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|Articles - Christian Living|
|Written by Martha Hultgren|
During that week in June, two chapters of our life came to an end. We will recollect both with fond memories. At the same time, another chapter began, and we are looking forward with eagerness to the future God has in store.
In June our family celebrated two graduations. One was from high school. The other was a promotion to heaven.
Our middle son has reached the end of his growing up years. After years of being trained up, his high school graduation would be the culmination of his efforts to mature into a young man of God. As I was putting together pictures for his party, each image was a flashback to moments of his life, frozen in time.
My son as a golden-haired baby and toddler. Leaving for his first day of school, his older brother’s arm protectively around his shoulders. Family trips up north to the cabin or on the hiking trails, always mugging for the camera. Lined up with his cousins on the back of the pontoon on the Fourth of July, flags flapping in the wind. Playing varsity football, surrounded by friends after games, tired, sweaty, and smiling. Leading the crowd in cheers during the State Basketball Tournament, wearing his full-body hot dog suit. His childhood a mosaic of memories, flashing through my mind, bringing smiles and some tears.
A Different Passage
As his graduation day approached, we received a report that my mother-in-law would also soon be graduating to heaven. She had come to Christ as a young woman and raised her family in a denominational church, but she was discipled during her early walk through Christian radio. As her children became adults and became spirit-filled Christians, she followed suit.
She lived a life devoted to the Lord, always hungry and wanting more of God and seeking to grow in her faith. She and her husband were so faithful in their prayers for the family. Each child, spouse, grandchild and great-grandchild was lifted up in prayer every day. Every one of her descendants are born again, spirit-filled, and serving the Lord. What a legacy!
It is hard to underestimate the power of having a parent or grandparent’s daily consistent prayer, and I am so thankful for her faithfulness.
Her heritage of prayer inspires me to take up that charge and to continue to be the person to faithfully bring our family before the Father.
As her illness progressed, we were told that her home going would most likely fall around the same time as our son’s graduation. All of the preparations for him were put aside as we focused on my mother-in-law and caring for her health needs.
On June 1, 2012 we got the message that her time was drawing to a close. As a family we gathered around her that day as she passed into glory from her own bed at home. I was able to be in the room at the time, and being present when a saint passes from this world to the next is a profound mystery, not unlike the entrance of new life into this world.
We celebrated her graduation to heaven on a Wednesday, and our son’s graduation from high school two days later on Friday.
It was quite a week.
As we were processing all the emotions, the Lord reminded me as the Apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) He said, “I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”
In our sadness at her loss, I was prompted by Paul's statement. From his viewpoint, departing to be with Christ “is far better.” My mother-in-law is experiencing the end of her faith now; she is able to look into mysteries and secrets that we long to know on this side of eternity but are still hidden from us. She is beholding Jesus face to face!
All her years of faith and trust in the Lord have reached their ultimate destination. As the Apostle Paul says, “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55)
Her graduation, like our son’s, was something to truly celebrate.
During that week in June, two chapters of our life came to an end, and another began. Grandma’s time here on earth came to an end, as did our son’s youth. We will recollect both with fond memories, while looking forward with eagerness to the future God has in store.
Chapters Of Life: Write and Read Them Often
As deeply personal and emotional as these recent “graduations” have been for me and my husband, it is good to remember that all families share these same experiences from time to time. I’m sure you have your own fair share of family memories and stories about how God either led—or pulled—you through difficult or joyful times.
Life is but a vapor and every stage is to be appreciated and treasured for what it is because the seasons of life come and go without much notice. But God always has a plan for each one. He is always there…working, shaping, and guiding not just our steps, but those of our loved ones as well.
I encourage you to acknowledge or recognize whatever passage of life you find yourself in today…and be grateful. Maybe it’s a season of change for you personally or perhaps a graduation for someone you love. Regardless, these chapters of life are too precious to be taken lightly or for granted. I have found that the more I reflect on them, the more thankful I become to God and others.
The major milestones of life shouldn’t be the only times we stop to reflect on the precious gift of life. Therefore, slow down, create lots of memories, take some pictures along the way, and enjoy the journey…because sometimes they don’t last as long as we’d like.
One of the passages of my life continues to include my work and service here at the ministry of cfaith. It is deeply rewarding to know that the ministry we extend through our faith-based website (www.cfaith.com) is reaching and blessing individuals all around the world...and none of that would be possible without you!
Because of your on-going, faithful support, our content, daily devotionals, and monthly Partner Letters are touching hearts and encouraging individuals in more than 160 countries every month.
Whether you support cfaith through regular donations or by utilizing our email service, please know that we appreciate your contributions to this ministry. It is our prayer that our content and email service will continue to be a blessing to you and those you love.
Serving Him through every passage,