Saturday, May 3, 2008

Going Home

I've been feeling kind of restless. I've been feeling out of place. I can hear a distant singing, a song that I can't write, but it echoes in what I'm always trying to say. There's a feeling I can't capture. It's always just a prayer away. I want to know the ending, things hoped for but not seen, but I guess that's the point in hoping anyway... Going home, I'll meet you at the table. Going home, I'll meet you in the air. You are never too young to think about it. Oh, I cannot wait to be home . I'm confined by my senses to really know what you are like. You are more than I can fathom, more than I can guess, and more than I can see with human sight. But I have felt you with my spirit. I have felt you fill this room. This is just an invitation, a sample of the whole, and I cannot wait to be going home. (From the song Going Home by Sarah Groves)

My sister Barbara with her name's sake.

I was blessed to spend some time this afternoon with my mom, sisters, Sean and my dad at the bedside of a dear saint. Barbara was one of the first Christians to reach out to my mom when she was a young mother. Their relationship has spanned decades.

Births. Job Changes. Moves. Graduations. Weddings. Grandchildren. Games. Productions. Decisions. Deaths. Illnesses. Answered prayers. Growth. Challenges. Victories.

In almost every picture of a major event in our family's life there in the background is Barbara and her beloved husband, Nelson, cheering our family on in practical ways. More than that are the many hours of conversation and prayer between Mom and Barbara that God has used to His glory.

Barbara and Nelson have always served in the role of pastoral ministry. For years they have visited the sick, shut in, elderly and hurting. Their comforting words and patience to listen is a clear reflection of Christ's love reaching into the suffering of other's lives. Amazing.

Barbara is dying from a nervous system disease. Today as we sat with her she struggled to communicate even single words. It is painful to see the deterioration of a body and mind that is so beautiful. We sang for her hymns of the faith. "In the Garden", "Great is Thy Faithfulness", "Wonderful Grace of Jesus". We cried openly. And we said goodbye.

I'll never forget my Mom's parting words, "Barbara, thank you for sharing your life. You are a witness for Christ and you have helped me in so many ways. God blessed me when He gave me you. Thank you for being my dear friend. I love you. I will see you again in the arms of Jesus."

May it be so of me 40 years from now that I would have a faithful witness of Christ to those younger women God has placed in my path.

"
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:3-5

8 comments:

Angie said...

Beautiful story of a beautiful woman! I love that Sarah Groves song, too! Praying for you and your family, Monica!
Angie

Sniz said...

Monica,

I love this...it is so beautiful and the desire of my heart too. That picture of your sister with her is so touching. Thanks for making me think today. Hope you have a great Monday~

Heather L. said...

What a special person! God is so good to bring people like this into other peoples' lives. I miss some of my elderly friends that I no longer have, or am no longer near.

PS: It's amazing how your sister Barbara looks very much like some of your girls!

Monica said...

Monica, this post gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful testimony of this dear woman's life and her love of Christ. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah said...

Monica, what a beautiful tribiute for a special friend. I have tears in my eyes as I think of the Barbara's in my life. I too hope, that I am that woman.

mindi said...

That is beautiful - I can only hope to be thought of so kindly one day. A very moving photo.

eally said...

Oh this is precious! What a legacy she is leaving...if only we could all do that what a better world this would be. Praise God for the Barbara's of this world!

Saralyn said...

It is an odd but precious gift to be in the presence of someone so close to hearing "Well done, good and faithful servant."

My dad used to tell us that the only things that truly last are God's Word and people. I would add that when the two have become one, the offspring is amazing.