I have been listening to a message by Brother Ballestero when he was here this past weekend. He titled it "The Best of Times and The Worst of Times."
One of our dear friends lost his father this past weekend. He had health problems for some time, but all of the sudden, it seemed, he took a turn for the worst and then he was just gone.
Growing older is a funny thing. In one sense, these seem like the best years yet for me. I have a confidence I have never had before, I am more comfortable with who I am than I can ever remember being in all my previous years.
I am looking forward to the future for my little family, looking forward to sharing their grown up years.
But then again...
I see the years each time I look into the mirror, each time I look into my family's faces. I have reached the age where my friends stop losing grandparents and begin to lose parents, spouses and even their children.
So many of the people I look up to have passed away. And I know from reading the Bible myself, it is just like Brother Ballestero said, the end is coming. Oh, it may not be here in the next week or the next year, but it's coming.
And although I long for the day He comes, I often think about everything that we may go through to reach that point. I know it will get worse, but everything is already so bad, just the thought makes my stomach turn.
I also know someday it will be my turn. I look forward to it, but also feel a measure of sadness. Leaving this world behind is nothing to me, leaving my family behind is another story.
I thought of my friend's father, they held back telling him he was dying.
And I thought, oh how I would want to know so that I could say all those things that I, otherwise, might not say.
So, to my family..
When it's my time to go, I know you will grieve. I know there will be sorrow. But I pray there will also be gladness.
Play no sad songs for me. Laugh and tell stories about how silly I could be.
When it's my time to go, if I can't tell you myself, I want you to know that I loved you all so very, very much. I am so blessed that God gave me you.
I am still in love with my husband. I still love to see him after a long day, or night. I still love to have him hold my hand, stroke my face, tell me how much he loves me.
I know I have not always been the best wife I could be, but my love has been true.
And if for some reason I am not there to see my children raise there own children, tell them I loved them even before they were born. Tell them I dreamed about them, about loving them and spoiling them.
And I want my own babies to know there has never been a mother alive who loved her children as much as I love mine. Oh, how I love you both.
I want my brother and sister to know that miles have never separated my heart from them. Years and memories have only made me love them more and more.
I would want my parents to know that I am so proud to be their daughter. I know that among other daughters in the world I am most blessed.
I would tell my Pastor and his wife how much closer I feel to my Lord since I have been under there ministry. And I would want my last Pastor to know that he and his wife gave me the strength that I have now.
These are the best of times and the worst of times. Time that tomorrow is unfolding and time that forever looms before me. Time for holding on and time for letting go. Time to love and time to say goodbye.
Lord, I want to always have my heart ready at all times. I don't know when my appointed hour will be, but I want to keep my garment white, my lamp filled with oil. You have blessed me so very much. May I live each day with thankfulness in my heart. I love you.