When your mother asks you to write her obituary and to have it ready for when she leaves the earth, something inside you in a surreal way, arrests your heart and fills you with unspeakable emotion. You stop to realize the infinite blessing of family which appears on the outside to be so finite, so complete and yet unresolved. All your teachings, your upbringings come rushing back to your heart, mind and spirit and you just want to scream "No mother", please don't ask me to do this. Except deep inside, you feel a calm before the storm which is ahead of you which rises above all the emotions. This is what grace can feel like, but it is all so new.
You drive away from your parents home with your car and the emotional melting inside you begins to pour from your eyes and your petitions should be loud, yet your power and voice feels strangely silent. With every amount of energy you can muster, you choke through the emotions trying to grasp at the humanity of it all and still, there is a longing which you know can be filled with only the grace of a God who cares. Still, it doesn't stop how you feel does it?
Dad stood by and listened intently to our conversation last night, not saying very much but having a gentle smile which is so much like my father. When I woke up early today on Monday, March 2, I realized my sleep was cut way short as another restless night had been my lot clearly due to a mind which had not stopped based on mother's request. Every word kept coming back to me in my mind, "What do you want me to say and how am I going to do this writing assignment?" Mother had this kind and beautiful smile through it all, but how?
Mother told me she wanted to take the pressure off of Dad in having to do something like writing an obituary and she knew I was somewhat of a writer, so it seemed logical. Earlier last month when the cancer had finally returned after our three years of healing and the prognosis was not good for her health, she told me she wanted one thing, a last wish. She wanted to make sure every single person in her family knew Jesus, had a real relationship with Christ and that one day, we would all be together again. Mother was crying when she said these words and I knew it was real.
She is still so very young by all standards of life, she is wise in the eyes of God and she is holy as she approaches her home going with courage, with a resolve because whatever He wants, she wants. Every day, I have been holding her hand since returning to Oklahoma and praying for her. My sisters have gone and tried to clean the house, help with the details and even my in laws have encouraged my return to Oklahoma City for this important season.
When I was watching Lifechurch online this week, I saw a nickname of a viewer called LOSING ALL HOPE and the individual was chronically sad online and was carrying a real spirit of giving up. It made me sad to see this person write what she did because they believed everything was over and there was no hope. Yet, my mother didn't act this way and in fact, she had a peace. She laughed, she told me she knew God was in control but honestly didn't feel good at all. At this moment, I wish Mom had been posting to this person who decided to watch church online as she would have encouraged them, just like she was doing with us.
Have you ever tried to process a circumstance which seemed hopeless? So much of life is about the choices we make and the reasons why we decide to choose one road or another. The reality is that some of our prayers are answered and some are not in the way we want them to be. Our plans are never God's plans, but I have learned sickness, disease are all coming from evil, darkness and the enemy. What the enemy uses for evil, God can still use for good. Its always been this way, but one out of one still dies, as Dad reminded me last night again. We all know there will come a time when we will transition into the afterlife, so can we transition with hope. Each of my own grandparents carried this grace they had received from God. What an incredible legacy we have.
A month ago I was supernaturally healed and when my mother was unable to see me in ICU, I knew how bad it was for her and so we have continued to pray for her healing. I wish she had been healed when I was. It was a month ago God reminded me of the finite nature of longevity in ways I never dreamed possible and guess what, its been an amazing journey and process for so many reasons. My mother has taught me so much about how to approach a life which has been transformed in Him. She has shown me everything about God's grace.
My pastor in Oklahoma City asked me a huge question when we met on a flight to Atlanta this week. "Kevin, why do you think God is allowing you to live and why would he give you a second chance?" There are thoughts about our future which now are more a part of my daily living than have ever existed before. Truthfully, my whole life has been more about me than others and seeing this truth is changing my resolve. Manifesting itself in my heart is a revolution of knowing that what we do here on this earth, matters...it matters a lot. Mother pointed me all along the way to the power of prayer, the reason for living for Him and why did it take me so long to understand this.
Now, lets stop a moment and think about you, your situation, your trial and your heavenly future...
If you were writing your epitaph, your obituary what would you want written? Is it a morbid thing to talk about or is it a statement of what your life is truly fashioned around, focused toward and where you have your eternal hope? I remember in taking Evangelism Explosion at Council Road Baptist Church as a young man, there was a phrase called PS. What was the PS of your life and did it have real meaning? Were you thanking God for all which has happened or not? This is what a writing like this is, a big P.S. and you have the chance to write your own.
Can I share something with you? Writing for my mother is the most difficult thing I have ever done because of the emotions which are part of the process. Sure, I've preached many funerals, buried many relatives and friends but this time, thinking of this...is not the same. My heart is already grieving and I don't want to say goodbye to my Mother. She is a woman who has always encouraged me, has loved me despite my faults and been a connection point to my existence. Even when I was mad at her or disagreed with her, she was there. You have the ability to write in the hearts of those you love, right now, right at this moment, so what are you doing and what are you writing?
