Night after night I lay in bed, tears coursing silently down my cheeks. Deep pain burned through my heart, which no longer held a steady beat.
Kathump, kathump, kathump…
…when your heart does not beat for several seconds
…is very loud.
I wonder if it’s going to….
tat, tat, tat, tat, tat
Yes it is; I guess this isn’t the end.
It had been a very long and trying month, which came to a most unexpected end.
My mother lay in the morgue, awaiting cremation.
During our ordeal with her heart surgery, followed by complications, the Lord had been closer than I’d ever experienced Him. The Christian radio station I played in my car seemed to have been cued into our situation, for every time I left for the hospital or to return home, the DJ would say something like, “If you’re struggling today, stay tuned. (Pastor’s name) has a message of reassurance and comfort for you.” Or songs like “Praise You in this Storm” would be playing. I never felt so “buffered” in all my life.
The vision my (non-disciple) father had the night she had to be taken back to the hospital was the Lord’s way of forewarning us that she would be going Home. He was wide awake, praying for her (something he didn’t do), and saw my mom standing in a white robe. A large angel came behind her and enfolded her in his wings until all that could be seen was her head.
“Tam, I felt so comforted when I saw that,” he told me later.
I’m glad you feel comforted, I thought. I know what that means.
My dad’s vision was the first of many, many amazing things that happened during that month. I could fill this entire post with them.
But that is not my focus today! Back to my nightly grief sessions…
After weeks of aching, and nightly anxiety attacks (the goofy heartbeat thing), I told the Lord,
“I can’t do this anymore. To stay in the reality that she is gone hurts so bad. Abba, can we decorate my home in heaven?”
(Earlier in the year I’d talked to the Lord about heaven:
“Lord, the idea of sitting on a cloud in a white nightie, strumming a harp for ages to come; or laying at Your feet in worship for years and years…um…I’m sorry, but that sounds incredibly boring. You know me, I can’t sit idle for very long. I love to be making something new, or learning new things, or going to see new places. I guess I lack the ‘worship gene.’ You’re going to have to put that desire in me and do away with my curious, creative self, ’cause if You don’t, I’m going to be a miserable failure in heaven.”
Not long after that, Steve Berger from Grace Chapel in Lieper’s Fort, TN lost his son in a car accident. Suddenly interested in what heaven might be like, he began to study the topic – then preach it from the pulpit. I highly recommend his sermons. These weekly messages were God’s response to my earlier conversation with Him!)
That night, I began by imagining what Mom was doing at that moment. She’d been there for a while. Was she still standing at the entrance, mouth agape at the splendor? In awe of the majesty of God? Was she skipping and dancing and getting reacquainted with my youngest brother who only lived for three days? With the many children she’d lost through miscarriage?
(She had nine miscarriages before me; I was the first to be born live…that makes me a 10. Eat your heart out, Bo Derrik!)
My thoughts turned to my “room” in heaven.
“Lord, I hate to vacuum. Could I have moss instead of carpet…maybe a little creek running through the living room? I love the sound of babbling brooks.
“Plasterboard walls aren’t much fun. They have to be cleaned. How about if You make the walls out of vines – ooh! – with beautiful flowers that change colors from time to time?
(I was on a roll…)
“Windows…hey! We won’t need glass windows because bugs won’t bug us, and there will be no burglars to burgle. I can have openings and fresh air all the time.
“If the rocks would have cried out in praise, that must mean they have that capability – and everything in the universe resonates…emits sound. Awesome! Would You line my yard with trees and bushes that can play the songs I have in my heart for You, but lack the skill to write on paper so others can play along? We could have nightly jam sessions and sing new songs every day!”
My thoughts turned to the concept of forever:
You’ll hear me ask from time to time, “What do you think you’ll be doing a million (billion) years from today?” I don’t know what that might be, but I know this…It’s going to be AMAZING!
Do you ever wonder what you’re being trained for while here on earth? Death isn’t “Game Over,” it’s the doorway into real life. In 2 Corinthians 5, we read that this mortality (what we consider to be real living) will be swallowed up by life! Now, that’s good news!!
“Who wants to go to Epcot Center?” I cheerfully asked two of my sons one morning.
Barely looking up from their schoolwork, one replied, “Uh, no thanks.”
The other said, “Not me.”
“What is Epcot Center?” I asked, a bit confused.
“I dunno. Sounds like a business complex…one of your ‘fun-filled’ field trips for homeschool. No thanks, Mom.”
They had no idea what they were turning down. They’d never heard of the place, and so hadn’t given it a second thought.
Isn’t this what we can be like when we think of heaven? Having never thought much about it – or worse – believing the lie that it’s the isolation of being perched on a cloud, nighties and harps, singing forever, it’s no wonder we aren’t anxious to get there. (This, by the way, is a more accurate description of hell – isolation, monotony, hopelessness…forever.)
1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” When I read this verse, I hear, “Honey, use your wildest imagination…it will be fun for now, but won’t even come close to all I have waiting for you here!
I become thoroughly Homesick when I imagine what lies ahead (however inaccurate I may be) …
…in my wildest dreams!
(My previous post goes along with this one. You can find it here: Now That’ll Wreck Your Day. Don’t miss it!)