Honoring My Mom on Her First Mother’s Day in Heaven

Mom's Final Slide

My mother went home to Heaven on August 18, 2014.  In her honor, as we approach Mother’s Day 2015, I’d like to share one of the last things she experienced while still here with us.

About a week before Mom died she saw a party going on.  It was a heavenly celebration, and she described everyone there as being very excited and happy. As we questioned her about the details, she described decorations—like banners or balloons—and recognized faces of loved ones who had gone before.  I asked what the party was for, thinking she would say it was a welcome-home celebration for her, but her answer was quite a surprise!

“It’s a big party for all of the people who were saved today, and I’m going!”

Well, she didn’t get to go for about another week, but her vision of the spiritual reality confirmed the scriptural truth that:photo 4.10.53 PM

…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  Luke 15:7

Sunrise, Sunset…

139From the beginning, as the Fiddler fiddled from his rooftop on the stage I was enchanted–carried away to the Tsarist Russia of 1905 where Tevye attempted to cope with the challenges to his faith and the influences of the world on his five daughters.  All too soon, Act I neared its conclusion and haunting lyrics filled the theatre and stabbed at hearts…

141

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laiden with happiness and tears

 

I must wonder if the lyricist knew how closely his words echo the scriptures, proclaiming the truth that there is a time for every season…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

He comes out like a flower and withers;

he flees like a shadow and continues not.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9

Many seasons have passed in my life since I first sat enthralled by the saga of the Fiddler on the Roof and yes; they have all flown so swiftly by.  I look at our wedding pictures, amazed that we were ever so young.  I consider my baby who now has babies of his own.  My husband’s hair is white, and mirrors show stark evidence of my age.  May dad has already been gone for five years, yet it seems like yesterday that he was telling me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up.  My fiercely independent mother is independent no longer.  So many sunrises, so many sunsets; and it would be easy to sink into the melancholy mood of the song.  But while I may occasionally visit those days gone by with a nostalgic sense of sadness, I don’t stay long because I have hope, and His name is Jesus. 

A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Isaiah 40:6-8

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

Jesus is the Word and He stands forever, so instead of lamenting the brevity of life I proclaim the truth of the word of God…

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

 

In the Morning We Flourish…

 

The day lilies in my yard astonish me with their beauty—their delicacy and rich colors shout to my spirit of the vibrant imagination and creativity of God.  Aptly known by the scientific name, Hemerocallis, which comes from the Greek words for “day” and “beautiful,” they bloom one morning and have wilted by the next; great illustrations of God’s truth about the brevity of life.

He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.  Job 14:2

O Lord, what is man who you regard him, or the son of man who you think of him?  Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.  Psalm 144:3-4

In the morning of our lives we flourish, blossoming out to become all that God created us to be; growing from helpless infants into accomplished adults, developing careers, raising families, reaching for our dreams.

But it doesn’t last long.  Soon, a look in the mirror reminds us that youth is fading and we may become desperate to hold onto it—turning to diet, exercise and Botox to ward off the inevitable.  And yet, time marches forward, and suddenly we have become parents, then grandparents, then great-grandparents; and we wonder how it happened so fast.

As I ponder the scope of my years, God puts it in perspective for me.  My life isn’t really about the brief time that I am confined to this body—it is about preparing for the eternity I will spend with Him—this is just my warm-up for forever.  So why should I lament the trials I go through now since He has made it plain that they are meant to strengthen me?

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-4

Watching the Summer Olympics, I realized that I’ve never heard an Olympian complain about the rigors of training—each one gladly pays the necessary price to compete in their games.  And so I too will persevere, remembering Paul’s words that,

Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.  2 Timothy 4:8

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2