Twenty years ago this month at the age of eighteen, I stood in the second row of the church in which I was raised. Standing beside me were my two brothers, my sister, and my dad. We were surrounded by friends and family numbering almost one thousand people. It was a moment that will live in my mind and heart till the day I meet Jesus.
That day twenty years ago we celebrated my mother’s life. Less than a week before she had suddenly gone to be with Jesus.
We stood there sad because we would miss her, but also excited because she had served her Jesus without regret on this planet and now had gone to spend eternity with Him. Her dream had come true, but the legacy she left would extend for generations.
Growing up, my parents took us to church and made sure we didn’t miss Vacation Bible School, youth camp, choir practice, discipleship time, or Bible Drills. We did everything from packing sacks of food for people at Christmas to raising our own money for mission trips. Our parents made sure we were actively involved in all things “church,” but what we learned from them was far from a check-the-box kind of faith.
As we watched my parents, they loved people (even enough to give our dishwasher away once!), cared for the children (they were foster parents to more than 45 children), and served as the tangible hands and feet of Jesus. I remember my parents helping others clean up after tornadoes, take dinner to a sick friend, fix an elderly persons house, and help the neighbor down the street when his car would not start. I could go on and on listing all that they did through the years. But they were more than just good people, they were godly people.
We learned to pray for the foster children who were sent back to their homes, we learned to trust God’s provision when the ends did not seem to meet, and we were taught to be thankful for the blessings we had been given. Mostly though, we were taught to trust in Jesus and share Him with others. My mom had done exactly that with many people over the years. Some people would accept Jesus and some would “think about it.” She still shared because her heart overflowed with His love.
As we stood there in the church that day, we sang her favorite hymn – “Because He Lives.” It was her testimony in the life…and what she would leave behind in death. Some came to services that day who had never entered a church; some accepted Jesus that week because my mom had shared with them and this moment brought it all home; and some became active again in their local church because God used her life and this time to rearrange their priorities. We were sad that day because we would miss her, but how awesome that God could change so many people because of one life. I would not trade that for the world.
As my husband and I with our children sat in church this past Sunday, we sang this song again. I was reminded of that time and the legacy my mom left. I want to leave a legacy like that. I want to help make a difference in someone’s eternity, and I want to teach my children to do the same. What challenges you to live out your faith? Who told you about Jesus? Whose faith inspires you?
If you would like to listen again and be reminded of the joy and peace only found in our Savior, I have pasted the link below.