Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
I Peter 3:3-4
Destination…Spain! On that beautiful day in July 1992, my emotions were all over the map. Our children, ages 17 and 19, were already “seasoned” travelers. This was my first trip abroad. To say that I was excited would be a gross understatement, but I would be less than honest if I didn’t acknowledge the tears that were shed at the airport when I said goodbye to my husband. He couldn’t go with us! To this day, I often ponder what would have been different had I known what I would face in the weeks ahead. For one thing, I would never have boarded that plane. But I did board that plane. I had a wonderful time in Spain (okay, except for the accommodations when we first arrived, but that’s another story), and I came home to get an education in MAJOR jetlag (oh, my goodness!).
To say that the Lord works in mysterious ways, and that He is in control of every situation would be another understatement. My mother’s surgery had been scheduled smack in the middle of that trip to Spain. She thought that was absolutely fine. It wasn’t fine! No one was going to operate on my mother, however “routine” the surgery might be, without me front and center. Besides, she was going to need me when she came home and started physical therapy. Being the shy and retiring person that I am, I called the doctor myself (I knew Mom would die before she would make that call) and got the surgery rescheduled. Now I could leave for Spain with peace of mind.
On Friday, July 31, the day of the surgery, we made a quick call to my sister to wish her a happy birthday before we headed out the door to the hospital. The surgery went great. The days that followed were relatively uneventful. Mom was making good progress with her new knee. We were on a high when we said goodnight
to her on Tuesday, August 4, but when we walked into her hospital room at 1:00 the next day, the situation was dramatically different. She was feverish…her breathing was shallow…she had difficulty speaking. We were concerned, and we expressed that concern to one of the nurses. She assured us that Mom was simply anxious over the difficulty of her physical therapy. Everything would be fine. On Thursday, August 6 (shortly after 10:00 a.m.), Mom was ushered into the presence of her Savior. How could this have happened? We were supposed to bring her home the very next day, but instead, we were making funeral arrangements. Our hearts were broken. We didn’t understand, but through it all one thing was certain—this was God’s divine plan. Although we didn’t understand, we knew that He doesn’t make mistakes.
The next few days were like they would be for anyone going through the loss of a loved one. We were walking in a fog, notifying friends and family members, making funeral arrangements, but not really grasping the reality of what had just happened. Then we experienced something that will remain with us for the rest of our lives at our Sunday evening church service. Our pastor asked for testimonies. That is a routine part of pretty much every Sunday evening service at our church, but what happened next was anything but routine. We sat there in utter amazement as one person after another testified of the impact our mother’s testimony had had on their lives. Make no mistake, we knew how much our mother loved the Lord, but she had been a quiet, unassuming
woman. She had been anything but high profile. She was a wonderful pastor’s wife. She lived a testimony above reproach behind the closed doors of our home, but had never “blown her own horn.” If we had been asked to select a passage of scripture that best described her it would have been, without a doubt, 1 Peter 3:3, 4. An hour into testimony time (yes, AN HOUR), when our pastor had to stop the testimonies midstream, promising to continue them the next Sunday evening, a wonderful reality washed over us. Our mother didn’t need to be famous—she was faithful. She didn’t need to be the life of the party—she was faithful. She was faithful and others saw her faithfulness. We saw her faithfulness 24/7, but it never occurred to us how much others were watching her and the influence she was having on their lives.
When our Savior takes us home to be with Him, what will our friends and loved ones remember about us? Will it be our dynamic personality, how talented we were, or what a beautifully decorated home we had? Or will they look back with thankfulness for the example we set before them? Oh that we would choose the “good part,” that we might sit at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42).
Written by Jan Puckett. This article was published in the Spring 2010 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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