For Poor Ornery People

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

John Jacob Niles.

Do you know that old Christmas folk song, I Wonder As I WanderDo you like it?

I never did.

But it’s growing on me.

Just Plain Ornery

Because far too often, I’m just plain ornery.  I turn grumpy and stubborn when my will is not done and impatient and harsh when my rules are crossed.  Other times I crave man’s praise and sulk when thanks doesn’t come. Sometimes my skin’s too thin and my heart’s too hard. That’s when I crumble into an ugly selfish heap.

I do.

In every case, poor and on’ry pretty well fits the bill. And there’s nothing like the Christmas rush to provoke ornery, at least in me. Which explains why I’m humming this tune a lot these days.

It fits me- I. I am prone to wander from the joyful obedience of faith and I feel it.

I simply am not naturally nice.

Driving in a Hard School?

Which is why I’m filled more and more with wonder anymore- in awe that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Poor on’ry ones, maybe like you, for sure like me.

I’ve shared this quote before. But I stumbled on it again this week and let’s just say it was a Godsend  for this poor, on’ry mom to whom nice does not alway come easily.

If you are a nice  person- if Virtue comes easily to you- beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel…

But if you are a poor creature- poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels- saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion- nagged day in and day out be an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends – do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) He will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all- not least yourself: for you have learned your driving in a hard school. (Mere Christianity, Book IV, Chapter 10)

Is yours a wretched machine? Are you beset and tempted to sin, within and without? Poor and ornery? Keep on. God knows.

Known by God

Keep looking to Jesus. He knows. He’s familiar. Honestly, it’s why Jesus came. Christmas happened to show us that God not only knows us, He loves us. With great love.

He knows all about it. He knows our frame, David wrote. Which means, we are known. Paul slid that blessed truth in to build his don’t-be-led-astray case to the Galatians, but the clause is rich it could stand alone,

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God…

Known by God. The Father’s children are known by Him. And loved by him to boot. What could be better?

Maybe only  this one other thing: He came to buy back us poor ornery one with his blood. Someplace else  it says that Jesus, had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

To make propitiation. That’s New Testament fancy for atone for our sins. ForJesus the Savior did come for to die. 

Jesus the Savior did Come for to Die

Can you say good news of great joy?

God came to earth as one of us, like his brothers in every respect. He suffered when tempted and we will too. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).

He’ll fling that old, wretched machine on the scrap heap and then we’ll forever be free from sorrow, free from sin. Restored, confirmed, strengthened and established. No more poor, ornery. The God of all grace will bring it to pass. 

So fight the good fight of faith. Resist the devil, firm in your faith. Do what you can. Repent of your sin. And keep on. Get back up. Don’t buy the lie that no one knows your struggle or pain. Or that no one cares.

You are known by God and He does care. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Jesus our Savior did come for to die. 

To save sinners. Including poor on’ry ones like you and like I.

 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

1 Timothy 1:15

Days Like This (& New Mercies To Pick)

Mama said they’ll be days like this.  (They’ll be days like this my mama said.)

Mama knew about beaten-down days. About days when bad news comes and high hopes go. When relationships feel so strained it hurts to say Hi or to try to relate at all and we look down and wait for the other show to drop.

Days like this when no wind fills the sails and infection’s weight makes us just almost ache.

Days Like This

A 7:00 am text set me down a sad way. Even though her reason for cancelling had nothing to do with me, Still, I took it personally and started second guessing. You know how these, why-so-downcast-O-my-soul days can be.

Thirty minutes later, the email. Not any email.- the “Hey! When can we talk?” email. The sort that make your heart sink to where the other shoe dropped and you want to meet immediately to get the dread deed done.

Then my husband caught me by surprise and took me to task for a mistake I’d made a week back. His correction was right on and true blue. And stung a little still.

By 9:00 the day had officially become one of those days. One of those days that turns into a downcast, hot-mess of a day.

Pickin’ Mercy Off The Trees

But we don’t take days like this sitting down. Children of the Father of mercy  don’t write off a whole day as a bad day before the noon bell rings. Or anytime, for that matter. We don’t throw in the towel and give in to the sulks because this is the day that the Lord has made.

And because God gives his kids mercy to match the hard in these days. In fact, his mercies never come to an end. And if they never end, it means they’re there every single moment. They’re there in the morning and the whole day through. Ripe for the picking.

But we might have to fight to see them. There might be sweet mercy fruit hanging on the trees, but it’s not ours till we go pick it. Looking for mercy in days like this takes some spiritual pluck. Pluck like what weeping Jeremiah showed when, in the throes of disaster, he wrote,

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22–23

I surely wasn’t singing that tune this morning. It was all I could do get showered and dressed and to the group where I needed to be.

