Dear Sweet Friend,
It’s been awhile since we’ve traveled this particular road together. Thank you for joining me again. I’ve not written more than a sentence or two since the middle of February, but my mother’s recent passing cause me to blow the dust off my computer and force my creaking author wheels to turn.
Many of you have been so kind to send sweet messages that wrapped my raw heart with tender layers of love. My most earnest prayer the last few months has been, “Lord, teach me how to love people.” Your words, cards, flowers, gifts, and hugs have taught me valuable lessons in how to love those who grieve. As another author-friend Katie Wilson recently said, “Give the gift of presence when someone is grieving the loss of a loved one. Words are not necessary but “with-ness” is.” I love that word – “with-ness”.
Thank you for being with me.
I thought I’d honor Mama by sharing what I wrote for her funeral. It may still be a few weeks before I’m back in full force here on Perfection Road, but know I’ve not forgotten your patient, loving-kindness.
Grace, peace, and much love to every one of you!
Music became my second language because of my mother’s love for it. She liked all kinds – gospel, country, rock, and pop. She’d even come to love my contemporary Christian playlists.
The music we chose to accompany her slideshow began with the song “See You Again” by Carrie Underwood. I’m sure she specifically requested this song because she loved the meaning behind it. However, I am most certain she believed the new body she would someday receive would look just like Carrie Underwood’s, and she’d soon strut with one hand on her hip and the other waving high in the air!
We were sure to add a couple of Elvis songs. As her memory of the most recent minutes slowly began to fade, she still remembered every single word of any Elvis song. Gary and I grew up hearing her belt out “Swing Down Sweet Chariot” and “Mansion Over the Hilltop” as she danced a jig around the house.
As her memory declined, her eyes turned more toward Jesus every day, so I had to include Allen Jackson’s “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” in our mix of songs. I think she’d flash a smile and a wink over that decision.
In the past few months some of my favorite songs began to minister to her weary soul. Just last Monday, I took her to see her brother in the hospital, even though she didn’t feel well. As my music played, I saw her lay her head back, close her eyes, and sway to the music. Her cheeks rose just a bit over her curling lips as my car transformed into a sanctuary of worship just for her. There were songs that spoke of:
- the peace of God’s presence that won’t let us go;
- His overwhelming, never-ending reckless love;
- the fact that we are fully known and loved by Him no matter what we do.
She especially seemed to like Chris Tomlin’s song “Home” because she knew there was a better place waiting for her and she would one day dance on seas of amazing grace!
I most especially liked knowing that she too liked one of my most favorite songs titled, “We Dance”. Many mornings I sit and listen with my eyes closed, slowly swaying as I picture Jesus holding me close. Last Monday, I noticed her doing the same things when she heard these words:
“When my faith gets tired and my hope seems lost, You spin me round and around and remind me of that song – the one You wrote for me, and we dance. And I will lock eyes with the One who’s ransomed me; the One who gave me joy for mourning. And I will lock eyes with the One who’s chosen me; the One who set my feet to dancing.”
Mama would be the first to admit she was no Bible scholar, and she never could put her finger on a specific Scripture when she wanted to – but she knew the message behind those Scriptures. As her doctor visits increased, she read that Bible of hers more often, and I’m convinced she prayed without ceasing. The Holy Spirit had met with her and finally convinced her that she was loved for who she is, not what she had or hadn’t done.
In our last conversation Thursday afternoon, we laughed and she cracked jokes. But then, in a tone I hadn’t heard before, she said, “I’m just ready to be with Jesus.” She knew without a doubt her home would be with Him.
I don’t know what life between our physical death and Jesus coming back is like. But I know that I know, if Mama has her way, she’s strutting down the path with one hand on her hip and the other waving high in the air!
“What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived – God has prepared these things for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)