In His good and sovereign will, the Lord called my mother home last Thursday. She was 77. In the two years preceding her death, my mom was not herself - she battled depression and various ailments including cancer.
But when we held the memorial services over two nights, we received an outpouring of grief and condolences from fellow church members. and friends who deeply loved her. They also honored her with God glorifying testimonies of how my mom was used by God.
One church leader spoke of how her ministry in her small group was instrumental in discipling other small group leaders. The senior pastor cited how her leadership gave birth to the church hospitality team - a ministry to greet and welcome visitors to the church. Many women viewed my mom as a second mother to them as she extended both loving care and godly counsel to them. Her zeal to share the gospel was noted by many - she led many to the Lord.
For me, I will remember her as a mother who poured her life into her children. When I reflect upon my life, I think of how much of my mother's influence is evident in who I am today. My love for reading was seeded by my mother's inclination to give me books, rather than toys for birthday presents. Toys, in her mind were frivolous and pointless (I didn't agree then, and I don't agree now). She was also a faithful and loving wife. She and my father were married for over 48 years - to my mind, all of them blissfully happy.
Perhaps what is most notable about her life is the transformation she experienced when she encountered Jesus Christ in her late forties. She went from being someone who was self focused, reserved and fearful to being bold, confident and generous to others. After becoming a Christian, she would have opportunity to teach the women of her church - she would be leading ministry teams - she would be discipling and caring for the younger women. Almost always, she would take any opportunity to share the gospel with unbelieving strangers and friends alike.
I am grateful for my mom and we will miss her dearly. But we are comforted by the realization that she is with the Lord and experiencing more joy than we can imagine. In some ways, she is more alive than she has ever been.
Death is a terrible thing - it's not the way it ought to be - but for the Christian, it is not the final word. Christ will have the final word at the close of the age and He will put things right in this fallen world. I'm looking forward to that Day.