Mercy to Match

Four hours after that “can we talk” email summons, the hard talk was had. It was a firing of sorts- bad news. But I swallowed hard and forced a smile and started back to the car. And just as the first tears were welling, a few cars before mine, I looked up and there was Deb,

Deb’s my friend Jen’s mom. She’s s a sweetheart. Still, when Deb smiled and asked, “How are you today?” the words didn’t come at first, because I knew words would release tears. But Deb cared and words came-thankfully, more than tears. Then, Abigail, how can I pray?  and Deb hugged me and we were on our way.

Mercy waiting in the parking lot.

Then to the post office where no line- more mercy- greeted me. So when our town’s friendly-face-of-the-USPS- Ted- asked how I was, I looked up and gave a real answer. God’s still good, I said, but it’s been one of those days. To which Ted spoke some of the kindest, most encouraging words a guy selling stamps could ever say.

There it was again- mercy for today.

Defy Yourself

The more I looked, the more big and little mercies I found that afternoon. The more my focus changed from woe is me self-pity to great is his mercy.  They really were all around and it was, as so much of the Christian life is, mainly a matter of focus. Of fighting to behold God’s glory and so be transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18). Of  choosing to think on what is true and noble and good (Philippians 4:8).

It got easier to see them, and have hope. But I had to do defy my downcast soul to do it. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 42: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are so in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

We must not be content in days like these to listen to the lie that says, Go ahead. Sympathize with yourself. Its okay to sulk this one away.

Talk Back to Yourself & Take Back the Day

We must, says Lloyd-Jones, take ourselves in hand. 

We must talk to ourselves, instead of allowing “ourselves” to talk to us! Have you not realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? You must say to your soul, preach to yourself, questions yourself “Why are you so downcast?”

Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: I will hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Spiritual Depression, p. 20)

Mama said there’ll be days like this, and God said He’d send fresh, ripe mercies on these days.

But we might not see his mercies until we defy ourselves to lift our eyes and look.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,  “therefore I will hope in him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Lamentations 3:22-25

Still Teaching Me

IMG_4451
Grandma reading with great grandson Gabe, June, 2016.

Grandma was a teacher. Even though she’s been home with Jesus for a year- as we count time- Grandma is still teaching me. But not just me.

Grandma had lots of students.

Decade after decade after decade-33 years, I think- she taught first and second grade. She didn’t stop teaching when her own kids came. Grandma kept teaching right on through the raising of the five she bore plus the seven more that came when she married my widower Grandpa.

Grandma didn’t stop teaching when she retired from the Portage School District. She kept right on teaching her beloved Sunday school kids, up to her last few months. She taught those kids Adam and Ahab, Joshua and Jacob, Elijah and Deborah and David. And learning faith from Grandma means those lessons won’t soon be forgotten.

Grandma also taught the ladies she she affectionately called her “jail girls.”  Somehow Grandma found a righteous way into the prison system after she left the schools. How many girls learned real mother love and true life skills from Grandma, we’ll never know.

Grandma was always ready with a lesson.

One Saturday two months or so before Grandma passed, I happened to be there when one of her jail girls called. Grandma listened a while, nodding now, furrowing her brow then. And the lesson was ready:

Happiness comes from giving, she assured one who was consumed with what she was not getting.

Grandma was a teacher and grandma was a giver.

On her last Mother’s Day she explained to her Sunday school class, “Kids, Elaine is not well. Her body has a problem that will not get better. Ms. Betty will teach you now. I know you will listen well to her just like you listened to me.”
Grandma was still teaching then, lessons in grace and faith. And not just to her third graders.

 

Grandma taught lots of lessons.

 

And even though she’s been gone for a year, the lessons remain. Lessons like these:

Thank. I remember when I helped her into the tub last summer for one of her last beloved soaks in the big old tub. Maybe, in ignorance and haste, we even got her stoma gear wet and had to unpeel and reseal and it was a bother. But Grandma just said,

That’s great. Thank you. Hallelujah!- This feels so good. 

Grandma taught me gratitude.

Fight. It was the fight of her life, facing her death with strong, living faith, but Grandma was not fearful. George Washington said as he lay dying, I die hard, but I’m not afraid to go.

Grandma said the same thing, in her own way. When we’d ask her to rate her pain, she said,

I’m not in a pleasant place for pain. 

And she fought on, with her sword of the spirit and helmet of salvation. Strong in her faith, Grandma was taught me how to fight the good fight.

