Last week was the fourth anniversary of my mom’s passing. And when I think about her journey from this life into the next, I recognize how long and painful it was for her. She entered hospice (due to a long struggle with COPD) where this disease finally took her nearly two years later. She slowly went from a wild and crazy lady, full of life, laughter and fun, to being weak, exhausted and frail. Although she struggled with her physical body, her mind (and her tongue) stayed sharp. Like always.
But, with her mind so clear, it was hard for her to just lie there, day after day, in her hospital bed, in her bedroom, and think, not being able to go anywhere except in her mind. She thought about good memories throughout her 86 years, but she also thought about the painful ones. The pain she endured, and, the pain she caused.
The ironic beautiful thing about this, is that she met with Jesus there. In her hospital bed, in her bedroom, in her safe place. She confessed. She processed the pain from my dad and others that hurt her. And He listened and forgave her for everything she ever did. And let me tell you, she was no saint. I bear witness of that. But, she met with a God that was full of grace and love and forgiveness. She met with a God that would take her just as she was. And He did. Just in time.
My husband and I got to be by her bedside when she died. It was really a beautiful thing. I am so grateful to have been there with her. She was so afraid to die. She wasn’t afraid of eternal life, and she was excited to see her parents and my brother. No, she was afraid to miss anything here on earth. She loved life and living so much, that she was afraid to miss out on a celebration, or a party, a new country to travel to or meeting a new friend. But, on February 1, she gave up the long fight to stay alive. She entered Jesus’ arms of love gently, carefully, intentionally.
You see, He didn’t have to take her. She did some pretty awful things. Sometimes her words could cut like a knife. But His grace really is amazing. And it’s way bigger than her sin.
This Jeremy Riddle song has really meant a lot to me, when I think of my mom and the grace Jesus showed her.
“This is amazing grace.
This is unfailing love.
That you would take my place.
That you would bear my cross.
You would lay down your life, that I would be set free.
Jesus, I sing for, all that you’ve done for me.”
I know He did it for her. I know He took her to heaven to be with him, because He loves her like crazy and because that’s just who He is and why He came. But, when I sing that last line of the song, I also thank Him for doing that for me too. He gave me a gift, by forgiving my mom and taking her to paradise, because nothing means more to me than that.
Someday we will celebrate in heaven together. But today, what would have been my mom’s 90th birthday, I will celebrate her here.
Because I’m pretty sure there’s a party for her in heaven today. And she probably planned it!
How has this amazing grace touched your life lately? How have you been shown this kind of love? I’d love to hear.