As many of you know, my mother passed away on August 4. My sisters and I wanted the funeral to be a celebration of her life and so I penned the following tribute to my mom.
Sunday, August 5, I woke up knowing that both of my parents are no longer on this earth. My mom went to be with the Lord Saturday in a glorious home going. One breathe she was still earthly bound, with the last she was in the presence of the Lord.
In the 11th chapter of Hebrews, we read about what faith truly means. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (11:3)
Throughout this chapter we discover what “by faith” truly means. The faithful of the Old Testament lived by faith. The writer of Hebrews concludes the chapter by saying “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance that race that is set before us.” (12:1)
From my earliest memories, I remember going to church. I was 3 years old when we moved to Jacksboro, Texas. My mother didn’t drive, most women didn’t in those days. So, I remember our pastor, Bro Hale and his family, would come and pick up my mom, sister, Jo Lynne, and me up for services.
As much as I can remember, we went as often as the doors were open. I remember attending RA classes, and listening to the youth choir practice on Sunday nights. I remember the Sunday mornings my mom would wake me up after falling asleep during the sermon! Once we moved to Lone Star, mom learned how to drive and we began attending church in Daingerfield. Again, a pattern of attending church was established.
My mom lived a simple life. She spent most of her life taking care of people. While my dad worked long hours and was gone for days, mom took care of the children, hers and the neighbors. When my dad developed cancer she took care of him.
After my dad died, she took care of the elderly, first in Longview and then in Wichita Falls. When she couldn’t do that any longer, she took care of kids and lots of them. From grandchildren, great grandchildren, great nieces and nephews to neighborhood kids, mom was a godly example and fulfilled what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments: To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; and to love your neighbor as yourself.
I’m more that sure mom fulfilled the second one. There were times she took better care of her neighbors than herself!
When my mom started taking us to church, I’m sure she never dreamed that a missionary would come from the family, neither did I! Not once during my childhood did I ever imagine, think, or dream of being a missionary.
My mom never said much to me about me being a missionary and living in distant lands. Whenever we spoke she would just say how much she missed me and how she wanted to see me.
Last spring, I took mom to eat lunch at Stanley’s. (note: Stanley’s is a local hamburger place in WF) I introduced mom to Beanie burgers while I was a student at Midwestern and she liked to eat them almost as much as I do. Anyway, I had to go out to the car to get something and when I returned I heard mom sharing with Mrs. Stanley how proud she was of the job I was doing of taking the Gospel to other people.
It was the first time I ever heard my mom say anything like that.
In my absence, my sisters took hold of the rope of taking care of my mom, especially my oldest sister Jan. She unwaveringly took care of mom and had to make hard decisions at times concerning mom’s care. I am indebted to those who stood in my place so that I could go where I sensed the Lord sending me.
Saturday I sang some of her favorite hymns to her and the family had a sweet time with her. As my sisters and I said our goodbyes, the Lord impressed upon me to read from Revelations 21:1-4. It is one of my favorite passages since my days in choir at Faith Baptist and we learned an anthem based on it.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming day out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:1-4)
Moments before my mom took her last breath, my sister Nola and I saw a tear run down mom’s cheek. He wiped away her tear and death shall be no more. My mom is in a much better place now.