Saturday, January 3, 2009

new year's eve, afternoon

my husband came home early for lunch,
and we left for a small town
half an hour away
for a funeral.

the dear sister who had
entered her Father's courts with singing
and His gates with praise
would have celebrated her 101st birthday
had her homegoing delayed nine more days.

one hundred one years of living.

she was placed in the state orphanage
along with several of her younger siblings
when her mother died.

if i recall correctly,
she was seven years old at that time.

life was not easy.

but at some point she came to know Jesus
as her Lord and Savior.

she married at the age of fifteen
to a man fourteen years her senior.
he loved her deeply and tenderly,
and they started their family;
nine children,
six of whom lived to adulthood.

one hundred one years.
almost a hundred direct descendants,
and then all those who married into the family
or were adopted.

her former pastor opened in prayer.
five of her granddaughters and greatgranddaughters
sang "amazing grace."
humble people,
heartfelt song.

a grandson read Psalm 23.

a granddaughter arose to give a message
from her grandmother.

she spoke quietly but passionately,
"grandma told me that when she died,
i was not to say anything about her,
but only to speak of her Savior.
she wants every one of you to know,
to consider."
the gospel was presented clearly,
and an appeal was made to those
who had not yet made their peace with God.

my own heart cried out,
"Lord, make hearts tender to Your truth!"

some hardened faces softened
as they heard their matriarch's desire for them.
some hard faces
hardened still further.
others showed
that their hearts vibrated in sympathy
with her wishes.

the former pastor arose to give the eulogy.
by his own explanation,
the dear lady
who was now in the home that her Father had prepared for her
had been as a mother to him.
he also knew her heart,
and spent his time presenting the good news
of God's plan to redeem mankind
one individual at a time.
o precious family members,
she was concerned about your spiritual needs!
please do not turn your back
on the Savior!

the granddaughters and greatgranddaughters sang,
"how great Thou art!"

people shared their memories.

the congregation sang
"God be with you till we meet again."

we took the long drive to the country graveyard.
the weather was unseasonably warm,
at least twenty degrees
rather than temperatures well below zero.
still, we all shivered in the sunshine
as the final words were said;
we are leaving our dear sister's body here,
but there is coming a day
when this body will be raised
a glorious body,
(something we can't understand,
but yearn to experience).
we will be reunited.

after returning to the church,
we ate of the bountiful reception meal,
visited with family members
and the church members who had provided the meal.

then returned home.

3 comments:

Christina said...

May each of us have a testimony like Clara did!!

Hope a.k.a. Ernestine said...

Dear Tammie,
You are always encouraging me. I loved reading this wonderful post. thank you for writing it.
Love to you!
Hope

Hope a.k.a. Ernestine said...

Dear Tammie,

I have to get OFF this computer right now, but I will be back soon to read this post. I just wanted to say that you are so dear to me…I just read your latest comment. I always enjoy your visits with me!

I love you!

Hope ☺