There are no words.
That moment you hear a beautiful, godly woman, age 39, wife, mother of 2 boys ages 9 & 7 - a woman who has been your mentor, your friend, who has played a huge role in your life by allowing her then 3 year old son to be in your wedding and whom you have worked with for your own sister's bridal shower - is dying. "...perhaps a month (and probably not that long)", according to her husband's CarePage post.
She's fought hard for 2.5 years, for her husband, for her sons.
The Lord has positively shone, brightly, through this dear woman and her husband throughout the last few years.
She and her husband told their two sons the latest update and, in her own words, via facebook, "that was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life". That, after fighting 2.5 years of cancer. After hospital stays. After physical and emotional pain and suffering. In her last weeks of life.
...For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. (Habakkuk 1:5b)
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:7-9)
Before the boys knew their mother was nearing the welcoming arms of the Lord, within hours of learning her life here on earth was coming to an end, fast, she posted on facebook:
"The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He wakes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He Restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his names' sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enenmies. You annoint my head with oil. Surely my cup overflowes. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23
The Lord continued to shine through her.
After she told her sons that she was going Home, she posted:
O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home!
Isaac Watts 1719 (Ps 90)
She was released from the hospital to be treated with hospice care at home during what became her final days. I don't know exactly how much longer she was lucid, but I do know it was only a few days. She became extremely tired and slept peacefully most of the time. Yet, she was still fighting.
She was fighting to bring glory to the Lord. With each of the final breaths she took. I can only pray the Lord gives me a similar grace - that He will shine so strongly through me, in my final days.
Final days... to those who are united in the Lord... those "last days" aren't really last days. It may be many, many years before we see them again. Yet, when one is a child of God, what are 60, more or less, years of physical separation when all eternity, in the presence of God stands before you?
When my dear, godly grandmother passed away, Sunday, Thanksgiving weekend, 2003 - the grandmother who's ring I now wear daily with remembrance of her testimony - I was with a college friend's family in Philly, Pa. for the holiday. I called my grandmother (who had apparently been relatively unaware of her surroundings prior to my call) to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving and to tell her I loved her once more. We knew she had only days left here on earth. She, by His grace, perked up, sounded like the grandmother I always remember - (she was tired that time, of course, yet) joyful. We talked for a few minutes. As our conversation drew to a close, my last words to her were, "I love you, Grandma. I'll see you later."
I'll see you later.
Yes, as believers, we will see those believers who have gone before us later. In the midst of physical grief, appropriate grief, for those who are sons or daughters of the King who have gone Home, there is comfort that we will see them later!
Life here on earth is a mere season. When one thinks in terms of eternity, life - no matter how long or how short - is a season. Our spirits are eternal. For believers, life hear on earth is the spiritual pregnancy/gestation in preparation for the birth of our souls into Heaven.
This is a hard concept to grasp, yet, I know it is true.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep... For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 16-17)
While many of us know these Words from Scripture to be true, as sinful, frail human beings, we can still struggle to make sense of suffering. Ann Voskamp, in a recent blog post, (please visit the link and watch the video!), addresses this very issue. Please take time to watch the video on her blog - SO worth the 15 minutes!