Saturday, July 23, 2011

Losing My Spiritual Mother


“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.

 Incredible Homegoing
       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.

Dear Dorothy,

I love you, and I miss you. But I’m at peace knowing you’re with the Lord, and Ill 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,
Judy


** This post is linked to Brag on God Fridays here.
** This post is also linked to Spiritual Sundays here.

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful Judy. Written straight from the heart.
    Mary D

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  2. How wonderful to have been so blessed with such a remarkable traveling companion through life. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  3. Hi Judith -

    This piece tugged at my heart strings and soothingly ministered to my spirit.

    Thank you for sharing about this loving godly prayer warrior for our great GOD.

    Revelation 14:13 - KJV
    And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

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  4. This is a beautiful post and tribute to a wonderful woman. Thank you so much for this post and reminder that I too have been blessed with strong spiritual women in my life.

    I too am sorry for your loss, but I know you will be celebrating her life!
    Blessings,
    Misty

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  5. Sorry to hear of your lost Judy but such a beautiful legacy she leaves behind. Blessings.

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  6. What a beautiful tribute to your precious friend. You were so blessed to have her in your life and now I know you look forward to the reunion in the future.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  7. Your tribute made me want to reach out and give blessings to those who have been spiritual mothers to me.

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  8. What a blessing she must have been. And talk about leaving a wonderful spiritual legacy! We've had a few such women in our lives and been so blessed and enriched by their love, their time, and their counsel. Thank you for sharing your sweet family memories with this dear sister in Christ. I'm looking forward to meeting her someday in heaven! :)

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  9. What a beautiful story. You will miss her but what a legacy she left behind. She taught you well. Thanks for sharing

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  10. Hello,

    I have visited your blog and enjoyed it very much. It has a great inspiration.

    Would you like to visit my weblog which I created in Nov 2010?

    My husband and I are Iranian and live in the UK. We love Jesus and our weblog is mostly about our Lord. Since we are Iranian we have added some Persian articles to the weblog, but you can read and watch English ones.

    Our weblog is http://creation-to-eternity.blogspot.com

    God Bless,

    Afsoon

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  11. Dear Judy I've been trying to write this simple note to you all day just to say thank you for checking loving and caring sharing a computer with a teenager laughing and loving right along with you through the tears so thankful for a blog yes i am better now and so appreciate your love through your pages. Painting working and worshiping through the tears but mostly the joy which comes from our Lord.
    Blessings Love and Joy to you please keep it sweeet.

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  12. While I am thankful for Dorothy's influence on your life, I am sorry you lost her. May God comfort and bless you, and may you continue to be blessed by her life.

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  13. This is a wonderful tribute to my grandmother. She truly was a wise, faithful, virtuous, and selfless woman. What I remember most is how she insisted on comforting and praying for so many even in her darkest hours. There would be times when I would call her and I knew she wasn't feeling well. I'd ask "How are you Grandma" and she'd always reply "oh...I won't complain." She would then insist on hearing about me, about my day, my dating adventures and fiascos, and endless complaints about my job. She would always assure me that she was praying that I get "all the desires of my heart" and I knew that was true.

    I couldn't understand how she could continue to pray for so many others even in the midst of her own suffering. I eventually realized that praying for others (her family, spiritual daughters, friends, church family, and strangers) brought her immense joy and peace. We were so blessed to have such an awesome woman of God in our lives. A woman who loved us wholeheartedly and was always there with open arms and soothing words (her own words and the word of God). I’ve always joked that I was her favorite grandchild but I knew that wasn’t true… she had no favorites. She just had the desire and ability to make her loved ones feel so admired, so important, and so loved that you couldn’t help but believe that you were favored. And we were favored… we were highly favored by God when he put her in our lives.

    Grandma spoke of you often and when I finally met you I understood why she cared for you so much. You clearly had a very special relationship with her and I thank you for honoring her with your memories, insight, and loving words. Love, Kim

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