The Lord gave us six months from the time my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2005 to his death in March. Time that was treasured as we knew it was short.
Recently my mom had a heart cath in which the doctor found her “widowmaker” main artery was 90% blocked. A stent was immediately put in. Complications, including a severe allergic reaction to the contrast dye despite pre-procedure counter-meds occurred. She went into Afib and had some pretty severe diabetic swings. In short, I thought my brother and I would be planning her funeral.
Today, about three weeks from her heart cath, she is much stronger. Her skin is peeling from the allergic reaction but she’s not swollen and lobster-red anymore. Her heart still has some severe valve and regurgitation issues but the fear of a sudden, fatal heart attack has been alleviated.
Sitting in the hospital room with her, I snapped a picture of our hands intertwined. It was at this moment that I realized the Lord has once again given us the precious gift of time. We don’t know when that day would come – with Dad we knew it would be somewhat soon – but either by death or by rapture, Jesus has given us time.
We intend on treasuring this time together. I’m not going to be in a hurry to hear her oft-repeated stories. We’re going to sit down with family photo albums and label pictures so the faces and names are not forgotten. I want to take her to visit family near and far.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end,” states Ecclesiastes 3:11. This time with Mom is beautiful because both of us know where she will be going once she draws her last breath. Because she has accepted the gift of God’s grace as shown through His Son Jesus Christ, His atoning death and life-giving resurrection, and once she is done with her earthly body, she will go immediately into His Presence in heaven.
Seeing Jesus in Person, Live!
Receiving a hug from Him!
Seeing my Dad!
God has given us time to treasure each other now. God gave His Son that we may treasure the time we’ll have for all eternity with Him – and each other.
This knowledge of her final destination takes away fear. I’ve known a few family members who did not accept Christ as Savior in their life or on their deathbed. It makes family grieve harder knowing the deceased will spend eternity away from God and away from family. Deathbed confessions are every bit as legitimate as professing Christ when younger, but oh what is passed up!
Accepting Christ gives one peace and purpose. The Holy Spirit indwells you and changes your whole outlook on life – and death. For a Christian, death is not the end. It is one door closing and another opening. It is not goodbye, but “See you soon.”
I love my mom and I hate that she is experiencing pain with her heart and has to take all this medication. I hate that she cannot go like she used to. But I love that she is still here, even if it’s for today, so we can treasure this time together – in life, in worship, and in looking forward to the day when we both (without pain) bow our knees in front of our King Jesus.
(C) 2016 Terrie Bentley McKee
Terrie Bentley McKee has been writing for over 30 years. She's written two books (look on the home page for more info!), and is passionate about discipling others in the Christian faith. Available to speak at churches, faith organizations, Christian camps and missions, she has an incredible testimony of surviving domestic violence, special needs children, having a spouse who's paraplegic, and through all this, witnessing to Christ's Power, Presence and Peace. For more info, email her using the Contact page.
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