Saturday, January 1, 2011

"To Live As Christ" 2011

Christmas day lunch was quite memorable and touching this year. We always spend Christmas lunches at my Uncle Duane and Aunt Linda's house. With grandparents, cousins, everyone. This year after lunch we sat around the kitchen and living room and reminisced about the 2 women we are now missing, my mom, and my Great Grandma Punkin. Duane told several stories about the 2 of them and their lives, and the hertitage they have now left to us. My how they were so much alike. My how the stories made me look at my youngest daughter and see their spark and strength and joy-of-life shining now through her. Like my Charis, my mom and my Grandma Punkin could do, and did, anything they set their minds to. They were hard workers, super in love with their family, and concerned about carrying and sharing the values of family togetherness. Both had an incredible faith in God. Neither one wrapped up in "society" or concern for what other people might think of them, but rather just of doing what Jesus would've wanted them to do. Mom was born on the 4th of July, Grandma Punkin died on the 4th of July. Both of them, when their time on this earth was about up, were completely and genuinely ready to go.
Uncle Joe Bill, one of her sons, told about the day before Grandma died. She was in a nursing home the last couple months of her life, and every day she would ask why she was still here... Why she hadn't just gone on to be with Jesus. On the evening of July 3rd, my cousin Chas had gone to visit her. He was then maybe 20 years old. Joe Bill said when he walked in Grandmas room, Chas was beside Grandmas bed, on his knees, praying to God that He would take her home. Grandma asked him to pray that prayer, and he got down on his knees and granted her request and prayed that prayer for her. And the next day, God answered that prayer. Likewise, the night my Mom died, my Dad and youngest brother prayed that same prayer for my Mom. Again, He answered.
At first thought, it seems strange, unnatural, and even almost unthinkable to pray a prayer like that. But not for these women. Not for this family of such strong faith. They knew this life on earth was temporal, and both women had always, always longed for that day to be looking at the face of their Lord.
Duane told about the conversation he had with my mom once we found out the cancer was back, and with avengeance. He said what I heard her say too, that the part she was most upset about was not getting to see her grandkids grow up. But that she was 4-for-4 completely happy and proud of who her kids had turned out to be. And she found peace knowing the grandkids would grow up with us as parents. Then Duane told us the words of comfort she gave to him right then on the phone.... She said, "for ME to live is Christ. And to die is gain. I'm just gaining."
Wow. All they way to the end. And she meant it.

That is my inspiration for the rest of my life here on earth. Starting now with this new 2011 year. I want to "live as Christ." And I want to have such a love for Him, and such a deep, real, relationship with Him, that when my time comes, I will only see it as "gaining."
So in lieu if New Years Resolutions, I think as long as I'm striving for that, and as long as me and God are "like this".... then whatever comes along this year, good or bad, it'll all just

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