Tuesday, February 21, 2012

She's Not Here, She Is Risen, Indeed!

What I'm about to write to you....well, I've never put in print before...but have told this to many a person.  Today...I feel I must write.

It was just a month ago that I drove to my hometown of Lowell, Michigan to attend the funeral of my sister-in-law's father.  Everything seemed to be going as expected....
Rolling down my window to find out where the parking attendant wanted me to park my car...."Hey, Don!  Great to see you!" I chatted.  (Always nice to be back in my hometown to see friendly folks that I hadn't seen in a long time.)
Don knew I was part of the family....It was my brother's wife's father who had passed away...."Hey Cris!  How's my girl?"....Now at my age, if anyone wants to call me a girl, I have absolutely no problem with that!  I'd known Don for years.  He was a close friend of my cousin and her husband, and he knew both my brother, Gary and I since we were just little squirts. 
"You going to the cemetery?"
"Sure am, Don."
"Well then, he said pointing to my left, "You just take your place behind this red truck where your brother will be."
This necessitated a U-turn in order to get my car into position.....but as I wheeled around, I was totally unprepared for what happened next.....
There...at the rear of the funeral home....sat the white hearse poised and stationed to carry Connie's father's body to his earthly resting place....And unexpectedly, I came stone cold face to face with the same white hearse that carried my mother's body 16 years prior.  In the flash of a nanosecond, I whirled back to her funeral.  It took all I had to keep myself together.  Fumbling for my keys and purse, I set about to enter the funeral home.  It was as if I were dazed and in shock; fighting back tears.  What had just happened?  Why?
My brother greeted me with his tender,  "Hey Sis, how ya' doing?"
Fighting back a flood of emotion, I choked, "Not too bad - until I saw that white hearse!  Gary, it brought it all back!"
Mom's funeral: April 24rd, 1996  So many people had gathered at her visitation....Business associates dating back 35 years....Townspeople who had known mom since childhood....my personal friends....
And there was that white hearse...Couldn't the funeral home at least bought a different color since '96?  I don't even remember what kind of car we rode in to the cemetery....All I remember is those long two miles to her grave ite....and the back end of that hearse!

Remembering back.....In the Fall of 1995, I had just returned from a three week trip to Germany in August; during which time, my mother-in-law had passed away...."Don't come home", my husband told me.  "Mom wouldn't have wanted you to." 

My mother-in-law, Marg....One who had so faithfully prayed for my salvation. 
Lung cancer was diagnosed in the early part of the year....(She'd never been a smoker, but her deceased husband had.)  I was planning my trip to Germany to visit my birth family and friends.  I asked my husband, "What if your mother passes away while I'm gone."  "Oh, that's not going to happen." he replied nonchalantly.  Probably his own defense mechanism, but in my heart, I wasn't too sure.....One week after I arrived in Germany, I received the phone call that she'd passed into Heaven.
Mom Hull didn't want any one to come visit her after her diagnosis....I never got a chance to tell her how much she meant to me...or say "Good-bye", but I think she knew.

Now, less than a year later, I was burying my mother.....
About two week's after arriving back home from Germany that August, and still not quite recovered from my trip, I received a phone call that my mother had fallen and broken her shoulder.  Her cancer had now spread to her bones.  She not only required physical assistance, but my background in nursing to help with obtaining home medical equipment and care.
On top of all this, my father had also been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer and required immediate surgery.
Life from that point on became a blur.  Hour long trips to Lowell to get mom settled into her "new" hospital bed.  The dining room became her bedroom.
As I wrote in a previous blog, this was when my mom accepted the Lord as her Savior; asking Jesus into her heart....My mother who never "needed" any one's help and would do just fine - alone, thank you very much....until she realized that she needed Jesus.
The looming sense of eternity smacked her full in the face....Where would she spend it?  Jesus came into her "bedroom" that evening in a gentle, tender way that is all His own, to invite my mother to take His hand and as a result, invite Him into her heart....She bent her heart before Him that evening to ask, "Jesus, come into my heart.  I need You."  The promise of a new, heavenly body and eternity in Heaven with Him now rested peacefully in her heart.
The months passed....My dad uncharacteristically slipping away out of the house when I came to care for mom....

We decided to give mom a surprise 75th birthday party in November and invited absolutely everyone we could think of!  It was such a joyous time!  She truly felt like "Queen for a Day".  We could think of no way better to honor her.
By December, neither mom or dad were doing very well, and I was afraid that they would both pass away during this time.  The blessing of having a caretaker in the house 24/7 relieved many a family's mind during this stressful time.  Dad had seen to it that mom had round the clock care since her September fall.
By Christmas, I was praying the Lord would not allow my mom to suffer; asking Him to take her Home before her condition deteriorated to the point of agony for both herself and our family.  During my prayer time, I saw Jesus walking toward my mother and saying simply, "Ida.  It's time to take My hand.  It's time to go Home now."  I felt such peace in my heart.
Comforted by this vision, I shared with mom what the Lord had shown me.  Yet ever the skeptic, she pointedly asked, "How will you know if you're right?"
"Well, mom.  I don't, but if the Lord wants me to know, I'm sure He'll do it somehow."

