“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5)
“My mother passed this morning,” Vernesha said sorrowfully. It was 7:30 am Sunday, July 10.
“Oh my gosh,” I gasped. “I’m so sorry.” “I know. I’ll be in touch to give you the details about the services later this week OK? “OK,” I replied.
Tears spilled down my face.
My spiritual mother Dorothy was gone.
On Friday, just two days before, I rushed to see her after learning she had slipped into a coma after suffering a stroke earlier in the week. During my visit, I talked to her, sung to her with her grandchildren, and held her hand. She responded to my voice, but she couldn’t open her eyes or speak. I trust she knew I was there, because I had prayed that she would. After visiting with her and her family for about 3 hours, I planted a kiss goodbye on her forehead and headed home.
Deep down I knew this would probably be the last time I’d see Dorothy. And I was right.
Gift from God
Dorothy had been a tremendous blessing to me since the day I met her in church. She came into my life when I was in the midst of tumultuous family issues that left me longing — even desperate — to talk to someone who could relate to what I was going through. (She was an answer to my prayers.) Dorothy sensed I was going through great difficulty based on a few conversations we had, so she gave me her phone number one evening at church and said, “If you ever need to talk, don’t hesitate to call me.” I took her up on her offer. That was 13 years ago. And we were in touch ever since — talking, laughing, and praying together. We sent each other Christmas, birthday and Mothers’ Day cards and called each other often. So many times I’d called her sobbing, wanting to give up. And she was always there for me with a listening ear. “Stay encouraged,” she always said. “Pray and never give up.” Every morning at 5 am Dorothy got up to pray for her family and friends. And she suggested I do the same. “I’ve seen God move in awesome ways,” she’d say. “There’s power in prayer.”
Power indeed. Dorothy was a prayer warrior. She prayed faithfully for several people each day. “I call the names of all of your family members every day,” she’d say. “Your husband, son, your brother and his family. Your mother and father. I pray for them continuously. Oh yes.”
Dorothy firmly believed and lived according to Titus 2:4-5. She taught the younger women how to love their husbands and families and use godly wisdom. Often, she gave me wise advice concerning my husband and family; wise counsel that to this day is probably responsible for my family remaining intact.
My spiritual mother’s homegoing service was beautiful. Her family and I couldn’t have asked for anything more wonderful. The Pastors and many who served in ministry with her said very loving things about her. The Senior Pastor preached a powerful sermon that uplifted our sorrowful hearts. He preached about how Dorothy “fought the good fight of faith”; he talked about the resurrection and that we’d see her again, and that she was now in glory in the presence of the Heavenly Father. After the sermon, I felt so much peace. That’s the awesome power of our Lord. In the midst of great sorrow and despair, He’s able to bring peace to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t you just love that about God? “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) These are comforting words from a Lord who loves us and looks forward to dwelling with us forever.
I love you, and I miss you. But I’m at peace knowing you’re with the Lord, and I’ll see you again. You were wonderful to me. You loved me and treated me like a daughter, and I loved and honored you as a mother. I’ll miss your voice, our phone conversations, and our prayer times. You’ll always be in my thoughts, and you will hold a special place in my heart.
Love Your Spiritual Daughter,