(Picture above is a screen shot of Moms Facebook page)
This time last year, our family was preparing for the celebration of life service for our Mom. That day was interesting, and exhausting.
Today, I have a mingling of feelings and I cannot seem to decide which one to remain in. A part of me wants to go to my Moms grave and just weep. But another part of me wants to enjoy the day, celebrate those in my life, and go buy flowers! I want to eat pie. I know that technically I can do all of these in one day but for whatever reason going to my Moms grave seems to be the hardest. I have bounced back and forth, having feelings of guilt for not wanting to make the drive by myself or even with my husband. For now, let me share with you what I spoke at her celebration of life service. This is completely unedited as it was written the night before and under heavy grief and exhaustion.
My Mom was an extraordinary, beautiful woman. She loved deeply, was passionate about life, never let her battle with Lupus define her, and wanted to please God in everything. She desired reconciliation of certain relationships, strove for love and peace in her home, and wanted the best for each of us.
As her children, we got to see her love us unconditionally. We saw her cry over the brokenness of others and witnessed beauty in its purest form. Some of my fondest memories are of her sharing scriptures with me. Isaiah 41:10 was one of the first ones she taught me when I was scared at night. She was the one to lead me to Christ at her bedside when I was 7. I remember her praying for me, and letting me know that God held me in my heartache.
Our family vacations were never dull and when things got rough, she was one that would try to find something to cheer us up. I will miss her laugh. Her smile. I will miss the ways that she lovingly cared for each of us. But she showed me how to love God and how to love people. She showed me how to be a Mom and now I get to pass that love on to my daughter, whom she also treated just as one of her grandchildren. Not everyone accepted my daughter as a part of our family but my Mom did and I can tell you that my daughter will never forget her because of that.
I am thankful for a Father who loved our Mom and a Mom who loved our Father. They made sure we knew about it. Often we would find them kissing in the kitchen or making up after arguing over the salt and pepper shaker. My parents were in everything for the long haul and that definitely included ministry. Every ministry decision Mom would do with her whole heart and she was excited to worship God in that way. On the same note, my Dad allowed my Mom to serve and he did an excellent job uplifting her into those different roles. We witnessed our parents go through the hardships involved with ministry. Through it all, we learned how harmful sin could be. How it can penetrate and scar the Lord’s most faithful servants. The most beautiful things that I can say occurred from those scars was the grace and forgiveness my Mom extended to so many. She may have been deeply hurt and beaten but she loved you anyway. She was able to do that because Jesus had done the same for her.
She would not complain about the pain that she was in, nor describe the list of health issues that she knew would eventually end her life. She did not let her illness define her. She never used it as a crutch. If anything, it gave her more determination to serve God more and more each day by loving others as God loves everyone. This was one of the reasons why she and my Dad served in Dominica these last several months. When there was a need she would fulfill that need. When God said, Go to Dominica, she was ready to lay her life on the line. She served with everything within her. She was willing to give all because you were worth the sacrifice. Each of you were worth the sacrifice because she understood how much God loved each of you. She was willing to give her life just so that you would know that. She was willing to give her life because Jesus gave His for her. He brought healing to her mind, her heart, and her soul. She understood what it meant to love Jesus.
I can stand here as a proud daughter of an amazing Mom, confidant, and friend. She showed us what the scripture in Mathew 16:24 states, “ Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” Let me ask you this. What selfish ways do you need to give up today? What legacy do you want to leave behind? My Mom died giving her all for others. She died ultimately giving her all for her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, leaving a legacy of such beauty of God’s deep love for us. She loved Jesus. She loved you. And she would want you to know that God loves you so much more.