Yesterday was such a lovely day.
Blue skies. Gentle breeze. Hint of autumn. Early time with my Jesus. Breakfast and morning devotions on the front porch. Slow-paced but amazingly productive. Homemade mini-pizzas for lunch. Reading lessons with my youngest on my lap. Silly costumes, scissors and glue, football, bike races, and failed kite-flying attempts.
Ok, honestly, it wasn’t nearly as perfect as that sounds. One child still was not done with school at 5pm on a Friday. Siblings quarreled and whined. Unusual anxiety threatened to overtake me a few times. But I prayed and worshiped my way through the stresses. My Jesus gave me deliverance for each moment.
The day really was as perfect as possible on earth.
But then the phone rang.
I answered, excited to see the name of a college friend I have not talked with in ages. But I quickly realized this was one of those dreaded calls. “Have you heard the news about Lynn?”
Shock. Despair. Denial.
Frantically, I searched Facebook for any sign that it wasn’t true. Surely not. I just saw her last week.
She was completely fine. After not seeing each other for years, we had met at the park as she drove through town on their way home from the beach. We talked, laughed, and encouraged each other as our combined ten children played around the park.
Despite time and geographical distance, Lynn still captivated my heart. Our connection was not just because of a great friendship. It was Jesus inside us that kept us close.
We shared stories about how hard it is to be a mom in the midst of life’s difficulties. She mothers six children under 8, several with special needs. For me, it’s chronic illness in myself. Either way, we agreed that we trust our Jesus and that He always gives us grace for the task at hand.
We reminisced about our college days together. Somewhere inside me, I felt like that young college girl once again. A world full of possibilities ahead in our futures.
I motivated her with the hope that the moment-by-moment demands get a bit easier as the children grow older. She told me to keep on writing to encourage moms. There was at least one mom reading who needed it.
And if Lynn – a woman filled with the Holy Spirit’s compassion, gentleness, wisdom, patience – needed that encouragement, then there is a plethora of moms who need it also. (I use the word “plethora” in Lynn’s honor. She increased my vocabulary during our college’s days.)
The devastating news was true.
Lynn is now face-to-face with Jesus.
Wait, why do I call that news devastating? She is standing in glory, receiving eternal joy and rest. She finally “gets it” – her questions are answered, doubts satisfied, fears and tears erased.
I have no doubt she has already heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
From the countless testimonies I have heard in the past 24 hours, I know it is true. Jesus used her to impact countless lives for eternal glory. Her smile alone was enough to minister to the weariest soul. A smile that radiated the presence of God Almighty, Jesus Himself.
That is why the news is devastating. We miss her.
I have treasured each moment of today.
It is all a gift. I know that. Seven years ago, my Jesus rescued my life and gave my family more time with me. But I tend to forget.
Today, I lingered on the sofa with my husband, hugged my children a little closer, and pondered some big questions. I have been asking God the expected why questions. But my biggest question is the one that impacts my daily life.
If I don’t wake up tomorrow morning…
Have I taught my children everything they need to know from me?
My heart grieves with such heaviness thinking about Lynn’s husband and children. I pray desperately for her dear husband, for supernatural wisdom and strength. Their children may not understand, but they know. I picture their faces at the park last week, and I can only barely imagine the impact of yesterday on their little hearts.
I heard Lynn training them to be kind and respectful. I am sure she taught them to confess and forgive, love and serve, trust and obey. Her home was certainly filled with Bible stories, all told while pointing to the truth of Jesus.
We talked about teaching reading and math. She commented that her goal of teaching one particular child to read this fall would be extended until spring.
She didn’t have more time. Her mission on earth was fulfilled. I want to ask God why her little boy will learn to read from someone besides his mommy.
I know Lynn did not teach her children everything she planned and desired to teach them.
But I know she taught them the most important lesson a child can learn.
She taught them to love and trust Jesus. All she had to do was live her life in front of them. And she did. She lived and loved Jesus. And they watched. Every moment. Lynn’s children are oh, so little. But I am convinced that remembrance of her walk with Jesus will be etched in their memory.
My day will also come.
I look forward to seeing my Jesus face-to-face. I hope I have many years still to spread His glory on earth. But perhaps today will be my day. If it is, there is one thing I want my children to remember about my life:
A mom who passionately loves, trusts, obeys, and pursues Jesus.
He is their only hope to make it through the crisis. Jesus. He will be enough for them, even without me.
So today, I grieve. But I will let my children see me grieving with hope. Hope in eternity. I will weep repeatedly. But I will let them watch me worship and talk with Jesus through my tears. I will stand in her funeral and allow my daughter to comfort me. We will talk about heaven and eternity, Revelation and I Thessalonians 4.
Tomorrow, I will cook, clean, manage my home, and teach school. But only after spending time first seeking my Jesus. I will say “yes” when my little one wants to help me cook. I will set aside my project to snuggle. I will clean messes, distribute band-aids, and intervene in squabbles. But only after spending time first with Jesus.
Day after day, I will teach. I will teach my children to use their manners, walk away from a hurtful conversation, speak kindly, respect authority, separate reds and whites in the laundry, use a napkin instead of their sleeve, sweep and vacuum, boil an egg, solve a geometry proof, seek God’s beauty in nature, use “i” before “e” except after “c”.
Many days, I will fail. So will my husband and children. But I will model confession and offer forgiveness, because I know how much I have been forgiven.
In the midst of it all, I will keep pursuing Jesus. If I don’t wake up tomorrow, I want my children to remember me sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch, sipping coffee as I have my morning conversation with God Almighty, with my friend Jesus. I want them to remember my tearful moments of worship, defiantly refusing to let the enemy stop me. I want them to remember opening our Bibles together, giggling at the strange comments in the Old Testament, but consistently focusing on God’s Truth.
This One Thing…
Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the one thing that was necessary: sitting at His feet, listening to His Word (Luke 10:38-42)
This one thing.
Lynn lived well while her children watched. She listened to His Word, sat at His feet, and loved Him by selflessly serving others. Then one bright morning, she joined Him in glory.
You and I still have today to live. We may have many days. We may not.
If you don’t wake up tomorrow…
What will your children remember? Your choices today form that memory.
Choose well. Choose Jesus.