She was the one. The only one that understood the magnitude of my struggles. The depth of pain it caused to the extent of hope it drew out. She was my sweet sister, mother in the faith, and inspiring friend — Deb.
Deb related to me on a level that no one else had. Being a mother herself who had raised godly children in the midst of her daily physical battles, she was able to give me the strength and hope that I could too. Not only that, we could openly talk about the places our minds would go that hardly any one would comprehend. I remember one such conversation that gives me comfort in this time of her passing.
We were visiting after our Wednesday night bible class. As mothers do, we began talking about our families which led to more sharing of how difficult it was not to be able to give your husband and children everything you desire to; especially the simple things that are so easy for other women with good health. And then, she reminded me that I was giving my family the most needful things — love and nurturing by God’s will that would guide them to an assurance of an eternal home after this life. Not only could she tell me this, but she had the evidence to prove it as her influence showed in her devoted husband and faithful adult children.
Then our conversation turned heavy. Because of the daily sorrow of health lost, survival is made necessary by longing for something greater. Focusing on what you know you have in spite of the pain. Looking unto Christ and trusting in His protection no matter what your circumstance. You learn to love Him more than anything in this life. When you see over and over again what you have overcome because of your faith in His mercy and the resulting strength, it draws out an undeniable hope and you truly understand what Paul meant when he proclaimed:
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Philippians 1:21-23
This is the heavy we talked about that day. We had both been to this level of desire, but I imagine Deb got it more than me. She so much wanted to remain for her family and brethren but she loved Jesus most. She knew departing was far better. She not only knew it, she felt it deep within her soul. Loving Jesus most and being with Him was exactly what she lived for and taught others as well. She got it. She really did. And it is in this knowledge I know today she has her gain.
Deb leaves a legacy with her husband, her sons, her new daughters by marriage, her grandchildren, her brethren, and anyone else who was blessed enough to call her family or friend. She will live on in our hearts and we will aspire to learn to love Jesus as deeply as she did so that one day we too will be united with our Savior holding hands before Him with our precious Deb.
For to live is Christ, and to die is gain. What beautiful, heartfelt words were penned by Your servant, Paul, my most gracious Lord. What desire he had to depart from this life and be with Christ. If only I would have a glimpse of this longing, my life would be so small compared to the greater things to come. Deb had this longing. She got it. Thank you that she got it so that we can aspire to be just as she was in this confidence. She has joined the communion of saints that has departed to be with Christ. What a glorious day for her! May all who love her find comfort, peace, and joy in this knowledge as her legacy of love continues here on earth until we all meet again. In Christ, our hope, our everything, amen!
Truth in love,