Last week, I went to visit my dear friend whose mom was in hospice. After a battle with cancer, her mother had been unresponsive for the past couple of days, so it was only a matter of time until she went home with Jesus, which she did two days later.
I talked about this in this week’s podcast, as well as shared my thoughts on Why Bad Things Happen. You can take a listen HERE.
I had never been in hospice before that day and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, when I entered the doors, I immediately knew it was a special place. The facility was beautiful, quiet, and homey. Her room was large and had a fireplace and a sitting room, encouraging visitors to come and stay awhile. There were extra beds so the family could stay close all hours of the day. It was truly a lovely setting to spend your final moments on this earth and the staff was helpful, respectful and endlessly kind and understanding.
But, despite how lovely this place was, my heart still broke for my dear friend. I felt the sadness rise up in my heart as I contemplated her reality that week. No one should have to have conversations with nurses on how to keep your mother comfortable during her last days. No one should find herself holding her breath each moment as she waits for her loved one to breathe her last. For those of you who have had a family member enter hospice, you know all too well how difficult it can be.
As I waited in the hallway while my friend finished consulting with a nurse, I silently prayed and asked God to give me the words my friend needed to hear.
And true to the advice given in the Straight From The Heart About Overcoming podcast series I just finished, no words were needed. I greeted my friend with a hug and we just held each other and cried.
Because what can be said in that moment? No words can capture the depth of my love and sadness and certainly no cliché sentiment is going to heal her pain. And so we sat. And she talked about her love for her mom and some of the things her mom loved.
She shared about how they’d gathered together as a family at my friend’s home last week and put up and decorated the Christmas tree to surprise her mom because her mom loved Christmas so much. Her mom oohed and ahhed at the beautiful ornaments – some of which she’d given to my friend. They shared a beautiful day all together.
My friend shared how her mom used to sing over her as she grew up and how my friend was now singing over her mom, despite not being the “singer” in the family. It reminded me of my favorite verse in the Bible: Zephaniah 3:17 – “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
When we’re facing the darkest moments in our lives, God is with us. He is might to save. Some versions say he fights on our behalf. That sickness, that pain, that death. He fights all of it and rescues us from it.
All the while He delights. I saw this reflected in my friend as she delighted in her mom. She spoke lovingly of memories and characteristics that clearly revealed how “delighted in” her mom was by my friend and many others.
Zephaniah also promises that God will quiet us with his love. The racing thoughts, the worry and fear – all the noise in our lives and in our minds, He quiets with his love. Not with his rebuke or his disapproval. He quiets us with His love.
Because when we know how deeply loved we are by Him, those loud shouts of doubt, fear, discouragement, and pain diminish. We are swept up into his arms and his love speaks “hush” to our worry…..and we become quiet, safe, content.
Last week I was at a women’s event where the speaker gave each us of a card of Jesus holding a baby lamb. Jesus is lovingly, securely, calmly holding the lamb tight to his chest, right by his heart. The nail mark is evident in his hand, showing the true depth of his great love. But, his face is one of pure delight in the lamb.
And the look on the lamb’s face is one of 100% contentment. Safe, secure, warm, loved. Delighted in and quieted in love. No squirming or fighting to get free. There’s no other place the lamb would like to be but right there, held close to Jesus.
We are a picture of the lamb. The lamb is us. But are we snuggled close or are we off trying to survive the cold, bitter world on our own? Are we quieted and content or railing our fists? Do we know that we’re delighted in and rejoiced over in song?
My prayer is that we would. My hope is that you and I would live each day knowing God is with us, fighting for us, saving us, delighting in us, quieting us and singing over us. And that knowing that – how dearly loved we are – would carry us into each situation with strength, hope, peace and contentment.
Be a little lamb, my friends. Live loved….because you are.