Staycation to the Future

MarieXFor my “summer vacation,” I’m on the scariest trip of all – a journey into the future. While many of you are off to the mountains or the beach, I am spending my days in a skilled nursing facility helping my mother while she recovers from a hip replacement.

Come on, how frightful can it be, you ask? Last night, one poor soul kept wailing the most mournful cry that echoed through the halls. I asked an aide if she was all right and was told that’s her nightly ritual. Then there’s the catatonic cluster parked in the glow of the T.V. that no one ever watches.

My mother, the most optimistic person I’ve ever met, said, “This place is spooky.”

When we travel to new lands, we always gain a fresh perspective. Here’s my take away from this sojourn back to the future – CONTROL FREAKS WILL NOT ENJOY OLD AGE. (Sorry about the bold and caps. I just wanted to make sure no one missed the point.)

My fourteen year old said, “I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of the five minutes before death.” As I visit the “Last Stop on the Life Train,” I understand what she means. Will I be ready for the five minutes, five months, or five years that might precede stepping through Heaven’s gate? How will I do when I have to check my independence (or illusion there of) at the registration desk, along with my valuables?

As followers of Christ, we talk a lot about our readiness for the hereafter, but are we preparing to graciously accept the season of “still here”?

Just like she has throughout my life, my mother is showing me how it’s done.

A question the elderly are asked repeatedly is, “Do you live alone?” To a widow, I think this would be like pouring salt in a wound, but Mom considers it an invitation to share her faith. Here’s her standard response: She warmly smiles and says, “I never feel like I live alone because the precious Holy Spirit is always with me. Do you know the Lord Jesus?” In just two sentences, she makes you hungry for the Gospel.

As the doctors explained all the risks of her surgery, she’d say, “Honey, I’m in a win-win situation. If it goes well, I get to walk again. If it doesn’t, I get to be with my Savior.”

When the pain becomes beyond excruciating, she moans, “I know this is nothing compared to what Jesus went through on the cross for me. He will help me bear this.”

My mom was born a control freak, like all the rest of us. So how did she become this fearless fount of faith? Forty-five years ago, she was transformed when she prayed a strange prayer sitting in her car in our driveway. She’d just left a Lay Renewal luncheon (she reluctantly attended), where a lady explained how to become a follower of Jesus. When she returned home, she (literally) moved into the passenger seat and asked Jesus to be the driving force in her life.

Mom says it was like meat tenderizer was sprinkled on her hard heart. She later found a Bible verse that described what God did to her: “… I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

She was born again and the control freak in her passed away. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3 (Read what happened to her shortly after she prayed that prayer in “A Wife’s Greatest Fear.”)

“I believe all of God’s promises in His word,” Mom told me this week. “It’s such an adventure to trust Jesus completely!” Seeing her ageless spirit emanating through an aged body wracked with pain, reminds me of a hymn she hummed throughout my childhood:

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me. …

So this summer, I hope you enjoy your majestic mountains and your crashing waves, but I’m cherishing the most beautiful view of all – a sold out soul shining God’s love through the darkest night.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

2 thoughts on “Staycation to the Future

  1. One of my favorite hymns, Mary Suzanne, and precious Marie is one of my favorite ladies, as are you–like mother like daughter, and I daresay, like granddaughters. Hip surgery is not for the faint of heart, but Marie is what I used to call Daddy: stouthearted. Daddy, who had a glorious, basso profundo voice (I so wish you could have heard him sing to the rafters and beyond) used to love that Nelson Eddy song, “Stouthearted Men.” I believe we could say that Marie is a stouthearted woman. There is a psalm about being stouthearted (sorry, no time to look it up). Marie is just plain courageous, and she is a curious mix of courage (stouthearted) and enthusiasm (lighthearted). She has joy no matter what the difficulty. God lives in her. He pulses in her heart, and her joy with courage is evident in everything she undergoes. I am so sorry that she is suffering. Daddy did, too–more than anyone I know. But God gave him grace. He will do the same for Marie….and for you, who are witnessing this, wishing it were not so. I am so sorry. I know how this feels, wanting to take it all away, and not fully understanding why it is. But the Lord is with Marie and you, and He will undergird her and get her through this. I know it. Lean hard on the Lord, as I know Marie is doing. Praying for you both, and that the pain will vacate her body soon. Her picture is glorious. You know what? From all I know about Marie, I think in some ways she must be younger than she was then. Boy, do I want a young, courageous, jubilant, “stout” heart like she has. Love you both so much!

Comments are closed.