers, notebooks, newspaper clippings, and pages torn from magazines.

My mother possessed an insatiable appetite for the knowledge of end-time events and prophecies. As a teenager, I considered her quest for information an embarrassing obsession. She talked about it constantly – to anybody, including my high school friends. My desire to understand was sub-zero.

Then I grew up.

Yes, physically, but spiritually as well. I get it. I mean, I’m no scholar of eschatology, but I understand Mom’s search for answers. She needed to recognize the signs – for her eyes to be eyes that see. She needed to feel prepared, and to do that she needed knowledge.

Mom always intended to turn her research into a book. Before her physical body gave out, I sensed her hope that I might complete the task. I knew otherwise. Mom’s research, much like the focus of the world, fixated on the physical signs – economical shifts, world politics, environmental disasters, etc.  Yes, the alignment of certain events are important signs pointing toward the second coming of Christ, but what will His second coming mean to us personally if we are found asleep spiritually, lukewarm and dispassionate about our faith? What if we spend all our time preparing for a physical disaster and neglect the one thing that really matters – our spiritual preparedness.

Please don’t misunderstand. Preparing for a physical disaster exercises wisdom, but we need to prepare spiritually for the times we must fight to remain faithful when spiritual disasters knock us to our knees.

What is a spiritual disaster?

In the book “Spiritual Prepper,” author Jake McCandless defines a spiritual disaster as “an event that occurs in the life of a follower of Christ that challenges his or her faith and the practice of it.”[1] He goes on to say, “Just as physical disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and war have the potential of destroying our physical life, a spiritual disaster has the potential to wreck our faith and our practice of it.”[2]

Surely, a gun to my head demanding I denounce Christ qualifies as a spiritual disaster. But what about the things of everyday life? Divorce? Property loss or financial ruin? Job loss? Death of a loved one? Abuse? Illness? Betrayal? College? Peer pressure?

Maybe you fear failure if you are blindsided by a spiritual disaster. Maybe your current struggle leaves you with more questions than answers. Maybe a previous challenge strengthened you and you feel nudged to share your testimony.

Praise the Lord for those who share their stories! I gain strength and encouragement in the faith walk of others, do you?  Just like those in

Hebrews, Ch.11 – often referred to as the “Faith Hall of Fame.” Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah to name just the first few.

“13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” – Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV)

Did you catch that?

We must stay focused, unwavering, holding on to our faith for that “better country – [our] heavenly one.” The one God himself prepared for us.

Yes, God strengthens, comforts, and encourages us, but we often need the witness of others who can testify first hand of the Lord’s touch during their own struggles. I look forward to sharing many of those stories, and a few of my own, in this space. I pray you will be blessed as you read them in subsequent posts.

Mom had plenty of stories, and shared them with anyone who would listen. She spent a majority of her last 20 years fighting health issue after health issue before passing at age 66. She didn’t turn from her faith when she fought cancer. She held firm when she lost an infant grandson. She gracefully accepted her circumstances when her body weakened and confined to a bed.

Biblically, we did not always agree. Her focus on physical signs, the tribulation period, and the method of Christ’s return created some interesting, room-clearing conversations. She stood firm on her faith. I am grateful Momma spiritually prepped, and provided spiritual roots for my siblings and me.

Closing the lid to the old tote, I secured it for safekeeping. Although I do not see any attempts in the future to finish her research, or write the book she always dreamed of publishing, I imagine Mom smiling at the irony.  Her eye-rolling, audible-sighing then teenage daughter is now mature, embraces end-time discussions without running from the room, and writes for a ministry called

Prophecy Simplified.

Who saw that coming?

Oh, yeah.


“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)



Rita Halter Thomas is a staff writer for Prophecy Simplified. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of a college missions major.  She is also an award-winning writer, the founder of The Write Editor,, and a former newspaper and magazine publisher with 23 years’ experience in print and digital media. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.