Thursday, November 17, 2016

Look Forward

I think that every time someone we love passes away, the first thing on our hearts is a bit of regret. "I wish we would have spent more time together while we could." "I should not have said that thing that time." In my case, with my mom, I have thought over these last few weeks of how it was a struggle not to lose patience with the symptoms of dementia or how I didn't ever seem to find the right words to comfort her when she couldn't understand why there was so much discomfort throughout her body. I never knew exactly what to say. But I know that guilt is a tool of satan. When we are Christians there is no place for guilt to live.
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

So, instead of being fixated on what I wish I had done that I didn't, I am going to remember all the good moments we shared, even the ones in the end, when it was most difficult. And I will look forward. I will see what I can allow God to do through me this day, and I will take all the chances I get to do some small thing that may impact someone bigger than I think. Jesus allowed himself to be interrupted when someone had a need. My mom did too. And here are the things that I am going to do more of from now on because of the influence her life had on me.

1. I will pay more compliments, 
When my mom thought something nice about anyone, she told them. Towards the end, she would forget that she had already said it that day, so she said it again. I don't know how many times I heard from her that I was "such a good mommy." She constantly told me how perfect I was for my son, and that God gave him to me because there could be no other mom in the world who would have done a better job. She offered the same kind of encouragement to everyone. In a society that is more prone to complain, share bad experiences instead of good ones, and look at all that is wrong, I have decided to be the person who looks for what is right. And then, I won't keep it to myself. If I think a nice thought about anyone, why shouldn't they know? Social media makes it easy. I don't even have to work up the nerve to tell what I am thinking in's as easy as sending a private message. So in my house, out in the community and from my computer or phone, I will pay more compliments. 

2. I will take more pictures. I already take a lot of them, but the one thing I thought when looking through family photos trying to find some to share of my mom was that there were not enough pictures of her.  I know that before the age of digital cameras, people just didn't take as many photos. But even after they became so widely used and we all had phones on our cameras, I think that my mom was the one taking the pictures at family events and I wish I would have thought to take one of her next. So from now on, whenever I am experiencing something I want to remember with people I love, I will take more pictures. 

3. I will make time for friends. My mom ALWAYS did. Memories I have growing up are of her friends coming over to have tea and talk. And if my mom had not seen someone in a while, she would schedule a time to go visit, or she would call to see how they were doing. Times have changed, and if you ask anyone how things are going, people always say "busy." Well yes, we have things that keep us busy, but I believe that if we are too busy to ever spend time with people we care about, then we are not within the will of God. In the end, only the time we spent loving Him and loving people is going to matter. So, if we are friends. you will probably be hearing from me. Let's get together soon, and when we do, we will take a picture! 

4. I will give God first place in my heart. My family and friends will be next, because I do believe according to scripture, God and people are all that truly matter. My mom must have known. She had more devotion books than I have ever seen in any room that I have ever been in, and I remember her spending her daily quiet time with God every morning. She closed the door and that time was only for reading and prayer, although she didn't ignore the kids if we needed something during that time. She met our needs and got right back into her Scripture. And I see that she applied what she knew. She didn't just read the Word, she lived it. And even though she thought she never did anything special, she was also happy with her life and content with everything as it was because she put God first. She was happy with less because her joy came from God and from giving of herself to improve someone else's circumstances whenever she could. 

These are the things I am going to do so that when my time comes, or someone else I love before me goes on, I won't have to feel that bit of regret. I won't leave kind words unsaid. My friends won't remain forgotten because I was busy. People I love will know that I love them. I do hold on to the last gem my mother gave me. In her final days, right before she became unable to speak, she was having trouble and in a lot of pain. It was a Saturday night. I told her I wished she felt better and I wished there was something I could do. I said I would take it away from her if I could. She patted my hand and said she was just glad I was her daughter. Those were her last words to me. So when the enemy wants to creep into my mind over the coming season and tell me I should have done better, I will remember what she said and know that she thought I did all right. There is no room for regret. No place for guilt. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite pastors, Steven Furtick. 

Change is what I am going for, every day. My prayer is that Jesus will keep changing me to look more like Him in my actions and the way I live. My goal is for anyone to catch sight of Him in me. Mom didn't know it, but a lot of people were exposed to His love through her. May it also be said of me when my days have ended. 

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