Forever and Ever, Amen

April 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm 2 comments

My brother and I sang at my Papaw’s funeral on Good Friday. I’ve sung at a lot of events, mostly church-related. I’ve sung at a few funerals. I would consider this the biggest challenge to my emotions I’ve ever dealt with.

I prayed hard. I begged my heavenly Father to keep a tight hand on my heart and not let my feelings surface until after it was all over. He answered my prayer, and gave me even more than I asked for. On Thursday night, I was able to greet the hundreds that came through the visitation line with a smile, and God even gave me the grace to remember most of their names or find a connection with them, even if they weren’t there to see me or my immediate family.

On Friday, I woke up and before I even sat up in bed, I began to pray for composure and that my voice would honor God and my efforts would please my family. I prayed for my brother the same thing, and that he would be able to play the guitar beautifully. We got through the medley of songs and the slideshow without a hitch. God held our hearts and sang those songs for us, even though a good many of them were old country cheatin’ songs.

My Papaw loved music. He loved Jim Reeves and Eddy Arnold. He played guitar and gave my brother his first guitar. As early as I can remember, he has sung those old songs to us. John Mark and I wanted to pick songs that would make him smile. John Mark started with “Cattle Call” and we went into “Have I Told You Lately that I Love You” (The Jim Reeves song, not Van Morrison’s). My brother sang “He’ll Have to Go”, which was our Papaw’s favorite, and then I sang a bit from “Tennessee Waltz”. John Mark then sang “Yonder Comes a Sucker” and then we both sang the Randy Travis song, “Forever and Ever, Amen”. After that, we did “You Are My Sunshine”, and then some hymns.

I told you all of that because it helps me to remember, and I don’t want to ever forget how good God was to us that day. Being with family, being loved on by such sweet friends, it all was a blessing.

Today is Resurrection Sunday. I know the hope we have in a life eternal through Jesus Christ. More than ever in my life I desire for others to know that hope as well. God has been moving in my heart in the past year, and I’ve never been more certain that our main job on earth is to share the gospel with those who don’t know, and disciple those that do, but need encouragement in their faith. It’s more than bunnies and eggs. As a matter of fact, those things irritate me. It’s more than a celebration of new life, illustrated by pictures of baby animals. It’s more than just forgiveness of sins. It’s a life given back to Jesus for the life He gave for ours. It’s a daily laying down of self to take on the person of Christ and being obedient to his word because we’re free to do that. It’s taking every thought and action captive under his Lordship. It’s claiming him as the most important person in our world and wanting to please him every day, not just claiming him as the ransom for our sins. Easter is daily. Easter is life. Easter is the reason for our faith.

I probably will sound harsh here, but it’s on my mind . Several well-meaning guests in the visitation line mentioned that Papaw was having the time of his life now that he’s reunited with my Mamaw. I hope I was not offensive when I replied with a smile, “Well, he’s with Jesus. Mamaw is just a bonus.” Heaven is NOT a big family reunion. We’re not going there to continue our live on earth, just with no pain. I read the other day, “God is not a big us”, and I agree! Heaven is not a perfect version of this life! If it were, then it would be about us, not God. Honestly, I don’t want to go somewhere that is about me. I’ve had enough of me.

My Papaw is at the foot of Jesus on his throne, hearing the angels sing “Worthy is the Lamb! Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty! Who was, and is, and is to come!” That is what he’s doing today. I joke about Mamaw asking him when he got there what everybody has been up to since she left, but I know the truth. Neither one of them care. I believe they see us and love us, but are not affected by us at all, because we have no needs except for Jesus. We will have no emotional needs and need acceptance from no one. We will be whole in Christ, and know who we are in him, and we will see him as he is, in beautiful glory.

The emotions that were held back on Thursday and Friday have flooded my heart (and my eyes!) the past two days. It hurts. My heart physically aches. I didn’t know grief felt like this. I don’t think I fully experienced it with Mamaw, because we were so busy with Christmas, then Aidan started at a new school and life moved on. But now it hurts. I know it will get better, and I have the hope of eternal life and I’ll see them again. But there is so much finality to loss, and I’m having trouble dealing with it.

I pray for my family. I know if I feel this way, then we all do. My Mom and her brother and sister have a lot ahead of them. I know my brother and cousins are hurting too. In the grief, however, I am overwhelmed with the reality that everyone of us knows Jesus. It’s precious to be surrounded by people with hope. To be able to say “See you later” to someone you love and know that no matter what happens to them, you will be with them in eternity.

Thank you, my sweet friends, for loving us so well. There is no way to write a thank you card that can express how much I have needed the hugs and calls, and you have given. I am blessed.

Happy Resurrection Day. He is Risen, Indeed!

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hannah  |  April 25, 2011 at 1:41 am

    such a sweet post. love you lots and praying for you and your family.

    Reply
  • 2. Amanda  |  April 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve been praying for you and your family!

    Reply

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