My birthday is today, and for the first time in my life, the one who gave me life will not wish me a happy birthday. My first “first” without my precious mama. It has been fourteen days since she left us. Fourteen days was also about how long I had to accept the idea of her leaving. Now, fourteen days later, I am no closer to being “used to it” than the day I was told it was cancer.
Cancer. Metastatic adenocarcinoma…what an obnoxious diagnosis. Obviously, she had cancer long before we knew it. By the time we found out, she was intently awaiting her home-going. She loved us, there is never a doubt about that. But she longed for heaven, for Jesus. She truly did finish the race, fought the good fight, and she kept the faith.
Mom was one of the strongest women you could ever meet; though she never realized her strength. Over the years, she suffered so much with physical ailments, chronic pain, and severe allergies, even to the medicines that could have possibly helped her. Through it all, she didn’t complain.
She had a close, personal walk with God. She was always listening for His voice, and she heard it, often in ways we don’t think of hearing from God. Nothing excited her more than talking about her experiences with Him. Jesus was her passion. She left a legacy of handwritten journals dating back, I suppose, to the early 1990s. My family and I will be soaking in the treasure trove of words she wrote for many months, if not years.
She was a prayer general. If you were sick or had a problem, you would have wanted her to approach the throne of God on your behalf. The world is a colder place without her, but her prayers are still powerfully working on our behalf. If ever you want to do something for your family, cover them in prayer. It is an eternal thing you do when you pray.
She was always looking out for us, her children and grandchildren. She was so giving and generous. And she was wise, offering godly counsel…I wish I had heard her long before I finally begin to listen.
I am thankful for all the years I had with her. Thankful for the life lessons she taught me, and will teach me still through her written words. Thankful that she is not suffering any longer. I am thankful that we know Jesus, and we know that she is with Him; she is healed, at peace, and joyful. In God’s great mercy, He has given me the path to peace in the midst of this great storm. His grace is sufficient. For this, I am most grateful.
I am grateful that the waves of grief cannot drown me because I have an anchor, the Savior in whose arms my mom is now resting. He securely holds me, and He gives me the promise that I will see her again.
In her final hours, I spent a little time alone with her, just talking. I don’t know for sure that she heard me, but I like to think she did. I recited the 23rd Psalm. I made her some promises, including the pledge to pick up her mantle and continue to pray for her children and grandchildren. I assured her we would be fine and it was okay for her to go be with Jesus. I sang Dottie Rambo’s “Sheltered in the Arms of God” to her…just the second verse and chorus.
Soon I shall hear the call from Heaven’s portals,
“Come home, My child, it’s the last mile you must trod.”
I’ll fall asleep and wake in God’s new heaven
For I’m sheltered in the arms of God…
For some reason, that night I couldn’t think of the first verse…now I think I know why…it was for me:
I feel the touch of hands so kind and tender,
They’re leading me in paths that I must trod.
I’ll have no fear, for Jesus walks beside me,
For I’m sheltered in the arms of God
So let the storms rage high,
The dark clouds rise,
They won’t worry me,
For I’m sheltered safe within the arms of God.
He walks with me,
And naught of earth shall harm me,
For I’m sheltered in the arms of God.