It's good to be blogging again. For the past month and a half I've been out-of-pocket as my Mother slipped slowly and steadily toward her departure for glory. She departed on Tuesday, February 3rd quietly and peacefully. There is no more pain and suffering. In addition to being in the presence of Jesus, she is totally healed. What a blessing! Even though we miss her, I can rejoice at the fact that she is in a better place, and much better off.
Mother had been in a nursing home for the past 19 months. But over the last 6 weeks Connie (my wife), and my two sisters Kathie and Cindy (and myself) became consumed with making her departure as comfortable as possible. There were times when we simply sat with her. Other times we sang worship songs and prayed over her. Still other times we sat with family and got closer to one another. Let me say my family is incredible. When I go, if there is that much notice, I pray my family surrounds me in the same way!
I know you have probably heard a bad thing or two about nursing homes. But let me say quite honestly and directly...I cannot think of one single negative thing about the nursing home in which my mother stayed. She was tended to constantly. As the family began spending more time in the nursing home, the nursing home tended to us as well. I would call the Jasper General Nursing Home more than a nursing home...it is a ministry.
Many times I rehearsed her departure in my mind, over and over. I thought of how I would respond when she left for heaven. She had suffered a lot, and we were praying for God's mercy on her. But when it actually happened it broke my heart. Just to know she was gone, broke my heart. In my head I knew she was in a better place, but still my heart was broken. Then the Holy Spirit began doing what He does...comforting. He reminded me of how (just that morning) my sister Kathie was driving through our neighborhood when a deer darted out in front of her car and crossed the road. She said the deer looked like it was flying. (No. It wasn't a reindeer!) It was prancing across the road. Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said that was Mother's spirit. She is now free! We believe her spirit was already free at that time. What a confirmation of not only that she was departing, but that she was free. Free of the chains that bound her physically!
Connie received a text from our daughter Stacie late Tuesday night after learning she had departed. Here is the text message:
"I wanted to let you know that I was interceding for Grandmother tonight, a deep intercession. I saw her room full of angels, and later I also saw her giddy wearing a pair of high heels (I don't know what that means), but I got a peace that she would be home soon. I am so relieved for her and heart broken at the same time. Love you!!"
If you knew Mother you knew what the high heels meant! But what an incredible confirmation engineered by the Holy Spirit to comfort us!
And here is how the Holy Spirit comforted my broken heart. Mother passed away on Tuesday evening. At some point on Wednesday (the next day), the Holy Spirit let me feel the joy she was experiencing in heaven. It was very brief, but it was just enough to move the knowledge in my head to reality in my heart. I was overwhelmed! I still miss her. I still hurt. But I know I will see her again. I am overjoyed to KNOW (in my spiritual knower) that she is where she needs to be. She is rejoicing in the presence of Jesus! And she is dancing in high heels! Just saying. Therefore I am rejoicing with her! The Holy Spirit is truly the Comforter.
To know Jesus as Savior is to know the comfort of His Spirit. To know Jesus is to know that we will be with others (who know Jesus)...who depart before us. Make sure you know Him. Settle that today. Then live for Him from here on out. The "here on out" is forever and ever. I am rejoicing in the fact that I will be with Mother and Dad, and all of my family that knew Jesus, and have already departed before me. And I will know Jesus and live for Him...until we meet again!