To say that someone got their money’s worth is an understatement when it comes to my mother-in-law. There has never been a woman more motivated or curious in life as her. The whole concept of “let’s chill!” was never in her wheelhouse. She “got her money’s worth” out of the life she lived, and at age ninety-two, she remained vigilant until the end.
We were fortunate to have the last four months with her in our home (not without a battle mind you , it only took us nine years to convince her to come). She knew when she was ready, she would come. And near the end of December 2020, she was finally willing to move in with us. We were blessed to be able to minister to her with love and compassion, as she taught us about life and death, which is still a great mystery to me (the death part, I mean). As I sat there watching her only son cry and pray, sing and worship, even during his loss, and her only granddaughter take such sweet care of her, I ponder this great mystery. It’s just a faint breath between the two – life and death, earth and heaven – but it gives me hope to know we will meet again.
We spoke words of comfort, and thankfulness, appreciative of all the lessons she taught us. I’m reminded of those last moments I was with my own Mom, nothing more precious. Watching my husband’s heart full of sadness is harder. He was a fine son, and he did his best to honor her, which he did. I feel confident when I’m at that point he will love me with as much warmth and kindness as he did his Mom.
I am honored to love a man with so much sweetness in his heart. He treasured his parents so much, and he was the best son. He gave honor to his parents, and to the Lord, for them adopting him. Now for a season, like me, he is parentless. But he is not alone; we have each other and we have Jesus. I’m good with that.
His Mom was a world traveler (seriously, she was), from Paris to Kenya, and all parts inbetween. She was an amazing quilter, embroider, and crafter. She was a good cook. She taught me the whole Thanksgiving meal, which was the first meal I had eaten with her. I was impressed! The best Angel biscuits, Swiss steak, okra and coconut cake. All my favorites! And most of all, she had the gift of hospitality. One of the fruit of the Spirit, by the way, that has been lost in the shuffle these days. She taught me that, too, but way better than me. Never a person who entered the doors of her church that did not get an invitation to her home…that day even… what?! Yes, she had the immeasurable gift to welcome strangers, and maybe even angels unaware? She is known for her commitment for people to be wanted and cared for. Her heart was for world missions, and she worked hard to support missionaries near and far. She had them to her home for meals or to stay over for the night. All guest preachers who passed through, as well as the random people she met along the way, sat around her table. Endurance was her middle name. This, all while raising two children and working as an educator to grammar school-age-kids for forty-two years! (what?) Yes, she was a go getter. She told me that she nearly died as a baby, and only after they removed her tonsils did she even start to gain normal weight. Yet she forged on and never stopped. She knew life was but just a vapor and she wanted to live the best she could.
I write this in honor of her, thanking her for the impact she had on my life. She was one of the first to plant the seed of Jesus in my mind and eventually to my heart. She was a good mother-in-law to me. And she gave a good man to love me. I pray that her influence lives on through her grandchildren and great grandchildren. If you knew her, you can appreciate the remarkably strong, vibrant woman she was – even when it wasn’t cool for us girls to be so independent. She ran that pop stand and told you your job too. She was invincible! But she always honored her husband and her Lord. She was reverent to what deserved to have reverence. Her joy was in people. She was filled with that joy until the end.
Now she is home, with her beloved Jesus, husband and the rest of her people. I’m sure she will have something to add to that big supper we all will have someday. She will at least help get it organized! God Bless her heart.