Letters to God - Joy
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LETTERS TO GOD -- JOY
I will find joy in each day,
praise Your name,
and speak to others about Your love and grace!
The joy of the Lord is (my) strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing this, that the testing of your faith develops patience, and patience must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
Your life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Don’t become enamored of your plans for tomorrow. Remember, your time is in My hands and each day is a gift from Me. One day, I will call you to be with Me, so make the most of today, keeping eternity in mind.
I thank You for allowing me the time to be a spiritual matriarch for our family. Even though I hardly see myself as an example of the Christian life, I’m glad others see Christ in me through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I live to finish my spiritual race with joy, and to complete Your task for me of bringing my loved ones to You.
You are a loving, responsible Father. You give us what is good for us (a carrot rather than candy). Prayer is daring when we truly seek Your will – not my will be done, but Thy will be done.
As I look at the end of my life getting closer, You are taking a larger place in my life. I am only sorry I did not give You more reign in my past. But You can turn anything for Your good and I see You doing that with the days You will give me. Thank you.
Your daughter, Nancy
Help me to finish the race…
“BREAKING THE TAPE”
It was Sunday evening, April 29th, when I realized my mother was going to leave us. Although we had been praying for miracles and we were receiving what we thought were daily victories, my mother peacefully knew that she was going home to be with the Lord. Upon her request, we turned her bed to the window, so she could enjoy a beautiful sunset over her beloved ocean. She asked about all the wonderful birds flying along the horizon. By the looks on our faces, she quickly realized that these were sacred images for her personal enjoyment. At that point, the spiritual symbol of the dove became the theme for the remainder of her life.
The next morning, Monday, April 30th, my mother’s friends from her long-standing church and covenant groups began appearing throughout the day. In my “prior life,” I had considered many of these women to be rather strange (“natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him”), but I now understand, cherish and love every one of them. I watched as they prayed, sang and held hands – I witnessed a spiritual outpouring like never before.
Late that morning, we tracked down my mother’s sister, Judy, who teaches high school in the small, Central Oregon town of Burns. My mother really wanted to see her, and there was some urgency in my mom’s failing voice. When told that it would take Judy at least 10 hours to get there, some of the last words my mother said were, “I’ll hold on until then.”
Judy drove the fours hours to Boise, caught a plane to Salt Lake City, and then made the last flight into Orange County about 10:30 p.m. My mom’s husband, Bob, and I stayed at the hospital and cheered mom on as we watched her oxygen level and pulse rate drop. Bob and I were singing and encouraging mom to the “finish line.” A couple of my mom’s friends picked Judy up at the airport and whisked her to the hospital about 11:15 p.m. Judy spent 15 or 20 minutes alone with mom – it was a wonderful scene.
A number of us then joined in mom’s room and fellowshipped together. We cried, we prayed, we sang joyful songs. At about 12:30 a.m., one of mom’s girlfriends whispered to me, “It’s Ok now, everything’s Ok, your mom’s ready to let her spirit go, but she needs to hear it from you.” I went to the head of my mother’s bed, held her hand, and leaned close. I had the opportunity to say everything a son wishes he could tell his mom – every final “I love you”, every final “thank you”. Then I softly whispered, “Everything here is done. It’s OK to let your spirit go now.”
Within seconds, she peacefully started to slow down her breathing -- 5 seconds between breaths, 10 seconds between breaths, 20 seconds, 30 seconds… And then, with a slight smile on her face, she drifted away and entered the loving arms of Jesus. He was so merciful, he was so faithful – there was no pain, only peace. We grieved, but we also embraced the joy of mom entering into eternity with our Lord. Just at the moment that my mom’s spirit departed, we could almost hear Jesus say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”
What a precious and glorious memory for all of us. You couldn’t have been in that hospital room and not left a believer…
. . .A believer in the presence, power, love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
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