Friday morning, we got a phone call, the kind you never want to receive.
We jumped on a plane, my husband first and the kids and I followed, to see my sister-in-law and my dear friend who was on life support, an unexpected complication to her diabetes.
We prayed, sobbed, and finally, we said goodbye.
Watching someone you love take her last breath on earth is heart wrenching. But knowing it means she is with Jesus is breathtaking.
Coming into this world is sacred, so is leaving it. As a room full of people worshipped God and shared memories, my sister-in-law left this world. The family minister with us said in 45 years of hospital ministry, he had never seen a family in more unity or support for each other.
My brother-in-law and nephews, in-laws, family members are heartbroken. We all just wished for one more conversation with her.
I’m walking unfamiliar ground with my kids who have lost someone close to them for the first time. My sensitive son threw up when he heard, my little one attending her first funeral, and my sweet girl, burying her precious aunt the week of her 13th birthday. My amazing husband, so strong through this has lost his big sister who adored him.
I’ve lost more than a sister-in-law; she was a friend, the only other woman I’ve ever asked to raise my children if something happened to us.
Rhonda, if I could talk to you one more time, I’d try to make you laugh, which would be easy since you lived ready to do so. You had the best laugh. I would thank you for loving my children as much as I did, for loving your brother all these years, and for accepting his crazy, strong-willed wife without question. You were a wonderful wife and a fierce momma who loved her boys. We already miss you so much.
I’m holding my husband and children tighter, my family closer. Can I urge you to make that phone call you’ve been putting off ?Write that letter. Ask for forgiveness. Or accept it. Choose love because life’s too short to do anything else.
As we prepare for her funeral, I’m not great at saying goodbye, so I’m just going to say see you later. Because I will.
Because I need to read this every.day.
I have been mulling over my word for this New Year, waiting for an epiphany. Last year it was Faith, the year before Mercy. Those words chose me.
And so I’ve waited and pondered. Do I choose what I hope to see or do or what I am or was? Or maybe I just skip it this year… Can my word be Tired?
But then in a dark, unlikely place, my word for 2013 found me.
I sat in the movie theater, my sister on one side, my husband on the other. I held my breath at the beauty of Les Miserables on the screen. I’ve heard about this musical my entire life, whispers from Broadway and floating notes from memorable music, but I wasn’t expecting to feel this remarkable story of redemption, grace, adoption so deeply.
I’m not the typical fan of musicals. I prefer talking to singing any day. I also rarely recommend movies.
This epic love story is my redemption story, It’s for every broken person. And whether you read it, see it, or sing it, it’s a story for you.
As I watched a criminal find healing and hope by loving an orphaned child, and as he gave selflessly to her his entire life, I gripped my seat. And then these words found me:
“To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God” – Les Miserables
The truth pierced my heart and in that dark theater with buttered popcorn abounding, I cried.
Because I realized this: The greatest moments in my life have come from loving others. It’s tenderly caring my sick child, selflessly giving to my husband, sponsoring one more child, giving one more dollar to help, making one more meal for another, befriending one more lonely person…
This is when I have seen God.
But I don’t always choose love. Some days I ignore the prodding and I push away the appeal to love. I am selfish and lazy and more human than I want to admit.
I long to see Him, to know Him and loving others is the pathway to God.
My word for 2013 is love.
It’s perhaps the most common word, confused with lust, tangled with like. But to love , to sell your hair or a tooth to feed your hungry child, to take a dying mother’s baby as your own, to offer grace to someone who deserves condemning, to hold your tongue with your spouse, offer grace to your wayward child, to give away money to support someone in need, to love another more than you love yourself, this will lead you to God every time.
I often ignore opportunities to love, to speak softly to my kids, listen closer to my husband, reach out to a hurting friend.
But I’m choosing Love more often.
It’s how we will find God in this New Year.
I’m itching to get organized.
Here’s my checklist:
It’s a great start!
Download this free checklist: http://www.mediafire.com/view/?a72kd5ba45zx3i5
I don’t know about you, but instead of resolutions it’s time for real solutions.
Renown author and my sweet friend, Holley Gerth’s new ebook Do What You Can Plan is a 21 day program to making every area of your life better. Holley is a life coach and a certified counselor who thrives on helping women be their best.
Today her brand new ebook is FREE on Amazon.
Happy New Year to us!