As this day, November 19, winds to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank God for someone very special. As we head toward Thanksgiving Day next week, it is a wonderful time to consider all the people God has used to bless your life.
For me, right at the top, is my mother. My mom died 11 years ago today. Her final years saw her ravaged by Alzheimer's disease. Our family had gone overseas to serve with the International Mission Board in 1993. When we returned home on furlough in 1997, we could see how the Alzheimer's was working on her. She still knew us, and we had some wonderful time together during those months in late 1997 and part of 1998 before we returned to the mission field.
God is so gracious. He worked it out that we had returned to the U.S. for a conference in November 1999, well before we would have returned for our next furlough. We got to my dad's home in Bolivar, Missouri on Wednesday, November 17, 1999, and spent time with my mom at the care facility on Thursday. She cried a lot, and was unable to really speak, but somehow, I think she knew who we were. The next morning - November 19 - we got a call at 5:30 AM saying we needed to come, because my mom had taken a turn for the worse. We got there within minutes, and were there in the room with her as she went home to be with the Lord.
Some would say this was a coincidence, that we just happened to be here when my mother passed away. I know it was God's mercy and grace. He is so good. He gave me a mom who loved me, and who taught me the love of Jesus. She lived out the Christian life, and I learned so much about God's love by just watching her life. I can't believe it has already been 11 years, and yet in some ways, it seems like a lifetime since she went to be with the Lord. I will always be grateful to God for His blessing in giving me such a wonderful mom, and for allowing me to be with her on November 19, 1999. Someday, because of Jesus, I'll be with her once again.
Take time to give thanks to God for the ones He has blessed you with.