It has been one month, two weeks, and two days since she took her last breath. I had hoped to celebrate this birthday with her! I do not think I ever had the privilege of celebrating her March 12th birthday alongside her. Yet even more, I looked forward each year (since 2005) to her spiritual birthdate on April 26. It was a time we shared remembering and celebrating through a text. Today, I am blessed to reflect on her thankful heart for my encouragement through the years as I read through old text messages. We had a bond that I will miss this side of heaven. Our memories bring a range of emotions from tears that flow freely, to deep convulsing grief, and intermingled with refreshing laughter, and hope, and peace.
Just two months before she went to heaven, I was privileged to spend face-to-face time with her, and I shared a paraphrase of Psalm 23. This is how it goes:
God is my Shepherd And I am His little lamb.
He feeds me, He guides me He looks after me.
I have everything I need.
Inside, my heart is very quiet. As quiet as lying still in soft green grass,
In a meadow, By a little stream.
Even when I walk through the dark, scary, lonely places,
I won’t be afraid
Because my Shepherd knows where I am.
He is here with me, He keeps me safe, He rescues me
He makes me strong And brave.
He is getting wonderful things ready for me,
Especially for me. Everything I ever dreamed of!
He fills my heart so full of happiness, I can’t hold it all inside.
Wherever I go I know God’s Never Stopping, Never Giving Up,
Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love
Will go, too!The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, Psalm 23, paraphrase
And it has! How thankful she is to be remembered on earth! Yet, even greater how happy and safe she is in the presence of our Lord and Savior! She spends time praying for her loved ones down on earth! What a joyous BIRTHDAY celebration she is experiencing with those who are also in the presence of Christ! (these ideas are taken from chapter 7 of Heaven by Randy Alcorn)
If you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you from your sins: God IS your Shepherd. He WILL look after you; feed you and guide you. You have everything you need because you are His little lamb. You can be at peace no matter what circumstances plague you here on earth, nothing to fear because He has sealed you until the day He brings you home. You can be strong and brave. Amazingly, He is busy getting a wonderful place ready for you. He LOVES you immensely!
A final word:
“Meanwhile, we on this dying Earth can relax and rejoice for our loved ones who are in the presence of Christ. As the apostle Paul tells us, though we naturally grieve at losing loved ones, we are not ‘to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope’ (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Our parting is not the end of our relationship, only an interruption. We have not ‘lost’ them, because we know where they are. They are experiencing the joy of Christ’s presence in a place so wonderful that Christ called it Paradise. And one day, we’re told, in a magnificent reunion, they and we ‘will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words’ (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).Heaven by Randy Alcorn