Joy. Grandma was- and still is, I’m sure- a merry, exuberant soul. I recited a verse last summer I’d been memorizing about being sealed for the day of redemption. Grandma fist pumped exultantly and said,

That’s me. I’m sealed.

Or when she told me that joke about the wife who told her husband, I’d like something that’s shiny medal and goes 0-150 in seconds. Grandma paused, then grinned. 

So her husband bought her a brand new scale. For sure, Grandma taught me to laugh.

IMG_4654Pray. It seemed such a strange inversion for a dying grandma to be praying for a healthy granddaughter. But she did. How she did! Before I left on my two hour ride home she’d pray travel mercies for me.

I remember, too, how she asked me to pray for her as she met with a troubled young soul weeks before she died.

Pray Lacy will see God’s love.

And Grandma taught me to pray.

Read. Not that I needed too much instruction here. But she also helped teach my son Gabe to read. To sound out words and think about them as he did. Last summer, while reading about a funny goat named King Puck, she corrected,

“Disappear” not “desire,” Gabe. 

And while her library shelves overflowed with books of all sorts, there was one she read by far the most. Every morning she’d read the next chapter, from the drawer in the kitchen table the Amish built special for that book. Then in bed at night, she’d open it again for more. Grandma taught me to crave that living Word.

Give. Even in the last months, Grandma kept a stash of candy in the pantry. In the last months an aunt would fill it up, but even before those days, when there no solid food would stay in Grandma’s stomach, Grandma made sure the jars were filled up.
That was nothing new. One of  my earliest memories of she and Grandpa from 35 years ago was how they’d dole out baggies of M&M’s- maybe to help keep us quiet in the pew. In M&M baggies and from ever-full candy jars, Grandma taught me to to give.

Sing. How Grandma loved to sing! So they came. Her family came Sunday night after Sunday night in Grandma’s last summer to sing. Uncle Nathan brought a box of hymnals and cousins and aunts and uncles would sing hymns. Grandma loved them all.

But one of her favorites was Trust And Obey. Her choice- one of Grandma’s funeral songs- is still teaching me.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way!

While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet. Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.

What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.

The book she loved to read the most- the book that taught her to thank and fight and rejoice and give- has in it this line: To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

So while Grandma is now happy in fellowship sweet, her lessons are still teaching me.

The Fight Of Her Life

The more your affections are set on Christ, your true husband … the easier it will be to take you out of the world. He who has laid up his heart in heaven, will think comfortably of laying down his head on earth. 

George Swinnock, The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of Faith

Your grandma is ready to go home. 

That was it. That was all she said when we asked if she had any last words before our family went home. Grandma wanted us to know she was comfortable laying down her head.

The Grandma who so loves life- whose eyes still light up at the sight of the season’s first purple plums my sons gathered in, whose unbroken good humor broke apart my solemn heaven-talk,

You’ll beat me there, Grandma, but I’ll meet you. 

Well, then-drive home safely, dear, she breathed, eyes smiling, from her hospital bed-

This dear Grandma is ready to lay down her head and go home.

Back in May, that day of the two bridal showers, the battle bugle sounded. And since then Grandma’s been in the fight of her life. Her final war with wince-making, nauseating, gut-wrenching pain. But her real war, and it’s not over yet, is not mainly against her great pain.
The fight would be a spiritual war against darkness and doubt and despair.

The Biggest War We’ll Ever Fight

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 

Paul, to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12

It’s the fight for faith. Grandma knew that way back in May. So when she got the word the cancer was inoperable and terminal her soldier prayers were two: Pray that I won’t despair and believe Satan’s lies. And pray that I will glorify God. 
The enemy did attack Grandma. The fiery darts came in dreadful, discouraging dreams at first. Nightmares of a heaven that is no heaven, and of horrific, not beatific reunions.
But Grandma fought back and honored her God. That is not how heaven will be. No-He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore (Revelation 21:4). She wielded that sword of the Word with prayer.
Two weeks ago I posted about a quiet-time skirmish with the devil. I shared how I put on my shield of faith and put out some flaming darts; how I wielded my sword and resisted. Finally, he fled. Won and done for now, I said.
But the very next night was spent with Grandma. I watched a real warrior do battle that night. The maple floor under her hospital bed was holy ground.

