With Hope

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It has been a crazy few weeks since my last blog post. We were home one week with Marcela from Colombia and my mother passed away. I preached her funeral the next week and have honestly been so covered up emotionally and otherwise it has been difficult to order my thoughts for blogging. We had so hoped that Marcela could be home in time to meet her grandmother. My mother had been seriously ill for three months before her death. There was one point while I was in Colombia when we thought she might not make it and pass away before I got home. By the time Julie made it home with Marcela my mother was just too far gone for a meeting with her newest grandchild.

I won’t unpack on this blog what all my mother meant to me. Maybe another time. I did much of this during the funeral and the events immediately surrounding it. But I will tell you that my mom was an amazing woman and that so much of who I am came from her. In her death I have reflected on various thoughts related to life and death and I offer those here…

1. Life is filled with good, bad, and ugly. The beauty of adoption followed by the bitterness of death make for strange bedfellows. I have found myself lying in bed at night lately thinking and processing this paradox.

2. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. No one…not even a Christian…is immune from the “injustices” of this world. A better story would have been that Marcela came home, made it to the side of her grandmother’s bed just in time to receive and give hugs and kisses. To be gifted a word of wisdom from her new grandmother. To see one more smile on Mom’s face generated by the presence of her new grandchild. And then Mom would have gone to heaven. Wouldn’t that have been a great story? But that wasn’t our story. My mom suffered. She was in agony the final days of her life. A meeting was not possible. It was not a pretty ending….

3. God has a way of turning ugly endings into beautiful beginnings. I was in the room when Mom left us to go join Jesus in Paradise. Her agony ceased and a gentleness over took her body. It was the first time in weeks I had seen Mom’s body at rest. Of course her spirit was no longer present, but there was healing for us all in that moment. When I got home from the hospital we explained to Marcela that her grandmother had died. And you know what she did? She cried. That’s right, a granddaughter cried for her grandmother whom she had never met. How does that happen? Where does such a connection come from other than God? At the visitation the night before the funeral, Edward’s funeral home set up a beautiful portrait of Mom. When Marcela came into the room, she walked up to the portrait and just started kissing it all over. Amazing.

4. We mourn with hope. Christians are not immune from the rain, but because we are Christians, we mourn with hope. Our faith informs us that in Christ there is never such a thing as “good-bye,” only “see you later.” So the gut honest truth is that while it hurts right now, joy comes in the morning. The story is not over. There will come a day…a glorious day…when I will have the privilege of walking my new daughter up to her grandmother and saying the words I long to say, “Hey Mom, meet Marcela!” Then I will just get out of the way as the hugs and kisses “rain” down.

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3 responses to “With Hope”

  1. Kristen Rodgers says :

    Jeff, your story of welcoming your new child into the world while saying goodbye to your suffering parent resonates so much with me. As you know, this is my same story. Also agree that it would have made a nice story to say that my Dad was able to see his Grandson before he died (on the same night Korben was born), but this was not the way it happened.

    I have been praying whole-heartedly for you through this process. I can not wait to get to visit with your amazing Mom in Heaven! So thankful for the Eternal Hope we have. Praying for Marcela as God is speaking to her in so many ways.

    Love you and your family. Thankful for the example you all live.

    Kristen Rodgers

  2. proactiveoutside1 says :

    I’m sorry for your loss, man. It’s not easy losing a family member, especially like that. I’m glad that you have seen signs of hope in this, and I’m stoked that your family is starting a new chapter of your story in your adopted daughter!

  3. Tina says :

    We are still praying for your family. You and your brothers and sister showed just how much you loved her throughout the service. Your message was filled with so much Love and Hope. We all left with a huge Blessing. Your special Mom raised special children.

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