“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Mommy, never in the ten years that you were with me, did I stop believing God for the miraculous. I never stopped believing for healing, for wholeness, for restoration. I wanted the miracle, and I, like most humans, had a picture of what that would look like. But God reminded me that His thoughts are not my thoughts; His ways are not my ways and He invited me to see from His perspective. I, then, could see that the last ten years were the miracle! You were the miracle! The most miraculous being made evident in that last month of your life. God had made promises concerning you and those you’d encounter. Promised I would be able to see some things in you that I’d not seen in years. Promised He would do some things in and through you, because there was still great ministry in you. Promised that every prayer you’d lifted for your daughters, your granddaughters and your great-grandchildren would be answered and you’d know what He was doing!
I asked for restoration. He restored the spark in your spirit and allowed me to enjoy you in those last weeks. I’d lie next to you in bed, grab the hymnal and we’d sing. You, always the director, would say, “Go up on that last note.” You hadn’t played the piano in years, but this month you played “Yes, God Is Real,” and if I'd had any doubt that He was real before that moment, I was certain of it then. You spoke the very oracles of God that might have been easily missed had I not listened with spirit ears, for every time you opened your mouth, I expected Him to speak. And He did over and over again — you were preparing me to let you go, telling me how much you loved me, strengthening me, and encouraging me to continue to love the Lord with all my heart, freeing me from any guilt I may have been tempted to feel about what I may have done differently. He allowed me to see you as I’d not seen you before and to love you even more deeply than I believed possible. God helped me understand through you that we are spirit, and when the body no longer serves us well, it just becomes a trap from which we long to be free in order to return to Him. How amazing!
They said you were hallucinating. I knew better. I knew that you had reached a place in the spirit that allowed you to see what we couldn’t see with natural eyes. “Who were you talking to?” I asked one day. You looked at me, bewildered. “Who were you talking to?” I repeated. You pointed and said very matter-of-factly, “That man who just walked out the door.” You let me know angels were all around, guarding you, warring on your behalf and waiting… just waiting; for you’d seen that great cloud of witnesses and soon you’d join them.
You talked of marriage. Others thought you had gone back in time and were missing your husband, William. I knew better. In the spirit, you had exited time and space. You had seen the Bridegroom Himself, prepared to take His bride and you implored Him, “Please let me marry!” I just believe you heard Jesus say, “Arise, My love, and come away; for, lo, the winter is past and the rain is over and gone. Arise, My love, and come away.”
We sat in your hospital room on Friday night – Robert and I – and watched you. I knew you were ready and it wouldn’t be much longer. You whispered the words to one of your favorite hymns, giving it new meaning for me:
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest,
Lay down, thy weary one, lay down, thy head upon My breast.
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad.
I found in Him a resting place and He has made me glad.
As Robert read one of your favorite passages of scripture from Isaiah, we felt the presence of God fill the room in a glorious way. I still hear you saying, almost in tears, “I want to be in the presence of the Lord! I want to be in the presence of the Lord!” Mommy, He has honored your final request.
I had asked God to show me what it really means to worship Him in spirit and in truth; He allowed me to care for you and whispered, “This is true worship!”
I asked God to show me His glory; He showed me your face.
I asked God to heal you, and some might say He didn’t honor that prayer, but I know differently. You are now healed and whole. Yes, I asked Him to heal you, and in the process, He has healed me!
Mommy, you remain my hero, my idol, and as cliché as it sounds, you will forever be the wind beneath my wings. God knew what kind of mother I needed to become the woman He created me to be, and He blessed me with you. I couldn’t have had a better mother, mentor, teacher, playmate, storyteller, encourager, supporter, friend. That God trusted you with my life is not surprising; that He trusted me with your life still amazes me. I pray I honored Him by honoring you.
People have called, asking how I am. I am grateful for their love and concern. I do grieve. You were so much a part of me. I miss you. But I really wish I could explain to them what God has done through this time with you that has brought me to such a wonderful place of peace in Him. For as the Lord prepared you to be with Him, He prepared me. He taught me so much about life and about dying, allowed me to see Him in it all. He allowed me to see His sovereignty and to see how He moves on so many levels simultaneously. He has allowed me, as He ushered you into eternal rest, to know a rest in Him that I’ve never known before. And while I do cry, and will, no doubt, continue to cry for days, weeks, even months to come, I know that you are now experiencing in fullness that peace that passes understanding and the love that passes all knowledge. God is gracious to let me know that whether in the body or out, we all can know His peace, His love, His joy, His rest.
Thank you, Mom! Thank you for your life. I am what I am because God gave me you.
I love you so much. I always will. And I will see you again.
Photography by Bonnie Kratzer/BK Designs