Today would have been Julia’s 73rd birthday, and I’m truly grateful for all God has done to take her home to himself and give us the grace to carry on here for a season.
On the way home from the funeral of a friend’s mother yesterday, I was thinking how everything had changed for me on Julia’s eternal homecoming May 13th. I confess almost giving in to the temptation to feel a bit sorry for myself, now having to live a life not of my choosing and so hard to explain to others. But then, I remembered two things.
First, even though it feels as if EVERYTHING changed for me, I remember God did not change. He is still here with me, with all who love him. Coming into the holidays I was in a very dark place but God has poured out joy and grace upon me in so many ways that I’m deeply grateful for all that has happened. I have been chasing the Dawn, so to speak. I have found him to be the Great Stillness filling the quietness and emptiness of my heart. He is the same Creator today as he was in the beginning when he decreed that the day would always follow the night.
Second, it might feel as though everything changed for me, but LITERALLY everything did change for Julia. Imagine what it’s like to step from this world into the next, to have your soul completely free of any fleshly or selfish inclinations and to receive that new name from Christ that represents who you were intended to be from the very beginning.
0ne year ago Julia said to me that she wouldn’t see another birthday. But she has in a way none of us can imagine.
Dirk and Jennifer gave me a wonderful Christmas gift – a ticket to Sight and Sound’s DAVID in Lancaster, PA. In the closing scene the tears started as I saw portrayed so beautifully and powerfully King David’s entrance into glory. [#DAVID] In an instant it seemed so personal to Julia. The joy I felt over her glorious entrance into the eternal kingdom ran together with the deep grief of knowing she was gone and it all overwhelmed my senses. I had to steady myself, gripping the chair and forcing myself to stay aware of my surroundings. God was there with me and my family. In that moment of immense awareness into what lies beyond I remembered Julia’s favorite word…
Before Julia passed away on May 13th, she had been mostly unconscious and we were not able to communicate with her directly any longer. In the hour before God took her home, she suddenly set up in bed with her eyes wide open, and big smile on her face. Looking past us she said, “WOW!”
and then, laid back on the bed and went to sleep to this world forever.
“But , as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'”1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV
Later today when my family comes to have supper with me, I will carry in my heart that “wow” to the refrain of David’s words, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!”
LISTEN FOR JULIA’S LAUGH AT THE 34 MINUTE MARK, AFTER THE CREDITS…
JULIA’S LIFE CELEBRATION PROFILE
DAVID Finale – Sight & Sound Theatres
Sight & Sound’s DAVID YouTube Playlist
CBN News Studio 5 Background to DAVID
Let Everything that Has Breath Praise the Lord (Sight & Sound’s DAVID)
Becoming (Shannon Wexelberg)