O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

Have you ever had one of those times when you had so much going on that even finding time to eat become a problem? It has been that way for me over the past couple of months, not complaining because I love every minute of what I do. After several months of hard labor, we managed to open the church and begin having services in advance of our February ‘official’ opening celebration. As always, God has been so good and we had a few families join us from the very beginning.  He sent us good people with a burning desire to help build this church in a way that would change lives. I feel such joy when I pull up to the church and see people busy working, planning and preparing for the next project while laughing and smiling because of the joy. This was the case last Saturday when I walked up to the church, expecting a big list of things to do for our Fall Festival later that day. At one point, as I walked across the parking lot, I could sense a prompting from the Holy Spirit to stop and call my mom.

Why is it so hard to find time to do those little things that mean so much to others? My mom recently had a fall that left her unable to be alone and had to be temporarily placed in a Retirement Home in Arizona for rehabilitation. I believed that she would be there a couple months, then go back home. It turns out that wasn’t Gods plan.

My first thought on that busy Saturday was that I could call her later, maybe even after service the next day. Before I could finish that thought, I knew mom needed to talk and pray now, this moment. I called her and for some reason, our conversation just seemed different than before. Mom had several problems and most of our conversations centered on her pain or on better days and the poor condition of this world today. This time it was different. She seemed to be in pain, but more alert. We talked for a while, and then I asked her if I could pray with her. She said yes, and we had about five or ten minutes of powerful prayer. My mom began to weep, but it wasn’t because of pain this time, I could sense that. I prayed as she glorified God for all the good things He has done throughout her life. It was a time I will always remember. After our prayer, mom asked me a question. It was a question she had never asked me before. She asked, “Rick, you see something. Tell me what you saw when you prayed.” I told her what I saw in my Spirit. I told her that I saw her full of joy, like she hasn’t known in so many years, and that God was removing the pain and restoring her youthfulness. Mom took a breath, relaxed herself, and said, “Honey, I am ready.”

When I think back now, I know God was showing her that He was taking her to a far better place and she accepted it as nothing to fear. For some reason, my mom always seemed to have a fear of dying, but not anymore. The strange thing is that I saw her being pain-free and celebrating youthful joy, yet I never thought God was taking her home. But that’s what God did, a couple mornings later, and He kept His word about restoring her youthful joy and removing the pain that is attached to the body, by calling her home. I am so thankful that I listened to the Holy Spirit and took the time to make that call.

I don’t know what my moms thoughts were in those remaining hours, it doesn’t do any good to dwell on that, but I can say with certainty where she is today, and I am thrilled that she has found peace and joy. Like my dad before her, I know I will see her again. When I do, there won’t be any complications attached to that meeting, it will only be good. There is such a joy in knowing, without a doubt, our loved ones are ready to meet God when they breathe their last breath. We can do like the world and pretend they are being fitted for wings and a harp, we do that to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes we refuse to acknowledge a loved one might not have made it right with God because we love them, but my dad and my mom left solid evidence of where they are today. For this reason, even though my heart is heavy, I rejoice for my mom, and my dad.

My mom and I had a great texting relationship. I tried to text her at least once a day. Several times the past few days I have picked up my phone to send her a text to see how she feels today or tell her something that has happened. I will admit it makes me sad each time to remember I can never do that again. But I do take much joy from my last text from my mom, the evening before she died. It went like this; “Rick, Mike, Sharon, I don’t think mom is going home again. I love you all so much. See U there.”

I can be assured that we have a meeting place, and at the appointed time, we will rejoice together.  

Mom: A happy time with family.

Mom: A happy time with family.

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