By now stockings are hung by the chimney with care, chestnuts are sizzling on an open fire, and halls display a bounty of holly … somewhere in the world!
Merry Christmas Eve!
Today, I want to share a ministry with you as a gift from my heart. For five years now I’ve been blessed by Lean into Jesus Ministries. Every year this group of ladies, representing somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 different churches, organizes a ladies’ conference in the small town of Guntersville, Alabama – one that rivals any big city event. The conference this year “Willing” will be held on February 1st and will include times of great worship, testimonies, food, and fellowship.
I was honored last week to write their weekly blog. I’d like to share that with you today as a means of encouragement for those whose grief is triggered by the holiday season. I also want to encourage you ladies to take a look at their website and consider registering for the upcoming conference. Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/willing-womens-conference-tickets-67930009487
Sunday morning, as I headed out for church, I grabbed a scarf and flung it around my neck. The mingle of black and brown I’d once received from my mother as a Christmas gift circled my smile as I remembered our Christmas shopping days. We always found something to laugh about – usually my driving or missing sense of direction. We’d play our music and dance in our car seats along the way. Neither of us could really dance worth a flip, but we simply could not keep still when listening to music.
Arriving at church Sunday, Ron and I made our way to our seats and got ready for worship. I almost laughed when I heard the first two notes. I knew that song! “You Are Life” by Hillsong was one Mama and I listened to quite often on our joyrides. Singing it Sunday reminded me of one of my most favorite memories.
Shortly after my mother went to be with Jesus, we sang that song at church. Since closing my eyes while singing helps me visualize who I’m singing to, it was easy for my mind’s eye to suddenly and clearly imagine Mama holding both of Jesus’ hands in hers, swaying back and forth. I could hear her singing, “I’m living in the light of my Savior, dancing in the arms of Forever. I’m singing like I’m walking on water. You are life alive in me.” What a glorious and comforting picture the Spirit painted for me!
I recently had a friend ask me if it made me sad to hear others talk about doing things with their mothers now that mine is spending Christmas with Jesus. I said, “Absolutely not!” How could I ever be sad that she’s dancing with Jesus? Sure, I miss her, but I know her struggles are over, and I’ll see her again one day. We’ll both laugh, and sing, and dance together in the arms of Forever.
If you have friends whose loved ones have recently passed, don’t be afraid to bring them up in conversation. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know it does my heart good to hear another’s sweet memories of the ones I still hold dear.
Can you imagine how Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt when she heard Jesus had been resurrected? Then picture, if you will, the moment Mary left this world and entered into Paradise. The Word she had lovingly taught to speak called her name. The Way who had held her finger as He learned to walk now ran to her. The Joy of the World flashed the smile He surely inherited from her. She was finally dancing in the arms of Forever… again!
I can now joyfully declare that I’m dancing with Jesus most every day. I often feel like I’m walking on water. However, when my time comes, I want to dance with my mother again. The only tears we’ll shed will be from laughing like a bunch of schoolgirls. As much as I long to see her again, I CANNOT WAIT even more to literally dance in the arms of Forever. To sing with Jesus while we are walking on the River of Life. To be fully alive and perfected – forever!
Remember the good.
Forget the bad.
Look forward to tomorrow.
And have a very Merry Christmas!
“Then he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s main street. The tree of life was on each side of the river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever.”Revelation 22:1-6