Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Grandma Is With Jesus

Florence Marie (Hearte) Rees, my grandma, went to be with Jesus on Sunday, February 14. She has been in hospice care for a long time and suffering a great deal. But now that suffering has ended and I praise God that this Godly woman is forever healthy and rejoicing.

She was my spiritual mentor, my friend, and a Proverbs 31 woman. For 35 years I gleaned her wisdom, wit, love. Our love was as mutual as our love for gravy and lemon meringue pie (but not at the same time).

My greatest peace is knowing that when she did die there were no words left unsaid between us, months ago she had even asked me to tell her goodbye at that point in case she could not do so later. She then laid hands on me and blessed my marriage, my family, and my walk with Christ. I ask you, how often do we get such selflessness in life? She gave me all she had then so I could grieve in advance and begin to prepare myself for her death. What a gift!

She died peacefully at my parents' home. I sat by her side for a good length time before they moved her from the home. It was an honor to read Scripture, sing her favorite hymns, and sprinkle rose petals around her bed. In our culture we often think if death as terrifying, or unsightly. Yet for me this was one of the most beautiful, peaceful experiences of my life. I liken it to the birth of my children, the difference being that my grandma was delivered to Jesus' side. For a woman who saw me at my best and worst - and gave me all she had - this was the least I could do.

She will be laid to rest in Ft Meyers, Florida, with my grandpa (who was equally awesome). As her legacy she leaves behind her daughter, Linda and her husband Harold Taylor, Lisa and Eric Howard, me and Dan and 5 adorable, though delightfully silly, great grandchildren. We all adored her. Pray that her death will help bring my mother to the Lord.

The following is the Scripture I read at her bedside as I said my final goodbyes:

Psalm 116
1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave [a] came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD :
"O LORD, save me!"
5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
10 I believed; therefore [b] I said,
"I am greatly afflicted."
11 And in my dismay I said,
"All men are liars."
12 How can I repay the LORD
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, truly I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant [c] ;
you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD. [d]

Monday, February 1, 2010