Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Preaching. Planning. Praying.

I often wonder who I am at my very core!  Don't you?

What would we say or do if we weren't able to keep our "Polite 'n Proper Mask" tightly fitted?

My grandmother didn't accept Christ as Savior until her late thirties.  By that time, Grandma Miller had lived a lot of life; not all of it pristine!  She had been one saucy lady!

But she came to love Jesus even more passionately and set a new course for her descendants.  (One of which was me.)

In her later years, Alzheimer's began to steal the Grandma we knew.   Her behavior changed; especially toward my mom.  Caring for Grandma became a ministry of sheer love and determination that my mom, an only child, gave gladly.

One funny moment we all remember took place when Frank, the girls and I came home for a visit from NC.

Grandma always called Frank "Jeff" because that was the name of the last boyfriend she could recall.  (Mine, not hers.)  Frank would graciously respond and never took offense.  After all he got the girl, not Jeff!

The morning after we arrived for our visit, Frank met Grandma coming toward him in the hallway and she reached up to pat his face.  He stopped to let the precious, wrinkled and pillowy hands embrace his cheeks.  "Good morning, Grandma."

She looked into his eyes, gave a warm smile and tenderly crooned, "Jeff, you are the sweetest little Son of a Gun I ever saw!"  (Except she didn't say Gun!)

Yep, that would be MY grandma without her "Polite 'n Proper Mask."

Fortunately, we had all grown up hearing Grandma talk candidly to Jesus.  We had seen her acts of kindness.  We had observed her as she chose to forgive others.  We witnessed her generosity.  We knew Grandma - and that wasn't really her!

When my friend, Lisa, sat with Hospice two weeks ago she faced the question on behalf of her husband. 

"Your husband has tumors on his brain," the nurse said.  "As he nears the end, you should expect that he will likely say things you aren't accustomed to hearing.  Just remember it's not him, it's the illness causing him to talk like that."

Brent has pastored for many years!  Talking was part of what he did for a living!  He was known as an encourager of anyone he came into contact with!  Words!  Powerful Words!  Intentional Words!

Lisa said she knew that Brent would be mortified if his final words were hurtful or inappropriate!

The last night before Brent was moved to the Hospice facility, the pain became intolerable.  Lisa requested a nurse come to their home.

With the nurse's help, they finally got the pain to a more manageable level.  And then Lisa said an amazing thing happened.

Brent's core took over! 

He started preaching.  He preached for several minutes to what must have been a crowd of angels. 

Then he abruptly switched to planning.

Lisa said she listened to his one-sided conversation as he gave directions, "Yes, we need to take care of that right away.  Let's get moving on it now.  Great!  I can see about that tomorrow."  And on it went.

Next, he began to pray.  His prayer covered many things.  He talked with God just as he had almost all his life.

Suddenly he went back to preaching.  Then planning.  Then praying.  The cycle continued for some time.

At one point the nurse interrupted, "Brent!  Are you aware that it's one in the morning?!" 

Lisa said Brent stopped mid-sentence, looked up at the nurse and said, "You have lovely eyebrows!  Doesn't she, Lisa?  Look at her eyebrows!"

Preaching.  Planning.  Praying.  Encouraging.

Brent's final words were too personal to share on a public platform such as this.  But let me assure you, they brought tears to our eyes as Lisa relayed them to us.

Preaching.  Planning.  Praying.  Encouraging.

Brent Page finished as he lived!  What a testimony!

2 comments:

  1. Surely, a blessing from God for both Lisa and Brent - always protecting His beloved children. Neither Brent nor Lisa will have an embarrassing moment to remember. Yes, Sheri, what a testimony!

    I did not come to know Christ until I was 28. Like your Grandma, life was different before and, for me, a 180 after...in a matter of 5 or less minutes. I literally felt the burden of sin lifted and from behind closed eyes I saw how bright the room was.

    Do I flub it ever? Yes, during extreme stress/exhaustion...or attempting to pull 3 inch nails out of something I just nailed them into so it's often directed at me. I have to bring myself before the Lord feeling shameful...so not enjoyable.

    It ALWAYS amazes me that He forgives and then allows me to stand up, move forward and keep going. Really, if not for His love for me, I should've been squashed into a grease spot on the floor sometimes. Amazing love.

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