This will be our first Mother’s Day without my sweet mother-in-law. It’s been almost a year since Jesus called her home.
The last months of her life were spent in the nursing home. The stroke paralyzed her, and she needed constant care. It was so very hard seeing fiercely independent Mom, stuck in the bed, unable to move freely.
That last year also brought great memories. The stroke not only affected Mom physically, but her personality changed too. For the better, I would say! Before, she was always worried about her appearance and what people would think. After the stroke, she learned to laugh at herself.
In the middle of a conversation with her one day, we were surprised to see her eyes closed tight, shoulders shaking. Thinking she was in great pain, we asked what was hurting. Turns out, she was laughing at something so hard, her whole body was shaking, and tears were almost spilling out of her squinting eyes. She asked us “When did I get so funny?!”
One Sunday we all received a text:
“Come to the nursing home now. Mom wants to see everyone and say goodbye.”
We rushed over. Mom looked frail in her bed. We visited a bit, prayed over her and sang around her. She would nod off from time to time.
Her pastor arrived, and asked Mom if he could pray with us. Noticing she would occasionally fall asleep, he told her,
“Mrs. Betty, it’s ok if you fall asleep while I’m praying. It won’t be the first time someone’s done that to me.”
In a voice barely above a whisper, from her “deathbed,” Mom piped up:
“It won’t be the last time, either!”
One thing Mom always wanted me to do was write a book with all the stories of her life. I would always ask her “Mom, what are we writing about today?”
I hoped this would wake her up, and get her talking. Toward the end of her life, she had no interest in her book. Except for one day. Out of the blue she said,
“The ending of the book will be the story about the cows on the ceiling. Who would ever imagine that we had cows on our ceiling?”
Indeed, who could imagine that?
It’s a beautiful picture of our life in Christ.
“Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power He can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine” Ephesians 3:20 (God’s Word translation)
No one can imagine the abundant life Christ has prepared for us here on earth. It’s more than I ever thought possible! Who would imagine that I would be doing the things I do today? I would never have imagined that I would be writing a blog, or teaching a Sunday School class. Only by His grace and power at work in me.
And the grace He pours over us all, especially during those oh, so hard times of losing a loved one, enabling us to make it through. To wake up that next day, and not have our Mom or Mama to talk to or hug. Who can imagine that? But we make it through, one step at a time, one day at a time, and only with His grace and power.
This is the hope we have been given, through faith in Jesus: Eternal life. This earthly life is not the end. Try as I might, every picture I paint in my mind of the eternal life to come, falls short. I try to envision what it will be like to see our loved ones again. What will it be like to sit at the feet of Jesus?
It will be oh, so much more that we could ask or imagine.
Grace be with you,