Saturday, August 17, 2013


Large group worship was a very important part of Christina's first two weeks on Hospice care.  Many people had gathered and we had some rich nights of worship.  It was Christina's greatest joy to sing her heart out to the Lord.  Her stamina and capacity far exceeded mine in those days.  She often kept us going with, "Just one more, please."

One of those evenings, Christina's cousin, Chris Newbury taught us a song that was new to us--"Your Presence is Heaven to Me" by Darlene Zschech.  We loved the verses--

Who is like You Lord in all the earth
Matchless love and beauty, endless worth
Nothing in this world will satisfy
Jesus, You're the cup that won't run dry.

Treasure of my heart and of my soul
In my weakness, You are merciful
Redeemer of my past and present wrongs,
Holder of my future days to come.

All my days on earth I will await
The moment that I see You face to face
Nothing in this world will satisfy
'Cause Jesus You're the cup that won't run dry.

Then there is a beautiful chorus--
Your presence is Heaven to me
Your presence is Heaven to me

Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus
Your presence is Heaven to me.

We were a large group, worshiping together.  During the singing of the chorus, I heard a beautiful sound. It was really otherworldly, an amazing blending in with us, with a clarion quality that is almost impossible to describe but I can still hear it in my head.  I was seated next to Christina, and looked at her.  She heard the same thing as did my friend seated on the other side of me.  The only explanation we could think of was that the angels were joining in our worship.  

We had been feeling protected and surrounded by some of God's angelic army.  It makes sense that at such a time as this they would just join in.  Worship is one of the beautiful, consuming parts of heaven.  

Revelation 6:11-12

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.  They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.  In a loud voice they sang;
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, 
to received power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"

Christina had been hearing the name of Jesus echo through heaven and now we were hearing the angels singing the name of Jesus. 

Some weeks later, after Christina had explained her window (see my previous post), she said, "I just want to see the face of Jesus and hear the angels sing."

I assumed that this would all happen as her body quit working and she moved on to heaven.  So I told her, "You will see Jesus' face and hear the angels really soon--when Jesus takes you to heaven.  It won't be long."   (Oh me of little faith.)

A few hours later as I was getting her comfortable for a morning nap she asked, "Who is that beautiful male voice--singing.  It is so deep and rich."

The room was silent.  I said, "There is no one singing.  It is all quiet."

She said, "No, listen.  It's so beautiful."

I finally got it.  "You must be hearing an angel.  You asked for it.  Listen."

She laid back in bed and said, "Listen to those harmonies." 

I said, "There's more than one?"

Christina, "Oh there's so many.  It's so beautiful."

And so we watched her listen to the angels.  She was shining with joy and we were amazed.  After a time, she said it was fading out and she peacefully went to sleep.

Later in the day, her husband Doug asked her if she had seen the face of Jesus.  Her answer.  "Oh yes."

And so, Christina asked to see Jesus and hear angels and all was answered before the day was over.  


  1. Beautiful. His presence IS Heaven right here on earth :) What a privilege it was to be in that place with so many to encounter such wonders.

    Thank you Jesus for being so with us, and showing us that eternity begins here on earth.

    JoDee, I am so blessed by your posts. Thank you for writing so beautifully and bringing Scripture to the place of real life encounters. Glory to God. I love YOU! your lil' sis.

    1. He certainly was making Himself known daily and still is! Eternity for us begins the moment we are transferred into His family. I am so thankful that Jesus is truth. Everything He says is truth and everything He does is truth.

      Thank you for walking this journey with me. I love you.

  2. Isaiah 63:7 especially in The Message this morning brought so many of these moments with Christina to mind. As I list His gracious dealings and all he has done that need praising, all His generous bounties, great goodness, Lavish compassion and Love extravagant... my O my. Thank You Lord!

    Another beautiful story shared, thanks JoDee! I think you & I sang that song 100 times over Christina & with her.. at least it felt like it & so full of wonder & His Very Near Presence!

    1. Nancy, one of your great gifts in those last days is that you memorized that song right away and could lead us in the quietness of Christina's rest times--she loved to hear it and sing it. Absolute truth. Thank you, Nancy.

  3. So beautiful. Words cannot adequately express my amazement and gratitude to you for sharing all of this.

    Thank you. xoxoxoxoxo

    1. I am excited and committed to write about all that I have learned from Christina's beautiful life. I know that at some point I will be done writing this blog but for now, I still have much in my heart. Thanks for your continual encouragement.

  4. How blessed are we? We got Christina's insights in blog form -- and otherwise -- and now we get yours this way, too. Cheers that this earth is not our home.
    "When we allll see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!"
    Loving you from afar, Jo Dee.
    Dina Elizabeth Hovde

    1. Thanks, Dina. And loving you also. I am with you--I am so thankful there is more to look forward to than just this life that we see. I also love that there are many reasons to sing and shout victory even during this life. And you are one of them!
      Much love,
      Jo Dee

  5. The more I listen to this Shane and Shane song, the more I'm reminded of Christina. Reading your post today makes it even more clear...

    "My heart and flesh may fail
    The earth below give way
    But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord"

    1. Okay, that little part that John Piper does in the middle of this song is probably the most powerful thing I've heard in a long time. Thank you so so much for sharing this. My heart is soaring and my eyes have tears. Thank you, Jesus.

      Much love to you,
      Jo Dee

  6. I think of Christina's last weeks on earth every time I hear this song:

    It's especially because of this verse:
    "And on that day when my strength is failing
    The end draws near and my time has come
    Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
    Ten thousand years and then forevermore."

    Thank you for writing, Jo Dee.

  7. Hi Emily--
    Yes, the song 10000 Reasons, Christina loved it. We sang it often in her last weeks and she requested it for her memorial service:)
    And she especially loved the verse you quoted.
    Thanks for checking in, Emily.
    Jo Dee

    1. I remember the night we sang that at her house, and she was SO excited about the last verse. She got off the chair (footstool) she was on, onto her knees with her face shining with joy.

      I now always think of it as "Christina's Song"

    2. Thanks for sharing that memory, Linda. I don't remember her on her knees but i certainly remember the face shining with joy!