Allow me to share about a role you can play to reach out to family. Parents are often emotionally placed in the shelves of our minds, like "Gods" aren't they? We don't think of them as having feelings, but rather they are bell hops for all of our requests. We are harder on them than we ever should be. For some reason we think we are smarter than they are and we get mad when they don't change. We have less patience for them when in debate and often we can allow feelings and emotions to estrange ourselves from them, to the point of real emotional, physical and spiritual damage. So as you write your own future, I want to implore you to begin, if you can, reaching out to your family, your parents, your children, your cousins, everyone.
Some of us have had bad parents who were horrible to us, absent from us, angry and abusive toward us and so we discard these feelings and even them into all of humanity. The reality is, God is our heavenly Father and He loves us, gave us our parents (good and bad), either through step parents, surrogate parents, god parents, teachers, siblings or through other natural and supernatural forces. The impact is all huge and shapes who we are. However, no matter where you are in life, you need them and they need you. There is no fight worth pushing them away.
In the Bible, the scripture says to "Honor your father and mother" and when we don't know them, we can even diminish the roles and be harsh on the replacements. Being too busy to connect with parents is just wrong. Its always the responsibilities of the children to call your parents. Always. Years ago at Promise Keepers I heard a man speak about the role of the child to call his parents every day. We have unlimited phone and texts, so why don't you call your parents today if they are still living? You should. So to honor someone you must connect with them, don't text them, call them and connect if you can. Did you see the Oscars where the actor reminded us all to call our parents, wow I was so impressed someone in secular entertainment so a need more than any show could ever have.
Sometimes, contacting a relative or a parent is really hard. Recently, I was with a new friend from Texas and she shared about how her Mom and Dad no longer want to have anything to do with her. She told me the story of how she decided to go a different political direction and as a result of this, her parents disowned her. I have another friend who is from another religion and because he chose to follow Christ, his parents disowned him and no longer want to talk or share anything anymore. Think how this relationship is compromised due to believing in a new paradigm. We must not judge, we can disagree but this should never impact our love and our connectivity.
My heart goes out to all of those VERITAS 300 prayer warriors who have struggled with the death of their parent. I am more than aware of the pain yours and mine family members have felt in the loss of a precious mom, dad or family member, but now, its more real than it has ever been.
So in the next few moments before I begin writing this obituary for mother based on her request, I wanted to write each of you a spiritual prayer of blessing,and please know this is not my idea, but His.
A PRAYER OF BLESSING - VERITAS 300
There are people who are reading this blog who need a prayer of blessing upon them at this very moment because life has been challenging. They are going through a struggle which is painful beyond words, in many cases very private and yet, it is still existing.
Would you bless them right now in their journey. Please station your angels about them, somehow supernaturally would you embrace love all around their heart, their circumstances and their own realities. Help them see your love in new ways and bless their family, bless their home, bless their work, bless their friends and touch their lives with goodness.
People are needing this hope through your love and we know you have the power to change everything. Our Father Yahweh please minister to their hearts. God write a story in their own lives filled with miracles, overloaded with hope and let love so enrich their lives, all they want to do is share it with others. We know there are many man made religions, but let them see the truth in a real relationship with your son Jesus.
I pray now you would bless each man, each woman, each child with a peace which passes all understanding. We ask you place the full armor of God upon them so they will be able to weather any storm which comes their way.
Finally, Lord I want you to bless them in Yeshua's name bringing eternal life into their lives so in a thousand years, we will celebrate in heaven together with you, as we bow and adore you because you give us hope, in you there is faith and by you, we know your love. Its in your son's precious and holy name we pray, Amen.
May this prayer of blessing reach into your soul as you each and every day realize how valued you are. Every moment counts, every action matters so take time to make each day the best you can. Learn to laugh through the trials and know there is nothing you are facing, He has not faced. I am so very thankful for each of you who have gone through the struggles and I can emulate how grace helped you. Thank you for ministering to me when I needed a spiritual hug and for never giving up.
A BLESSING FOR MY MOTHER
Thank you mother for your courage and its in His name, we pray healing every day. Thank you for your laughter and your joy.
I want you to know Mom, you did everything right.
As a young girl, you stood in the ant bed to prove God could take of you in the playground, and He did. You grew up with four brothers and you were bold in your faith and wanting a Godly man. You saw Dad in church and knew he was the kind of man who would spiritually lead you. You were an awesome mother taking care of your children and all your grandchildren.
You pushed us to know Him to live for Christ and you shared Jesus with our childhood friends. You made us go to church when we wanted to sleep in and you disciplined us when we needed it. You always prayed for your family, loved your family, honored your parents and made peace with everyone.
Your sparkle is my sparkle and your tears are my tears. You loved beyond measure and on a one to ten, you were a twelve. Thank you for every day, for every word and for raising us on your knees.
I look forward to spending ten thousand years with you Mom. Lets make every moment count, ok? There may never be a book written about any of this, a movie made or even a song, but there will be YOU, engraved in our hearts and your legacy of faith will continue for generations. You are the best and your only son loves you with all his heart.
I love you.
PS Mom, I plan to bring you Braums ice cream this week. Wink
Kevin McAfee is a film maker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God using the visual language of film. His blog is shared in hopes of impacting culture, but his heart is in media missions and the church.