When Mother passed, I wasn’t there. She waited for us to leave, and Pat was the only one with her that night. He called me when it happened. I drove to Autumn Cove with all kinds of mixed feelings in my heart. I’d wanted to be with her when she left this earth. I’d wanted to hold her hand as she slipped into heaven. But I knew she wanted to make this transition with the least fanfare, and Pat was the one whose presence would not make any demands on her. Always the caretaker, she would not have to take care of him. The rest of us, she would.
A few days ago I was praying, and suddenly thought that I should turn to 2 Timothy 4. When I looked up this Scripture, I immediately knew it was an answer to a specific prayer. For weeks I had wondered what my mother would have said to me if she had been able to speak in the last few hours before her death. I had wondered what her advice would have been–she always had lots of advice. I now smile to myself remembering the years of motherly advice that had been heeded and some unheeded. In these verses Paul spoke to Timothy, but mother spoke to me.
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 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” (2 Timothy 4:1-8, NIV).
Mama had always told me that I was the preacher she had prayed for in the family. No, I am just who I am because of who she was. Mama was the one who taught well, who lived well, and lived these words throughout her life. I now have my charge from her, and I know what she would have said. I will heed each word, and live it the very best that I can.
The time of your departure came, Mama. You kept the fight. You fought the fight, and now you are free with your Savior. You have your great reward. One day I will see you again, and for all you have given me, I am truly forever thankful.
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