When He Brings His Biggest Guns

At death, Satan will attack you with his biggest guns. When his time is short, his rage is greatest. This is his hour. When you, through pain of body and perplexity of mind, are least able to resist, then the devil will come with his fiercest assaults. 
George Swinnock, The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of Faith
We’d like to think dying is graceful and painless. That fading into glory is easy and smooth. Maybe for a few it is. But I don’t think it’s the norm for a Christian. I don’t think so because Paul calls all of life, up to and including the end of life, a fight of faith
Never does he compare Christian life to a slide or ride or a gentle coast. It is effortful. Fight of faith, wrestle against powers,run the race. We strive until we die. Not to earn, but to display his glorious grace.
The worth of the cause is shown in how willing one is to suffer with joy for it. Ask gold-medal gymnast Simone Biles how many French fries she’s had in the last year. Or a pregnant mom happy to go on months of bedrest. Or a Grandma who smiles and gives grace in her dying days. It’s valiant her fight for faith and joy in Christ. Yes, Grandma, you are heaping glory to God.
Dying is not without fight. In fact, Grandma’s fight to date has been grueling. Like Lewis wrote, Pain hurts. Choking down anti-nausea pills and sometimes retching them back up hurts. Help me, dear Jesus, she moans gagging over her bucket. It’s spiritually grueling, too. The anxiety that gnaws like a fire and loneliness that spreads out like a desert,Lewis wrote.
Paul’s last days were a fight too. Paul was deep in the eleventh or twelfth round when he wrote his last letter to Timothy. That’s the one where he wrote, I’ve fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 
We claim and embrace those stout words for ourselves. All good, provided we have at least a taste of the price Paul paid to say them. Two verses after I’ve fought the good fight, Paul describes how his friend Demas deserted him and other brothers left him. Luke alone is with me, he bemoaned.
Then, humble and vulnerable his request. When you come, bring the cloak I left, also the books, and above all the parchments (2 Timothy 4:10-13). Paul was in a cold prison cell (4:13), in chains (2:9) with no hope for earthly deliverance (4:6).
Best guess is that he wrote those good fight, triumphant words within a year of his martyrdom at Nero’s hands.

Stand Fast By That Book (AKA: Grandma Wields Her Sword)

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Paul, to the saints in Ephesus

Paul wanted his parchments. These are very possibly his copies of what are our Scriptures. Spurgeon urges us to learn from his last wish for his parchments,

You may go to human puddles, until you forsake the clear crystal stream which flows from the throne of God. Read the books, by all manner of means, but especially the parchments…Stand fast by that Book which is infallible, the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Grandma loves her books, too. Piles and piles still line her bedside. But one book, that Book, is the sole book that sits on the otherside caregiver’s chair. And after a restless night, up before the sun, Grandma was ready for that Book.

Is Romans 8 okay? I wondered.

She nodded. Holding her hand, I began,

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

I squeezed Grandma’s right hand and pressed on,

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…

And then- miracle of miracles- the thick tongue whose muffled words I could barely understand moments ago, recited clear and strong,

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 

Then by dawn’s early light, I witnessed another wonder I hope I never will forget. That frail hand I’d held and rubbed last night and nestled under the covers, that same hand was raised high. 

And beside me in her hospital bed, Grandma wielded her sword and finished the chapter with me.

For I am sure that neither death nor life…nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Not worth comparing. No condemnation. Nothing can separate.  Yes, yes, and-hallelujah!-yes. 

But Satan’s a wily guy.

 

 

Even The Strongest Saints Get Weary Hands

Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.
J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Lions hunting gazelle try to isolate their prey. Satan takes that tack. He tries to pick off God’s weak and weary sheep, alone, away from the flock.
But we, church, are a flock and we are an army. We need never face off alone. Our Captain in the good fight for faith is also our Shepherd in shadows of the valley. He is with us. Thankfully, Grandma knows. I heard her murmur in the wee hours that night,
I will fear no evil. Jesus is with me. I will not fear. He loves me. 

Let’s not miss the biggest source of strength. Be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might, Paul wrote. He rescued me from my strong enemy…for they were too mighty for me. For by you I can run against a troop, warrior king David wrote. And when Demas deserted, Paul wrote the Lord stood by me and strengthened me

But people help too. Saints help saints stay strong and fight. There ought to be comaraderie in our kingdom fights. Paul strengthened the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of GodWhen David was alone and weak, his friend Jonathan went and strengthened his hand in the Lord.

Sometimes it’s more than emotional support we need. Remember Israel’s first battle out of Egypt? Pesky Amalekites attacked them from the back.

So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. (Exodus 17:8-13)

The whole course of the Israelite cause would be determined by Moses’ strong, upheld hands. But even Moses’ hands grew weary. So Aaron and Hur, his right and left hand men, held up Moses’ weary hands. And his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 

Everyone of us needs help holding up our hands. Especially as the sun goes down. I was blessed that night, in my little Romans 8 way, to get to help hold Grandma’s hands. Together we wielded the sword of the Word and held her shield of faith. Because even the most faithful of saints, Moses and David and Paul and Grandma, need someone to hold and strengthen their hands.