Wed., April 17th, 1996.  I made the hour drive for my weekly visit.  Our Hospice nurse would be making her rounds, and I wanted to be there.  The minute I went to my mother's bedside, she said, "Cristy, don't leave me."
"I won't, Mom." I assured her.  (I wasn't sure what she was telling me at the time, but it became clear within 24 hours.  A severe head injury from a car crash in 1972 left my mother's communication skills in a challenging state.)

Mom and I had quite the discussion that day.....Looking about her at the pool and spa that lay in the backyard and motioning to the vast expanse of their house, she remarked in the way a person who has seen Heaven would talk, "Cristy.  None of this means anything."...."I know, Mom....I know."......This, coming from the mouth of my mother who had wanted nothing more than to be a self-made millionaire in her life, had acknowledged that NONE of her earthly possessions amounted to a hill of beans.

We never really ever had a family....We had an existence in a house....and the business was always the reason for every disappointment. 

By Thursday morning, my mother announced after her meager breakfast of Jell-O and juice, "I want to say 'Good-bye'"...."You do, Mom?  To whom?"....."Everyone", came her matter of fact reply.
We called the family together.....

Later that Thursday evening in a scene that I shall never forget....my mother in a coma....my father sat reading at her bedside....spending time with my mother....That was the only thing in life she really ever wanted in their almost 50 years of marriage....and now, when it was too late...he sat with her....The agony and tragedy of it all.

That night I lay on the living room couch in the next room....listening as her breathing stopped...and then start again.....
Friday morning, mom's eyes were opened, but she was no longer seeing in this world.
"Mom.  What are you seeing?", I asked her gently.
"I see God.  I see the Lord," she replied.  My mother had never before in her life, ever used the term "the Lord".  I knew what she was seeing was real!
"Is He coming to get you?  Is He holding out His hand to you?"
"Yes." was all she replied.
"Then, Mom....take His hand and go."
Her eyes remained closed....she continued to breathe.....
By the next morning, her nurse's aid had arrived to care for her that day.....
As God is my witness, and Elizabeth (her Tech. who is also a Christian) who stood by, my mother stated in the most robotic voice I have ever heard, "I died.  I died yesterday."  Elizabeth and I just stared at each other at what we'd just heard.
Absolutely incredulous!  Elizabeth continued her care.
At 6:24 pm the next evening, my mother's body died....and the crystal on her best friend's watch broke.
The funeral visitation....the service....and procession to the cemetery....the graveside service....then time to walk away from her grave....Her life on earth was over.

And then the Lord spoke so clearly that I can still hear Him today...."Why do you seek the living among the dead?  She is not here.  She is risen.  She is risen, indeed!"
Oh....blessed assurance.  Thank You, Jesus!
"So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory."  "O Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory."  I Cor. 15:54-55

"Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!'"  Luke 24:1-6

"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."  John 11:26

"I am He who lives and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."  Revelation 1:18

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Ever yours in Christ,


  1. Crista, your story is touching in a way that will bring comfort and ease to those who are in a place of facing such a loss. It is a memory to be cherished. 16 yrs ago today-- February 21, 1996, I got a call from my Dad, for my birthday, so he could tell me that he had just asked Jesus into his heart. He went home to be with the Lord just over a month later on March 26th. Linda Guinn

    1. Dear Linda,
      The poignancy of your reply has left me in tears...There are no words to describe an experience such as you had. Thank the Lord for His mercy, compassion and grace upon your father's heart...and your assurance of your father's presence in Heaven. Such a treasured gift from the Lord. I'm not sure about you, but sometimes my grief still surfaces out of nowhere...And this Christmas, when I missed my mother so very much...all sparked by setting the table with "her" placemats...the Lord ministered to my heart..."Crista, she is in Heaven, because you helped lead her to Me."
      I'm sure you hear your father's phone call to you every birthday since.
      May you be comforted by His grace.
      Love always,

  2. This was such a wonderful and transparent post Crista. God is so faithful in all things, even in death. Welcoming the one dying and comforting those of us still here. What an awesome God we serve.

    1. He is truly beyond our human understanding, isn't He, Saundra. Yes...Amen...He IS Our Awesome God; too much for my human mind, but so very thankful in my heart for Who He is. God bless you, Saundra for your kind words.


Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)