My Mom passed away on Monday. She was an amazing lady and set an example for us in so many ways. The last thing she showed us how to do is to die well.
She had a good 90 years. She raised her seven kids, modeling how to care, to serve, to use her talents that God gave her for the benefit of others. She took an interest in each of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and made us feel special. She bragged that each of her children and their spouses were making the world a better place, each in their own way.
In the last month, I noticed a change in her demeanor. Instead of her usual sunny optimism, there was a new element of resignation as her heart was giving out and her energy was going down. As I look back, I see that in her spirit she knew that her time was at hand.
For the last few years she had been saying she was ready to go, but continued to enjoy life and her friends and especially her family. But in her last week in the hospital, she made it clear to us that she wanted to go.
In the passage below, Paul seemed to feel the same way:
“…the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6b-8
Paul knew in his spirit that the time for his departure was near, as my Mom did. Looking back on his life, with humility and a great deal of satisfaction, he could say that he had lived well. It wasn’t easy, but he struggled and prevailed. He didn’t give up, but kept in the race, running hard to the end. All this time, he had kept his eyes on Jesus, living in dependent faith. What a beautiful thing to be able to say at the end of your life! This describes my Mom perfectly.
What Paul had to look forward to is his reward—the crown of righteousness. What is that?
God gave me a bit of insight yesterday on what this reward might be when on a call with my friends Chris and Jen Coursey in an Immanuel Prayer time. In my mind’s eye I saw Jesus dancing with my Mom, as if they were waltzing. Jesus was looking into my Mom’s eyes with the most endearing look that I cannot put into words, only to say that He was delighted to be with her in fullness. And Mom’s overflowing joy was beyond expression. This is what she was waiting for and longing for. This is the ultimate fulfillment.
Then I saw them dancing on a stage and we—her family and friends on this earth—were watching this most beautiful scene as the audience in the auditorium. Jesus winked as us and seemed to say, “Be patient, as your day is coming where you will get the same.” I guess this is why the Bible calls this the Blessed Hope.
At her funeral on Saturday, we will sing “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. The last verse:
And on that day When my strength is failing
The end draws near And my time has come
Still my soul will Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years And then forevermore
The first two lines describe my Mom’s last week. The last two lines describe her future.
What a beautiful and inspiring thing to make this transition so well, with complete confidence that she is transitioning to a much better place. Thanks, Mom, for this final gift!