Those two little miracles happened two visits ago. This Sunday when our family dropped by, Grandma said, I’m not alwaysstrong. Then she looked to the wall and explained, My chart. 

Sunday, August 21st was on top of Grandma’s chart. The five who- ala Aaron and Hur- would hold up Grandma’s hands were listed. That day it was Laurie and Patty, Tom and Mark and John. Other days and nights it’s Judy and Steve or Nathan and Rachel or Joy and the kids who help her fight.

Even the most faithful of saints, Moses and David and Paul and Grandma, sometimes need someone to strengthen and hold their hands.

*   *   *   *   *
Grandma’s always been my biggest fan. (But then again, I think Grandma might be everyone in the family’s greatest fan.) She replied to more blog posts than anyone. During the last hug we had Grandma whispered, Keep writing, in my ear. So, no. I don’t think she’d mind my writing this, about the biggest fight of her life.
And I know she wouldn’t mind your prayers for her strong, peaceful passing.
But this is not a fight for Grandma’s life. She knows pancreatic cancer will be the death of her flesh. The hospital bed and catheter, the water swabs and strong pain meds are clear on that. It is the fight of-not for-Grandma’s life. 
But Grandma knows the Resurrection and the Life. She knows that Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never dieYes-thank God- Grandma believes in Him, and knows that.

She knows that though she dies, when this fight’s done, yet shall she live. 

*   *   *   *   *
Your Grandma is ready to go home. Turns out those weren’t Grandma’s last words for us. Because after she said that, when gentle, ginger great-grandma hugs were done, she looked Sam and Gabe in the eye and blessed,

Boys, if you’ve got Jesus, you’ve got everything.

For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland…

But as it is they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 11:14, 16

  1. Wowie, Abigail! You brought me to tears on that one… Just about where you talked about reading the Bible with Grandma. Your message is right on point, as usual, and I could feel your Grandma’s fight and strength, even as she knows her earthly body is failing. Satan tries to win, but God is more powerful. I’ll be excited to meet Grandma in heaven someday.

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  2. Thank you, Jackie for your kind words. Yes, yes- what a day that will be! Until then, being with Grandma helps me hold life more loosely. Soli Deo Gloria.

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  3. Tears on that blog, in a good way. Thank your Grandma for teaching us so much through this.

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  4. Thanks for that, Ms. Michele. I just want to soak up the lessons. Thanks for being a learner with me. I will try to thank Grandma, too.

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  5. Dear Abigail and family.
    It is my privilege to pray for Grandma – and for you. Like my own precious Mom did, she is teaching eternal truths in the midst of her suffering, right up to the end. My heart hurts for you who love her as you witness this suffering, waiting with her until the moment Jesus says, “Come, dear one, fully into My presence.”

    Abigail, you quoted Joni Eareckson Tada in a post you wrote last December 12th, almost two years after my Mom stepped into Heaven. It brought a much-needed flood of comforting tears at the time. I offer back to you, now, these same words:

    When we finally set foot in heaven we’ll drop to our knees in gratitude to God. And then,
    “The Man of Sorrows walks from his throne and approaches you. He has absolutely no doubt of your appreciation, for he knows what you’ve suffered. He reaches toward you with his nail-scarred hands, and when you feel your hands in his, you are not embarrassed…Your suffering, like nothing else, has prepared you to meet God- for what proof could you have brought of your love if this life left you totally unscarred. You have something eternally precious in common with Christ – suffering! But this fellowship of sharing in suffering has faded…Now it is a fellowship of sharing in his joy and pleasure. Pleasure made wonderful by suffering.” (When God Weeps, p. 213)

    One day soon for Grandma…
    Can you even imagine!!?!

    May God’s peace rest on you all.

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  6. Thanks for reminding me of those sage words from Joni. Boy, are they about the most comforting ever for the believer. And thanks for praying. That means a lot.

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  7. Oh Ab. Such a gem… This post and your Grandma and you. Praying.

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  8. Thanks, Rach. Much appreciated.

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  9. Ab, your words are perfect. God is using you in awesome ways. Thanks so much for stopping to say hi to Mom. I’m sure it meant so much. You are always so loving and uplifting, especially when Mom needs it most.

    I pray God continues to use to in the lives you continue to touch, each and every day. You’re a blessing to your entire family!

    Mark

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  10. Thank, Uncle Mark. I’m so glad. A woman who fears the Lord deserves praise. How she does!
    Would you please let Grandma know that there are a lot of people praying for her. And are even now being blessed by her faithfulness. She is truly still teaching so many.