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Since my “How to Write a Eulogy for a Bad Mom” article continues to be one of my most-read articles ever, I can only assume that this topic is a hot one. It is also, I would guess, a painful one for many of us who are not buying Mother’s Day cards this year because we are missing our moms (both “good” and “bad” moms and aren’t all moms both? just in different ways? I know I am!).
I actually had the most realistic dream about my mother recently. It was so sweet. We were just talking like normal, like we used to do pretty much every day. And then I woke up. And in that “just awake” fog, I had a few more moments of only feeling the happiness of another opportunity to see her and talk with her and hear her gravel-y, lifetime-smoker-y voice again. Then, POOF! I was fully conscious and I had to tell myself again, “She’s really gone.” What a drag. What an enemy death is.
And for many of us? What a surprise death is. A young mother is driving to the store on an average day and then she is gone. Her husband and children never even had the opportunity to say goodbye. It happens. It’s awful. But it happens. A teenager? Gone. A single person who hadn’t yet made the u-turn back to appreciating and valuing his parents? In a moment—gone. A healthy dad dies suddenly from undiagnosed heart disease. Were his estate papers in order? Does his wife know where their assets are? What debts they owe? Is there sufficient insurance in place so that their children don’t lose both mom (to necessary full-time work outside of the home) and dad in that horrible moment?
Beyond the “easy” stuff of guardianship and financial distribution, have you taken the time to write down your testimony for your children? (“Last Will and Testament“)? You probably talk about the Lord every day with your family, but have you given them a tangible, written summary “that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact” to hold onto if you were to die suddenly? What a gift that would be, don’t you think?
(By the way—if that financial/estate stuff doesn’t feel easy to you—like how cooking doesn’t feel easy to me!—my “Actually Setting Your House in Order” category of blogs might be a helpful introduction for you or encouragement for you to tackle your fears and do the work and get your house in order. My “Basic Estate Planning” article might be a good place to start.)
You might also want to think through your funeral a bit. My friend Nancy Guthrie wrote a compelling piece on that topic yesterday and that’s what prompted me to write this post:
Oh, man. How right she is!
This life is but a breath. Eternity is very long. I join in Nancy in asking that my funeral be about the One Who holds eternity in His hands! Fred and I tried to have that focus at our wedding. Even the inscription on the inside of our wedding bands points to the most important thing:
“…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” Isaiah 62:5
Of course Christ was the focus of my membership vows and First Communion as a teenager. I trust Christ was rightfully and beautifully proclaimed at my baptism. And I pray He is lifted up every day since then. Every major life event. Every mundane, eternally-important life event in-between.
For He indeed is radiant!
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:3
Amen & Amen! And Happy Easter Week Indeed.
Gospel Coalition LiveBlog #6: Kathleen Nielson, Carrie Sandom, Jenny Salt – Celebrating! A Moment of Joy in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11-12)
Gospel Coalition LiveBlog #7: Don Carson – Leaning Forward in the Dark: A Failed Reformation (Nehemiah 13)
If ministry can be accomplished alone it lacks biblical value; if it is not fun it misses biblical perspective.
Some of Dave’s best writing to date over at our Redeeming Church Conflicts blog:
This is dedicated to my new friends. Especially my new pastor friends. You know who you are. I couldn’t help but think of you as I read these words from (my spiritual father and dear friend), Dave Edling:
“Pastor Bob’s experience was never a lack of those seeking to share neither ministry with him or a lack of friends because he had the vision to have fun with his many friends as they undertook something bigger than any one of them could accomplish alone. Vision casting does that. If ministry can be accomplished alone it lacks biblical value; if it is not fun, it misses biblical perspective.“