Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
My wife’s mother passed away early on Monday morning one week ago. It began a long week of making arrangements, gathering family, sharing memories, and wrestling with the loss of one who was dearly loved and who dearly loved us. She was a very special woman with a huge heart that was evident in her life.
I had the privilege of delivering the eulogy at her service on Friday and singing “Because He Lives” with our daughter – Grana’s first grandchild. It was, to put it mildly, an emotional day. The grief was only tempered by the hope that we have that she is now with Jesus experiencing all-surpassing joy.
Carole left a legacy of faith and faithfulness. She lived in such a way as to set the pace for her children and grandchildren. As we continue to process the loss, I also want to remember the life-lessons she taught us all.
Carole worked in the nursery’s in two churches for over 50 years. She has rocked generations of babies, giving parents a sense of security as they left their little ones in her arms. When she was caring for little children, she was in her sweet spot. She modeled the heart of Jesus who said, “Let the little children come to me“ (Matthew 19:14). She saw just how precious every child was and loved them with such a genuine love that each child felt secure in her arms.
Love the Church.
The church was not just a place to attend for Carole; it was a place to belong. She invested herself in the life of the church. She supported it with her presence, her prayers, her service, and her heart. She raised her family in the church and was able to see them raise their families in the church. She could agree with the Apostle John who wrote: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)
Love Your Family.
Carole had not greater joy that to spend time with her family. Her home was always open and welcoming. She loved it when family gathered for holidays or birthdays. Whether it was putting together a puzzle, watching the Braves, or going shopping, it was always better with family. In never felt like a son-in-law, because in Carole’s eyes I was family. And as the grandchildren became adults with their own lives and eventually their own spouses, she found such joy in just listening to them tell her every detail of their ever-changing lives. Her love was limitless, and she showed it in countless ways.
Carole came to Christ at an early age. She had faithful parents who loved the Lord and taught and modeled for her what it meant to love Jesus. She sought teach and model the same for her children. Hers was a deep and genuine faith that guided her through life, and her love for Jesus was expressed in quiet humility and faithful service. She never sought attention. She put the needs of others ahead of herself. She was a source of love and comfort to so many, because she had experienced the love and comfort of Jesus. And now she is able to both give to Jesus and receive from Jesus a love without limits.
The loss of Carole is bittersweet at the moment, but I know for her family the bitterness of the loss will be lessened by the sweetness of the memories that only increases. The hope of eternal life for her and all who trust in Jesus sustains us, as it has so many who have experienced such loss. With the memories we also have a legacy, and may we both cherish those memories and continue that legacy of faith and faithfulness.