This morning I awoke to the tune and words of: “No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus” rolling around in my head. We had begun Mother’s Memorial service with it, thanks to the Lord recently giving it to my oldest daughter to sing at her church in Marietta, Georgia weeks before. Our remembrances of Mom couldn’t have begun in a more precious way. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Becky. Here are its words by Charles E. Weigle. (Find and listen to it, if you can.)
I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus, since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
I would tell you that He changed my life completely. He did something that no other friend could do.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus. There’s no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me.
O how much He cares for me!
Every day He comes to me with new assurance. More and more I understand His words of love.
But I’ll never know just why He came to save me, ‘til someday I’ll see His blessed face above.
My adorable mother died of intestinal failure recently. It is still fairly surreal. Her condition became unexpectedly perilous, for at her fragile age of ninety-three, there was no way to recover from the slide. I had the privilege of being with her that second day of her hospital trial. My sister and brother tried to get here quickly. We had no idea it would be her last full day on earth.
It was not as if we didn’t know that at some point God would probably call her Home. My sister and I talked about her becoming more delicate many times. I’d tell my daughters we probably could not expect much more time with her. There’d been a radical change in her physical abilities— she couldn’t travel any longer, even to cross the city to my house. Up until then, she was vibrant and energetic, a well preserved woman for her age.
My counselor says not to dwell on the suffering of Mom’s last days, rather think of the happy times we shared. That matches what Philippians 4 tells us: whatever is good and pure, whatever is right, think on these things…
Mornings are the hardest, waking up to the reality of her absence. I used to call her several times a week, to hear her voice. This loss is giant. But I’ve been told it is healthy grieving to keep the communiqué going. So I talk to her and began a notebook, “Letters to Mom.” I write about the last weeks, my feelings, my regrets, tell her I’m thinking of her, what’s new: things she’d like to know about, things she’d understand. Talking and writing to her sustain me. And there are other things that help.
If a family member or friend calls, how sweet. Meals have been brought to us, how wonderful. Three gifts of gorgeous flowers, wow! A relative sent a Honey baked ham, how kind is that? Cards have flowed in. A pal asked me to come over and swim, she herself going through chemo with struggles of her own. My husband strives to be understanding of my emotional sensitivity. My sister mourns beside me, knowing how to sympathize instantly. I reach out to my stepfather whose pain stings, without his darling mate at his side. (He is ninety.) And then there is music, uplifting music like this gifted song “No One Ever…” I sit at my piano and play it many times over.
Plus, we have the hardiest comfort of all: God’s communiqué to us. Yesterday I found a balm in First Corinthians 9: 1,2: “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? You are the seal* of my apostleship in the Lord.” Paul was explaining his credibility as an apostle of Jesus Christ, and the application is rich.
Mom was Jesus’s “apostle.” She loved and lived His gospel; shared it with all who came into her presence. Now she’s free! Her eyes are no longer irritated but whole, with 20/20 vision! We who “follow” her are her spiritual fruit, her “seal,”* evidence of her loyalty to the Lord. We can honor her life by living with that same unwavering faith in Jesus.
The morning knowledge that Mom’s gone is not how I like starting my day. Waking up isn’t for the fainthearted. But Reality is God’s Plan. We are only visitors in this world. Mom knew the end was near, that last day. She stayed as long as she could, then it became her turn to travel. She had lived well, and her pre-paid ticket to Heaven was at the “Will Hold” table before its gates. Splendorous! She’s no longer restrained by a frail body! She took her trip of a lifetime! She has to be rejoicing with her Savior and our adorable relatives and friends who went before her. She requested the song, “I Can Only Imagine” which ended the Memorial. (I imagine the Lord let her view her Celebration service–hurray!)
We can rejoice. I do rejoice, for in just a blink or two, I’ll be with her again!
One of God’s names is God of Comfort. I love that. May the Lord bless and comfort you, if you mourn. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” ~Matthew 5:4 If you want to write, I’m at: firstname.lastname@example.org.