Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Celebrating Life and Death

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16

Yesterday was a bitter sweet day. Not only was yesterday my first born son's 5th birthday, but it was the day in which Rob's grandmother Charlotte transitioned into God's glory.

Yesterday, Grandma had been on our minds since visiting her the day before. We dropped the 3 older kids off at my parents' and proceeded to Grandma's in the late afternoon, with Isaac in tow. As we entered the room, I was a bit taken back. Everyone had said that she looked peaceful and peaceful was a great way to put it. She looked so comfortable in her bed. Eyes closed but sensing she could hear us. I slowly approached her bedside. Her breathing got a bit faster and I just stroked her hair, told her who I was (she has been suffering with memory loss for years now) and just talked with her for a few minutes. I asked    her if she was ready to go see Ron (Grandpa, who had passed away years before) and Jesus. I didn't get a response, but hoped she heard and understood. Rob got a chance to talk with her a bit as well and say goodbye.

Although she's not technically my own grandmother by genealogy, she was a special part of Rob's and my life. I remember many visits with Grandma and Grandpa as Rob and I were dating. Grandpa was such a funny guy, but could pray as I have never heard anyone pray before in my life. He was an amazing carpenter, making things out of wood for family and friends. Such a hard worker too.
Grandma was such a sweet and caring woman. A woman who devoted her life to teaching children and raising three boys. She wrote a beautiful memoir of her life's journey and I read it from front to back once on a plane ride from Florida to London. I still look at it from time to time and admire what a neat writer she was (she did the entire memoir on typewriter!) and what an amazing life she had.

Grandma and Grandpa I think always knew Rob and I would get married, even early on in our dating relationship. They loaned us money when we didn't have it to purchase a used car to drive at college together in Illinois. They had such faith in us as a couple. We'll miss them dearly.

One other thing that I was reminded of as we visited Grandma on Sunday...things. I remember looking around at the photos on her wall and bookshelves. They were filled with lives she had touched. Children she had raised. Lives she had influenced. There was love there. I also remember looking around at her lovely tea cup collection, her jewelry and other nick-knacks. She always kept little stuffed animals in her room and with each visit, would give them to grandchildren with a smile on her face. She loved playing the piano, but as she aged and could no longer play, found joy in listening to others play for her. None of these things would be going with Grandma to eternity. None of these things really mattered. Such a great reminder to "seek first the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33) and not things here on earth.

Matthew 6:19 says this...

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."

It's so easy for us to get caught up in things here on earth that Satan tempts us to loose focus on what lies ahead and why we're here on earth, to glorify God and make Him known to all the world. Things like, who has a fancier house. Who has the latest name brand clothing. Who has the most gadgets (i-pods, i-whatevers, electronic devices, fancy tvs, etc.), boats, Ivy league educations, degrees, fancy titles at work from years of climbing the coorporate ladder. I could go on. None of these things matter in life. It was a good, "kick-in-the-pants" reminder for myself to maintain a Job-like attitude and be content in all circumstances.

Philippians 4:12. says...

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
Whew! Easier said than done, right?

Lincoln wound up having a wonderful birthday filled with breakfast donuts, Daddy taking off a bit of work to spend time with him and build his new Lego set, special birthday calls and cards and a family trip to Chuck E. Cheese's in the evening. I can't believe he's FIVE already (in this video he was 2, pushing 3 I think). I think I can speak for Rob and I both in saying that this sweet boy has taught us some amazing things the past five years. He's taught us to be more patient. He's taught us to stop and admire nature, paying attention to the little things. He's taught us a whole different level of what it's like to trust. Although he's always been a big boy for his age since the day he was born
(a 9 lb., 10 oz. baby), he's always had the sweetest heart and we've used his size as a positive advantage to teach him how to protect his mother, sisters and baby brother. He's used his strength for heavy labor in helping us with farm-like chores. He reminds me of Sampson (in the Bible) in so many ways. I pray that as parents we will help mould and shape his strong will and physical strength to be a protector, a hard worker and a leader (as Abraham Lincoln truly was).

(Lincoln at 9 months of age...Isaac is the spitting image of him, I know. I'm really going to have to label their baby photos or I won't be able to tell them apart in the future!)

So, yesterday, as we celebrated the ending of a life for Christ in Grandma, we also celebrated the young life of her grandson who will hopefully follow in her footsteps as a mighty warrior for the Lord.

Happy fifth birthday little man and to Grandma Charlotte...
we will miss you , but will see you again!


Joy Comes in the Morning said...

Sorry for your lose. Thank you for a beautiful post that reminds us of what a life beautifully lived looks like. Hope your son had a wonderful birthday.

Dobson Family said...

We are very sorry for your loss. We will keep you in our prayers. Hope Lincoln had a great birthday!