Friday, January 25, 2008

Heaven

As you know I've been thinking a lot on this topic. Today I want to share with you my mom's vision into heaven five days before she left her pain-ridden body to enter into it's glories. I wrote this and read it at her memorial service.


The Sunday evening before Mom died, four of us surrounded her bed. My sister, Kathy, and I were holding her hands. My daughter, Kathy, and my stepsister, Deb, were there, too.

Mom turned to me and said she was so tired. When would she be released from her body? I reminded her that soon she would be with the Lord in heaven. She replied, “Really? I’ll be going soon?”

Then she turned her gaze to the upper corner of her room as she had done several times over the previous two days. Only this time her big, beautiful smile, broke out, and her face was radiant. I asked her what she saw.

“Oh, it is so much more than I ever thought it could be.”

“What is, Mom?”

“Heaven.” Her voice sounded a little impatient, like she couldn’t understand why we couldn’t see it, too. “It’s so much more.”

“Can you describe it for us?”

She shook her head. “There just aren’t words to do that.”

I reminded her of the verse in 1 Corinthians that says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.”

She said, “Oh, yes, that. I couldn’t have ever imagined what it is really like.”

She continued to gaze into heaven as she lay in her bed, quietly taking it all in. The four of us watched her and cried, tears amidst the laughter. She was so joyful, and heaven was so real right then.

I remembered what Mom’s second husband, Jim, said just before he died. He described the music he heard and the colors he saw. So I asked Mom what colors, if any, she could see.

“Only one,” she said. “A real clear, bright blue—more vibrant than any blue you can imagine.”

“What about people? Do you see any?”

“Oh, yes. They are on the periphery. Lots of them. So many. . .and I know them all!” She said this with wonder in her voice.

“Do you see your parents?”

She nodded. “Oh, yes.”

“Your grandparents?”

“Yes, they’re there, too.”

“What about our daddy?” I asked this question for both my sister and me. He'd committed suicide 26 years before.

Her eyes moved as she looked for those I asked about.

“Yes, he’s there.”

“What are they doing, Mom?”

“They’re standing there waiting for me to come so they can shout, ‘Hallelujah!’”

She was so excited she practically shouted the last word.

Then I asked if she could see Jesus.

“Oh, no. No. Not until Richard gets here.”

All during this time several nurses and one of the social workers came in, checking on Mom. Some, when they realized what was going on, stayed to hear some of what she was saying, but they all left with tears in their eyes. Ron, Deb's husband, and Roger joined us, too. Only Mom’s eyes were dry all during the two hours and more that she looked into heaven.

After one of her short rests, she told me, “My eyes are dancing.”

When I asked what she meant, she said, “There’s so much to see, my eyes are dancing trying to take it all in.”

At one point she said she could feel God’s presence. It permeated everything. She said heaven was so full of God that He overflowed the space and wrapped around her. At this point she said she was no longer afraid of the final journey because of God’s presence surrounding her and wrapping her in His love.

About 8:30 Richard called for final directions to the hospice center. When Mom roused shortly after, I told he would be there in just a few minutes. At that point, Mom sat up in bed, raised her arms in the air, and shouted, “Praise the Lord, oh, praise the Lord.”

Then when Richard arrived, she reached her arms out for a hug, gave him a big smile, and said, “Richard, I get to go to heaven now!”

Richard says that when Mom woke the next morning and realized she was still in her room at the hospice center, she was very disappointed. But she remembered what she’d seen the evening before, and she knew it wouldn’t be long before she would see her Savior.


How I have clung to these moments with Mom, because I believe the Lord allowed her to have this glimpse before she went not only to encourage her for her final journey but also to comfort those of us left behind. It certainly has made me long for heaven that much more.


Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 9–10, Mark 3:20–35
Saturday's Bible reading: Isaiah 11–13, Mark 4:1–20
Sunday's Bible reading: Isaiah 14–16, Mark 4:21–41


Have a wonderfully blessed weekend!

5 comments:

Julie Lessman said...

Dear Marjorie,

I am sitting here, weeping over this amazing story about your mom. I cannot tell you how much it moved me and blesses me. Thank you for sharing it.

I looked up your Web site because you are one of the CFBA reviewers who requested an interview from me for my novel, A Passion Most Pure. But when I read this story, I felt like God just gave me a big hug through you. I have no one close who is dying, but several dear ladies I am praying for with cancer, one of which is ACFW's Kristy Dykes. This story so encouraged me on their behalf. Thank you so much!

Hugs,
Julie

Pamela J said...

When February 25 comes this year, my mom will been gone because of cancer for sixteen years. I can still remember the radiant face as she looked forward to her journey to heaven. She, too, woke up disappointed that she didn't wake up there just one day before she did actually go. Thank you for sharing.
Pam

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Margie, this has me sobbing in tears...and is so timely and an answer to prayers.

I had been deeply disturbed lately because I heard a teaching about Heaven that said we won't even recognize anyone there.

It totally depressed me that the end would be the end and when our loved ones die we no longer know them. I'd asked God to please disprove this person's theory if that wasn't true because I felt in my heart He'd given me a vision of heaven once where I was there beside Jesus and watching a line of people come around this mountain in a valley below..and Jesus kept pointing and pointing and I was laughing because I did recognize the people. They were family members I'd been praying all my life to come into a saving relationship with Him...and here they were...rounding the bend to Heaven so to speak. Jesus was laughing and I was laughing.

So THANK YOU for posting this beautiful story of your mom's experience. REALLY one of the most touching things I've read in some time. I had goosebumps upon goosebumps. You posting this was an answer to prayer and I felt like, right before I started reading it that God was saying, here is how it is. Don't listen to that other person who has never even been here.

Thank you for this glimpse, Margie.

Hugs,

Cheryl

Margie Vawter said...

Thank you, ladies, for your comments. I'm amazed at how the Lord is still using Mom's testimony to bless others. For three days after her vision, she didn't talk much. Her breathing was erratic, but every time someone "new" came into the room, she told me to "Tell them."

One of the nurses at the hospice center told me she was a Christian. After I finished telling her about all the people Mom had seen, in tears she told me that hearing it was an answer to prayer. Shortly after she'd come to know the Lord as an adult, she shared her testimony with a good friend. He was a quadriplegic, due to a motorcycle accident. He accepted the Lord, but despondent over his condition, he later took his life.

The nurse told me she'd often had doubts of whether her friend had lost his salvation because of his last act. She desperately wanted to believe he was in heaven, contrary to her childhood teaching from the church she attended. But the doubts persisted. She asked the Lord to settle it once for all. When she heard that Mom saw my daddy in heaven, she knew that was her answer.

God is so good!

D. Gudger said...

Oh Margie, I can't even start to express how encouraging your post was. Actually, all the blogs I've been reading have spoken words of life into my depressed soul. Anyone who fears death needs to read this. Anyone wallowing in depression needs to read this.
Thank you for the raw baring of your soul.