In the first few weeks of May, Christina began to talk about a trip she was preparing for. This is a very common theme for dying patients.
She was in the bathroom brushing her teeth and matter-of-factly told me, “I don’t know quite where I’m going on this trip, but I’m really excited about it.” A little while later while getting into bed she said she was getting ready to go on a special trip. A really fun one. And really adventurous. I told her she was going on this trip with Jesus because He wants you with him. She said, “That sounds fun. It gets to be our special place.”
Just a short time later, she said she no longer feels burdened by the future journeys of those she loves. She had written letters, relentlessly prayed for those she loved, shared her heart with anyone who would listen, and now her eyes were turning to Jesus alone. This world was fading quickly and heaven was becoming her absolute reality.
In the middle of all this transition, Christina had many bouts with pain that needed to be dealt with. It’s in a Mom’s heart to panic at times like that—but God taught me something very, very important. All of the difficulties with pain or confusion fit under the classification of “momentary, light affliction.” Jesus told me to remember that in a short time Christina would have no more pain and no more suffering and she would be enjoying the eternal weight of glory that her trials were achieving.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
And He showed me that having to watch her and walk with her during these times was my light and momentary trouble. I wondered how much time I had spent trying to avoid pain and trouble in this life. This was beginning to feel like an unworthy goal for our time on earth.
As Christina experienced discomfort, God began to give me a calmness that I cannot explain. I believe now it was part of my training for living without Christina.
When I feel the tears and pain of missing her, I cry and miss her—and I know that this is part of my light and momentary trouble. I hug it all close and feel it to the fullest—and it passes. It passes because of the greater power of God’s peace, His truth, His purpose and His great love.
As often as Christina experienced pain, God brought complete relief. It always amazed me that she could move from great discomfort to these kinds of statements—“I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my whole life.” “I love the way I’m going out—with fun and peace”. (Picture a little fist pump in the air.) “This is fun and exciting.”
“God is making this all so amazing, like almost laughably amazing!”
“Everything is perfect and so comfortable.”
In talking about her upcoming trip she said, “I’m tickled. It’s perfect.”
During this transition, her house stopped being familiar to her. It was as if she was staying in a temporary lodging of some sort. She often commented on what a perfect place it was to stay.
Her prayer times were full of thanksgiving—particularly about the joy we were feeling. She prayed that others would know that it was not fake and that it was a generous gift of God—nothing we deserved or had figured out.
A few days later, I asked her about her upcoming trip. She said, “I think I’m already on it and I’m very settled.” We talked about how God had declared over and over again that her journey to Him would be perfect. Hard but perfect.
One of our first indications that her spirit was moving to a new realm was when she asked us, “Don’t you just love the way the Name of Jesus echoes around this place?” We told her she must be hearing heaven because we were not hearing the same thing.
From then on, Christina’s heavenly focus began to pull back a very thin curtain that separates this life from the eternal realm of God’s glory that is all around us. The spiritual world is mostly unseen to us but Christina experienced parts of it while still walking on this earth and talked about it as if we could all see and hear it along with her.
So…in my next posts, I will tell you about the window, the angels, and the dock.