The night before my mother passed away I found her Bible. It was a well-worn Bible, not from being mistreated, but from being read. The cover was soft and worn down from being held open for many hours. The pages had long ago lost the stiffness of being new and unused.
As I flipped through the pages of Mom’s Bible, the first piece of paper I came to was a recipe (for baked grits, which I don’t remember ever eating). It had her mother’s name written on it. That recipe was a reminder that Mom loved to cook for and spend time with her family. Her last night in this life was spent at home surrounded by the sounds of her family. That was a blessing.
The next item I came to in her Bible was a bookmark with Psalm 23 printed on it. Then there was another smaller bookmark with a verse reference and a drawing of a little boy smiling. That picture of the little boy reminded me that my mother loved to tell children about Jesus. She spent years working with kids, and others, teaching them about God’s love and truth.
The verse reference on the small bookmark was Psalm 69:30, “I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.” My mother could not hit a musical note with a shotgun. Singing was not her gift, at least not by the standards of this world. But when she worshiped, she sang all those bad notes with all her heart. I suspect that God loved Mom’s singing because it came from a heart of praise.
Mom’s Bible also had many Scriptures highlighted and some hand-written notes. The notes were shaky looking, reminding me that Mom lost the use of her right hand years ago but she taught herself how to write with her left hand. She refused to give up. She went right on making notes about Bible studies and writing in her journals for years, even though her handwriting didn’t look very pretty.
We brought Mom home from the hospital on Friday night. Hospice had already set up a bed in the house. On Saturday morning I got up, came downstairs with Mom’s Bible and sat by her bed. I read to her from the Book of Revelation, descriptions of heaven. I read the 23rd Psalm. I talked to her about some of the notes she had written on the page with the Lord’s Prayer. I prayed for her and told her that I loved her.
My family expected Mom to be with us for at least a few more days, if not a couple of weeks, but soon after I read to her from her Bible, Mom slipped away. She told us earlier that she was ready to see Jesus. I know she was hurting and wanted to rest from the struggle, but she was not talking about Jesus simply as a euphemism for the end of her pain. She was ready to stand in the presence of her Lord. Now she does.
Mom was ready to see Jesus and she helped a lot of other people get ready to see Jesus. Her service in this age is finished. We are still working. We still have the chance to help more people get ready to see Jesus.
May the Spirit of the Living God inspire and enable us to serve him well,