Ten years ago I lost my mother to colon cancer. She fought a courageous battle for 11 ½ months before her body just couldn’t go on. I remember the day she called me to tell me. I was sitting on my couch, the phone rang and my step father started saying “they found something.” I would say what and all he could say was the same thing over and over. I finally said put mom on the phone and she told me. “They found a tumor.” I became very as a matter of fact. It’s ok, I said. We will beat this, I said. Not to worry, I said. And then we hung up and I flung the phone across the room and began to shake. I sat there for what seemed like hours before I could pull my cried out self together. That day I began to pray. I began to pray for what I wanted. My prayers were more of a begging, a pleading of sorts rather than a prayer. I didn’t pray for what would bring God glory. I didn’t care what would bring Him glory. I prayed for Him to spare my mother’s life. Those 11 months were the fastest 11 months of my life. She called me June 2000 and told me to come home. I knew what she was saying. I left immediately and got home just a few short hours before she slipped into a coma. Our preacher was there and as I sat by her bedside and he on the other side, I asked my mother if she had any questions. She nodded her head no. The preacher took her hands and prayed with her. I sat there in awe. Really??? No questions, at all???? None. Nada. All I could think is if all that “stuff” in the bible is real and you are about to die and go to heaven, how could you NOT have questions???? She didn’t have a one.
That night dragged on and on. Her body continued to give way. Her breathing became incredibly labored. If you have ever been with someone as they pass from this life to the next, it is every bit of painful, heartbreaking, and down right amazing. Throughout the night I had gone from lying in a twin bed beside her to sitting by her side caressing her hand.
The next part gets a little skeptical but I tell you without hesitation, it is the truth. Nothing less. As I lay there watching my mother in the dimly lit room, I felt a warmth pass over my body as if someone had just momentarily placed an electric blanket on me. And just as quickly as it was laid on me, it passed over me. I looked up at my step father and said “she’s gone, isn’t she?” My mother had passed away around 3am. And without any doubt in my mind, her spirit passed right through me as it left her body.
I tell you these things because this morning at church our preacher spoke about the Resurrection. He told of all the theories. The “swoon” theory; that maybe Jesus just fainted on the cross but wasn’t really dead. The “theft” theory; that the disciples wanted so badly to keep this good thing going so they stole his body during the night. The “hallucination” theory; that each person that saw Jesus that day had only hallucinated. Each of these theories have been researched and dispelled. Today when I was sitting in church listening to the preacher talk about all this, the Holy Spirit reminded me of my mother and her passing. The Holy Spirit reminded me that I have had a first hand account of what it is like when the spirit doesn’t need the body anymore. When my mother’s scarred, cancer ridden, broken down, tattered, worn out body was left here on earth and her spirit ascended to heaven. I know. I was there. I felt it.
My spirituality, as I used to call it, has taken the long way to get to where I am today. But for me, that’s what it took. I needed to know it was real. I needed to know what I was believing was solid. Today my faith, what I call it now, is unshakable. I know if I were to be on death’s bed tonight, I wouldn’t have any questions either. Not one. None. Nada.
Our preacher also said today, that if anyone was visiting and thinking about coming back next week to see if he would preach on something different, he wouldn't. He might give it a different title. He might pick a different scripture. But Jesus is the only story he has to tell. It's all he's got. And I totally get it.