17 February 2012

home to Jesus

This is a letter written by my mom this morning.

     Yesterday I sat by Mama's bed. She hadn't eaten for a day or two, and her voice was deep and raspy. I couldn't understand everything she said. We've talked often in the last months about being ready to go to heaven. She knew she wasn't good enough. Welcome to our world! NO ONE IS! But she was confident that Jesus had made a way for her. She would brighten when I would remind her of one of my favorite verses: "Therefore He--that's Jesus--is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." (Heb 7:25)

     I had my name tag on--Mrs Stepanian. I had come straight from Good News Club. If you know Mama, you know she read that name tag. So I told her today's Bible memory verse, "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. John one twelve."
     "That's a good one."
     That is where her hope lies: in the One who made the world, came to live on it and die for sins of the people, be buried and raised to life forever in heaven, giving those who believe in Him this amazing right--to become children of God. Wow.

     I sat longer than usual yesterday. I sang through a bunch of old hymns, what words I could remember. She mouthed some of them with me.

Holy, Holy, Holy....God in three Persons, Blessed Trinity

Hear Him, ye deaf, His praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ.
Ye blind behold your Savior come, and leap ye lame for joy.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art....

Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

     At one point I said, "Mom, it's OK to say goodbye to this world."
     Her quick response sounded flippant, "OK. Good bye, world!"

     Then I said, "I look forward to the day I'll see you in heaven."
     At that she smiled and rasped, "That will be a great day for both of us."

     Mama still had her wits about her. For some reason I was thinking about Mom in her garden. She grew basil, a burgundy colored one, long before TV chefs were chiffonading it or Trader Joe's put pesto in a jar. And she had always pronounced it baa-zil (a like in bat. Which is the pronunciation given in my dictionary, just so you know!) I asked her, "Do you pronounce it basil or bayzil?"
     "Baa zil."
     "Ahlmond or aamond?" "Aypricot or aapricot?" "Pecon or pecan?" She gave her right answers....

     Later the hospice nurse came in, amazed at Mama's alertness. I turned to Mama to show off that she was still very much present. "Mama, is it basil or basil?"
     "Is it almond or almond?" She paused.
     That made the nurse and me laugh. She wasn't going to play my game.

     That may have been the last word I heard her say. I talked some more with the nurse. I kissed Mama goodbye. She waved as I left the room.

At 10:30 pm her caregiver called. "Your mom is gone."

I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. Finally gone to Jesus!

She was 99. Ready.

I thank God for making me ready to say good bye.


14 February 2012

you make beautiful things

you make beautiful things out of the dust...

10 February 2012

church exploration

Our family/our church is searching for a larger local body in Canby to be a part of. This has prompted a lot of study, prayer, conversation, reading, etc, etc, etc about the nature of this enigmatic thing called The Church. There's a lot of language and a whole variety of connotations to each different term that we use surrounding these concepts.

Even as I look back at that first paragraph I smile. I said a few things that can be taken in multiple ways: our church, larger local body, The Church. The other night as our home community talked about the Ephesians and the church, I realized that if I'm not careful, I can easily misinterpret another person's comments just because we have different mental constructs about the word "church."

I feel like we have a whole load of ideas about the church, probably the majority of which are shaped by personal experience and human conversation rather than by God's word. Gosh. Foo! I want my mind, heart and soul to be trained and shaped by his thoughts on what the church is.

So, we're studying through Ephesians. I was having a hard time understanding this passage from the end of the first chapter.

Here's the ESV of 1:21-23:
(Christ is)...far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 
And he put all things under his feet 
and gave him as head over all things to the church, 
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

And The Message:
He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. 
At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. 
The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. 
The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

Ahhh! I love that!
All things under his feet meaning at the center of all this.
Gave him as head meaning Christ rules the church.
And then in The Message, the sentence, The church, you see is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.
His body meaning in which he speaks and acts.
The fullness of him who fills all in all meaning by which he fills everything with his presence.

That sentence about the world being peripheral to the church blows my mind. Train my eyes to see!

07 February 2012

deer teacher...

Yes, we are having a baby. Sometime around June 25th. And kids at school are starting to catch on.

--A first grade girl was staring at me very intently, as I read a story aloud to the class. Finally I called on her. She was rubbing her tummy: "...um, teacher, it looks like you have something right here. I wonder if you have something right here..... Do you have something in your tummy?"

--Subbing for Mrs. Perrin's fourth grade class, kids were thrilled to brainstorm names for us--Tony Hawk, Jennifer, Abby (the teacher's first name) and Mrs. Perrin all were mentioned. Mrs. Perrin was by far the class top pick for a girl. (Our name ideas are secret, but please be certain that Mrs. Perrin has not made the list.)

--Sweet third grade boy that I taught last year (I was subbing for his teacher yesterday and told the kids I was having a baby): "I was watching you. I thought something was different! Last year you were skinny. This year you're fat." Thank you, buddy! He he!!

--Another dear, special ed girl, who I'd met earlier this school year drew this picture for me yesterday. Nice anatomical details :)
She dropped it off with a thoughtful/confused expression on her face: "Now, Mrs. Burnham, you weren't pregnant last time I saw you...........(very long pause, I shook my head)......... You are pregnant now.............(affirmative, count to 4...5...6...7...).... Weird!" She shook her head and walked out.

Ahhh...I love school :) I love these kids and will really miss them. Gotta soak up the moments. 

And on the other hand, we're getting more and more excited to meet this new little Burnham!!!!