A message from Marjie –

Tuesday, November 5, marks two years since my mom changed her address permanently from earth to heaven.

It’s hard to believe that I have not spoken to her in 731 days. Just the night before she unexpectedly died, I talked with her on the phone and we had a lively and fun conversation. I will never forget it and I am so grateful for it.

My mother was one of those moms and grand-moms who was ‘all in’. She cared devotedly for every member in her family—those who lived in the same house as she did, and those who lived far away. She prayed, called, visited, wrote, and texted—often!

In fact, one of the last things she did before permanently moving away from here was to put a birthday card in the mail to one of her nieces who lives in Georgia. She received it several days after my mom died.

I am grateful for the years she was my mom and for all the things she taught me. I am grateful for the spiritual heritage of my parents and the home and life they created for my sister and me.

I am grateful for the spiritual legacy that her grandchildren still reflect of her love and her life.

I am fortunate to have all of these photos in my phone of life with my mom and dad. I think they reflect her devotion to all of us. Most of them need no explanation, so I am using them to highlight some of the things I’ve gleaned from these past two years.

I hope they are helpful to you no matter where you are in your life and no matter what you are going through.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned at my mom’s two year mark of leaving earth:

1. Grief is hard and there’s no way around it. When you wake up, it hits you right between the eyes and it is a heavy piece of baggage to carry throughout each day. Grief can make you very tired and sometimes apathetic. It can deplete you of your zest or zeal for living. Even though you may be tired, it is sometimes very hard to sleep. It is also hard to concentrate or to read anything that is long and involved. But after a while, the grief becomes easier to manage. Life becomes interesting again, sleep comes a little easier, the appetite returns, and the daily baggage becomes much lighter to carry.

2. Everyone is on their own timetable for grief. One of the worst things that can be said to a person who is grieving is: “You should be getting over this by now.” For me, my life is currently quite demanding with many commitments and weekly requirements for what I’ve been called to do. I also have three of my four children still living with me. And while my kids are all independent, their presence in the home requires my attention and love and care. It seemed like life wasn’t going to wait for me to ‘get over it’, so I had to pace myself with the commitments I needed to fulfill. There were many times I found it very difficult to face a crowd or attend a social event. I discovered it was ok for me to say no to many things so that I could give myself plenty of space to be quiet, to rest, and to not have to make conversation if I didn’t feel like it

3. Jesus is real. I had known this for 49 years, but now I really know this! I have experienced His Presence, His comfort, His care, His kindness, and His supernatural love in ways I had not prior to my mom’s death. I can’t explain it, but I know that verse, “Precious in the sight of the Lord are the death of His saints,” must have something to do with it. (Psalm 116:15) He draws near to let us know that all things are under His control and all will be well.

4. It is so important to take time to be with the people that you love while they are still present. Well…duh, right? No, but really. It’s so easy to take it for granted that the people who mean the most to you will always be around. It’s easy to let your to-do list consume your life, or a sense that you can’t afford to take that trip. It’s so important to take that trip! Go to Deception Pass on a Saturday because your mom wants to see it. Go and visit the Magnolia Silos because it’s always been a bucket list item.

My trip to Texas with my mom, my sister, and my sister-in-law was the last time I saw my mother on this earth. We had such a great time on this trip. We did all the ‘Fixer-Upper’ things, even meeting Jimmy-Don, the metal-worker who makes cool signs for the show! I will forever cherish these memories. My mom was in great health; none of us had any idea it would be the last time we ever saw her again.

Take the trip and do the fun, memorable things!

5. Trust the bigger, greater picture to God, who always loves us and does all things well. The Lord doesn’t give us a choice when it comes to how long we live or how long our loved ones live. Psalm 139: 16 tells us that all of our days are ordained by God.

I have one of my mom’s Bibles and she has written in the flyleaf: “God’s power is displayed best in impossible situations.” (Dr. David Jeremiah)

An impossible situation is what we all found ourselves in at the sudden, unexpected loss of my mom. My parents had recently moved to Montana, and now my dad was in a new place all by himself.

But God’s power has truly been displayed—in my dad’s life and in my life and my sister’s life.

When people ask how my dad is doing, I tell them that he is ‘remarkable’, and then I explain why. My dad, in his deep and profound grief, has turned to God again and again. He starts each day with time in the Word and in prayer. My sister and I still talk with him several times a week. Together, we have processed my mom’s move to heaven—through the heavy and sad times, and through the happier times, and through the lonely times of missing her.

We will always miss her. We still grieve her absence from our daily lives. This will probably never change until we see her again one day. But we rejoice in what she is experiencing now. We know that she would never choose to come back because now her faith is sight—she sees Jesus face-to-face.

The birth of our first grandson and my parents’ first great-grandbaby is a reminder that there is a time for everything—a time to be born and a time to die. I so wish my mom had been here to see my son get married, to celebrate my twins’ graduation, and to hold this first great-grandson—but God. God in His wisdom and love called her home on 11/5/17—a day none of us will ever forget, but now we can say that we trust Him with it—and God is good. May your trust in the all-knowing, good God be growing each day,