Monday, February 6, 2012

On Death and Dying

Two people who are very dear to me are in the process of dying.

The first is my precious mother-in-law. Vibrant and full of life, about a year and a half ago she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After undergoing surgery and an initial round of chemotherapy treaments, she was doing beautifully and it looked as though all was well. Then 4 months after her last treatment, her symptoms returned. The cancer had spread to her stomach and abdomen. Although she endured more chemo treatments and fought bravely, she is now in the end stages of cancer. It is very difficult for me to see her in her current state after knowing the person that she was. I will always remember her serving others, putting her own special signature on everything that she did, loving her husband, sons, grandkids, and her "adopted" daughter - me. She was and is an amazing woman.

The second is me. Through this process of watching my mother-in-law lose her life, I have realized that God requires me to die to myself a little more each day - to my sin and to myself. (1 Peter 2:24) Every day I love this world a little less. Every day heaven becomes more of a reality. Every day I come to understand more that this life is not about me and what I can do for myself, but it is about serving others and making the most of every day God has given me. We never know when we will take our last breath. I am taking the time to hug my children a few seconds longer these days. I'm taking time to sit with my husband, to talk and laugh and grieve. I say the things that God puts on my heart that the people around me need to hear. I spend time with family and good friends. And I place my life, my future, my eternity in God's hands daily, knowing that whatever He has for me is good. He promised. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Death, however hard it is to accept and go through, is our only avenue into eternity and the presence of God - that is, until Jesus returns to take the remaining saints home. My prayer for myself and every believer is that we would come to a place where we can see death for what it truly is ... our stepping stone into our loving Heavenly Father's arms, to spend forever with Him.