Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Hope of Heaven

A note that one of the nurses or volunteers from
the comfort care home wrote to my grandma
I have been so hesitant to write this post. Partially because it feels too big. Too many feels (that word is for you, Carrie!!). But then I came across this picture when I was going through kid pictures tonight and I knew I had to write it.

On February 3, on her 87th birthday, my sweet Grandmother went to Heaven.

She left this earth and her frail body and came face to face with the One who created her, who knit her together in her mama's womb, who loves her and calls her by name. Face to face with Jesus. Could there be a greater birthday gift than that? Could you ask for a better birthday celebration than that?

Ryan came home from work that day and after he hugged me something fierce he looked me in the eyes and said, "Grandma would always say, 'God has your birth date and the day you die written down. Only He knows.'" I love that hers were the same day.

So many of you have reached out to me. I've received cards and facebook messages and hugs and meals and emails and I am incredibly grateful. So incredibly grateful. And humbled. And so I need you to really hear this next part- I'm ok. I am. Your words, your love have made my heart smile in this difficult season but this is the part I need you to hear- the hope of Heaven changes everything.

We are given but a few short moments in this life. And whatever day we die I imagine it will seem all too soon- maybe for us, but definitely for those that love us. 

And as I walked beside my grandmother her last six weeks she taught me something- loving well matters. 

Grandma (laughing) and Aunt Sue on Christmas Eve

She could have made the last six weeks about her. She could have been entitled and no one would have blinked. She could have lamented and cried out how unfair cancer is. But she didn't. Do you know what she did do? She looked people in the eyes- her doctors, her nurses, the volunteers at the comfort care home, and she thanked them. And she wouldn't let their hand go until they looked her in the eye back and said, "You're welcome."

She loved until the end. 

Frail and tiny in her bed, when the cancer became too much to bear and she was on pain meds that made her sleep most of the time, she woke up while I sat beside her and told me how special I was to her, grabbed my hand, told me she loved me and I saved her. I told her that I loved her back and that she saved me. And in her frail, sweet voice she said, "Well, then I guess we're even."

That was the last interaction I had with her before she went to Heaven. My heart floods with gratitude that God so graciously gave me that moment with her. I will ponder that in my heart and treasure it every day I walk this side of Heaven, until I meet Jesus face to face and then get to hug my Grandma.

We're all living for something. 

Some of us, we're even chasing something. It's easy to live for ourselves. It's easy to chase the next best thing. More money, a better car, a nicer, bigger house. The best school district for our kids, trendy clothes, an organic lifestyle. Whatever it is, let me share with you something else I learned these last few months. Those things don't matter. Dust in the wind.  Because when you are faced with suffering and loss none of that would have changed a single, stinkin' thing. Not one.

But Jesus, Jesus changes everything.

Hope in the midst of loss. Joy in the midst of pain. Comfort in the midst of grieving. Life and peace during a season of death. Only God can do that. Stop chasing, sweet one. And rest, knowing that the God of the universe is bigger than whatever valley you may be walking through. He is bigger than your biggest hurt and so incredibly sweet. May the sweetness of God cover you. He is tender. And His heart towards you is good.

Romans 8:16-18
16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

2 Corinthians 1:5
For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.