Apologies to all who follow my blog for the lack of writing of late. No excuse available for much of the time away, but now am in that awful place we all have to cope with having just lost my wonderful dearest mother to heaven on Monday past (20th August 2012).
She was 85-1/2 and had suffered with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)after having smoked heavily for 30+ years of her life. While we knew her time was getting shorter with every passing day, we somehow still felt she would be here many years ahead yet, as she was in superb form right up until getting her final chest infection just over a fortnight ago.
She unfortunately didn’t complain of the right symptoms, so we were unaware of how seriously ill she actually was, & thus time was wasted getitng her into hospital, and once in, she deteriorated very rapidly despite all the treatment she was getitng. We were told last Thursday that she was unlikely to recover and on Friday preparations were started for her impending demise.
Having never prayed with her at any point in her life, I thankfully had opportunity during her last 2 days to do so, & to read lots of scripture to her. She had made a statement of faith in her youth but never progressed from that point, yet I have to believe that it was enough. Certain portions of scripture give the impression that really nothing more is needed:
“Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Act 16:30-31
But the Lord once again prepared me & led me to this day so amazingly. Around 4 months ago, I started praying that whenever her time came that He would take her suddenly (beecause I never wanted her to suffer her nightmare of suffocating to death), & prepare us as a family to cope with it. And as always He has been gracious in doing both – He took her relatively suddenly (2 weeks from start to finish) but equally granted us time with her to prepare all of us for her leaving us.
And since she died He has answered the many prayers of others, & undertaken for me in granting me an immense measure of peace & even praise which surprised me. I’d always thought I’d never be able to do that in the midst of such a loss, yet found myself singing Matt Redman’s song “Blessed be the Name” with the line that had always choked me even when I didn’t have any loss…”You give & take away…..Blessed be the Name of the Lord”.
So it is in the midst of pain and suffering that I am truly discovering the “Peace that passeth understanding” and I can attest to how strong & deep it is. God absolutely does answer the prayers of others when you’re personally at a point of being unable to pray yourself. And He’s once again teaching me so many lessons in this new family dynamic where I have to put aside my own frustrations and angst at times, & allow others to grieve differently. Having been through a prior major loss of my husband almost 15 years ago, I can better appreciate that people do and say things that hurt and hurt hard at times in the face of loss, & I, too, am no different having equally said some things that have no doubt hurt my brother or his partner, in the past couple of days.
One scripture of note that kept popping up in many different places in the past few days is this one from 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7:-
Comfort in Suffering
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
I’ll end by encouraging anyone reading this who has found their family fracturing over some aspect of bereavement to make every effort to change that outcome. No matter what has been done or said, God can absolutely move to change hearts & minds but it starts with those who’re willing to acknowledge their own sins and repent before Him. Once that’s done then you seek the forgiveness of others you’ve maybe hurt too (even if they’ve hurt you worse), and finally submit everything to God and allow Him to move in the situation to resolve it rather than you trying to force the issue.