Archive for November, 2015

Dead or Alive

“Pauline!” I smiled as Mom’s caregiver had to shout to get her attention since she can’t hear out of her right ear. Tom and I sat on the couch, getting ready to go into town.

“Pauline!” I heard again, this time with a tinge of panic in her voice.

“Do you mean me?”

“Yes. And come now!”

Running into her room, I searched Mom’s face. It was a combination of fear and panic, then as I watched, her eyes glazed over.

“Quick! We’ve got to get the food out of her mouth! Pull her up and hit her on her back!”

I complied—numb.

Tom ran in, climbed on the back of mom’s bed and tried to pull her up. Her body slumped back like a ragdoll. Her lips were blue as were her fingernails.

We continued to beat on her back.

“I can’t feel her pulse!” Tonya said.

We raised her arms as Tonya continued to try and unlock Mom’s mouth.

“I think she’s seizing! Let’s turn her on her left side,” Tonya shouted.

As she lay on her side, I thought This is it. Ninety-five years on this earth and it will end in a matter of minutes.

Then I remembered the Living Will Mom and I had filled out. She’d answered yes when the social worker had asked her if she’d like her family to hold her hand, play music, and express their love while she was dying.

“Tom, put on Christmas music.” I pulled a chair close to her good ear and stroked her hand. “Mom, I love you,” I said over and over again as tears coursed down my cheeks.

I cried out to God. I’m not even sure what I said. Then Mom gasped. Her eyes, which were dull and unfocused flitted and stared at me.

I sobbed.

A few minutes later, she moved her arm.

The Hospice nurse arrived to check Mom over. We’re not sure what happened, but whatever it was, it was quick.

It’s hard to catch your breath after that.

It’s not that I’m afraid of my mother dying. I know she’s going to heaven. By God’s grace and His Son’s sacrificial death, heaven is my eternal destination, too.

It just made me think.

For a while, my mother was suspended between heaven and earth—and it all happened so fast.

The Bible says this, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

So according to the Bible, we are all dead spiritually. It’s God who makes us alive in Christ.

We do need to do something. Cry out. Admit that we have trespassed or sinned against a holy God either in thought, word, or deed.

Romans 10:13 says, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

This Christmas season, I’m grateful that the Lord heard my cry for my mom and I get to hang out with her a little while longer.

But I’m eternally thankful that God heard my cry for salvation.

And just like that, I became spiritually alive.

How about you?

(The above picture was taken in 2008 with three generations…)















Dying With Our Boots On

There weren’t more than 30 people at his funeral. He wasn’t famous. Not many knew his face. Nobody would have picked him out in a crowd.

But in God’s economy, Ron is priceless.

He served his wife, his children, his country, and his Lord. And in his last days, unable to walk, missing an arm, he ministered to others through encouragement, prayer, and preaching in the veterans facility that he called home.

Tom and I visited Ron and instead of us lifting his spirits, he lifted ours.

As I listened to his eulogy I thought of the movie, Secondhand Lions. Two old guys played by Robert Duvall and Michael Caine finish out  their lives on a piece of land in the middle of nowhere. They make a pact to “Die with their boots on.” And that’s just what they did. At 80-plus years, they accidently fly a plane into their garage.

In the car on the way home from the funeral, I looked at Tom, “Ron died with his boots on.”

He knew what I meant. Tom and I made the same pact when we moved to North Carolina to farm. We told our kids we’d work til we died and all we wanted was to be tilled into the ground. And after farming for over two years, if we are able to continue, that is probably how we will die. And maybe sooner than later.

But Ron’s life was more than physical labor.

The Apostle Paul states in his second letter to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Life isn’t about how much stuff you have or how famous you are or if only 30 people show up at your funeral. Life is about how you live and how you die. Our US dollar may be stable but God’s economy is eternal.

And His is the only one that counts.

In the end.

That’s the economy Tom and I want to invest in–eternity.

And we want to arrive there–you guessed it, with our boots on.