Sunday, January 18, 2015

Until Morning

This week has been a sad one. 

Two wonderful ladies I've known for a very long time both passed away this week.

The first was one of the first women to take me under her wing when I first started exploring the world of the Spirit-filled life, about 32 years ago. Jean was ... unique. There was such an inner thrill in her - and it didn't take long to figure out why. Her joy when she sensed God moving in someone's life just bubbled out of her like large bubbles coming up to the surface from deep inside. Her passion for people to be free, her perseverance and power in prayer, and her willingness to do whatever God said, when He said, for however long He said, was phenomenal. 

The thing I'll miss most about her, though, is the way she would give what I came to call her "holy hugs."  She'd wrap her arms around me and start to pray in the Spirit ... then she'd sense God's presence and she'd start to chuckle, a low, deep sound that reminded me of toffee cooking on the stove. She'd squeeze tighter as her joy just overflowed; I couldn't help but be touched. 

The same thing would happen when she hugged others as well. Her joy was contagious; people couldn't help but be affected. 

When I heard that she had passed away this past week, I felt sad - not for her but for me. She is happier, freer than she's ever been. But down here won't quite be the same without her.

Photo "Lighthouse At Sunset" by
Serge Bertasius Phtography at
Then, this morning, I learned that the second lady had passed away last Friday. I've known this woman for even longer than I knew Jean. 

Elma and her late husband were what I think of when I use the term "salt of the earth." Generous, giving, and accepting, she was in the running to become my mother-in-law at one point (yes, I dated her son for a while) and although nothing ever came of it, I always felt privileged to have met her and her husband, and held a special place in my heart for their whole family. 

She and her husband were so kind to me when I was pregnant with Arielle - and so sick I could barely drag myself out of bed, much less care for a toddler. When I was at my lowest ebb (hours away from being hospitalized for severe dehydration) they came over here and looked after our oldest, did housework and never expected any payment at all.... while I sat on the sofa and cried with mixed helplessness and gratitude. It was just what they did. They did what they could to bless people. And it worked. We were blessed ... beyond belief.

Our girls considered them their honorary grandparents. There was just something about Elma - sweet and humble and gentle, soft-spoken but yet respected (out of love) by her children. 

I will miss her.

Whenever someone passes away who is a believer, especially if that someone is special to me or to my loved ones, I have a habit of drawing something on that date on my calendar - the outline of a setting sun on the horizon. It reminds me of the old gospel song, "Sunset" - the chorus of which goes, "God paints the clouds in the evening sky to show me the way to the palace on high, and stars mark the pathway lest my feet should roam; it's Sunset, and I'm going Home." 

The promise of Heaven is not a hope-so-maybe kind of hope. It's a "know-so" kind of hope - a calm assurance that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I know that Jean and Elma are there - enjoying the bliss of being face-to-face with Jesus. They are in that Never-ending Day - where there is no darkness, no pain, no sorrow, no separation. 

Good night dear ladies. Rest well - enjoy - and I'll see you in the Morning.

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