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The reality and process of death and grief is one of stark contrast to the hope of eternal life; however, it does cause us to look at this life and its limitations. In June of 2017 my sister Lindy died suddenly of an apparent pulmonary embolism/heart attack. The shock of her passing was swallowed up by the immediate need of caring for our 91-year-old mother, who was bed ridden and crippled with dementia.

My sister had been the main and, most often, sole caregiver. With her passing, the burden of our mother’s care became an overwhelming difficulty. In September my mother passed after surrendering her life and control to the Lord Jesus. She passed peaceably in her sleep with my sister Donna and nieces at her side.

The angels were not finished escorting our loved ones to heaven, and on the 48th anniversary of our marriage, January 17, 2018, my beloved husband, Tom, quietly left this world to walk into the celebration and welcoming arms of our Lord.

So, you can see these 7 months of harvesting has left me with a drastic transition from care giver of 20 years, to one learning to self-care. That is a misnomer for a Christian. The truth is I am learning a deeper dependence on our Lord. As He has promised to be the ‘husband to the widow’, He has more than filled the need of provider and protector. As I learn to walk in the presence and utter dependence on Him, I find He is also the one who brings completion and intimate connection. But as the little child once said in the middle of a violent storm, “Mommy, I know Jesus is with me, but sometime you need Jesus with skin on.” Dear friends, neighbors, and sisters and brothers in Christ have been sent and called when it was most needed. Thank you, Jesus, as Your word continues to prove true, ‘they will know you by your love for one another.’

This month I turned 70 years old. Seven decades of living with much of it fading in my memory. What stands out? Sweet times, hard times, painful times, and joyous times, with all fitting into a greater picture of His purposes. Whether it was victory or defeat, righteousness or sin, God has a way of weaving it all into the new creation He has made, and as I learn to respond to each according to His direction and will He receives glory and brings about the molding of Christ’s character in His frail and weak child.

What am I learning (because we are always learning)? That I am not the source or supply, Jesus is! When I trust Him, He does what only He can do …bring light and life into darkness and death. When I lean on my own understanding and walk in my power hoping He will bless it ‘cause it is the right thing’---pride or condemnation, but always failure or as the word says, we ‘fall short of the glory of God’. What is that glory? The glory of God is the reflection of God as seen in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, and is broadcast in and through His children by the Holy Spirit to a dying world.

By Jo Ann Buckley, President/Director of Hope In Christ Ministries, Inc.

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