This is going to be one heck of a blog post for being my first one back. So buckle up, snag tissues and chocolate and let’s go.
My momma is dying. No, she is being snatched away from us by the vile, hateful, straight from the pits of hell beast that is cancer. And by snatched I mean, she was healthy 4 weeks ago and today we have hospice care. We have had 21 days to get our heads around the fact that she is even sick.
How does a person wrap their heads around a diagnosis of cancer? Beyond that, when it rampages through and robs you blind, how do you cope? Our family has the gift and blessing of faith. We are leaning into our faith and claiming God’s promises that her healing will come as soon as she shakes off this faulty shell. But I had to find that promise for myself this morning. I had to see it in black and white.
1 Corinthians 15:35-38; 42-44; 53-58
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of [k]something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown [l]a perishable body, it is raised [m]an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
53 For this [s]perishable must put on [t]the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this [u]perishable will have put on [v]the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we have fielded phone call after phone call and poured over every card, it has been laid out plainly and in technicolor for us. Momma didn’t wait to shed her perishable body to start growing fruit. Eighteen years of teaching have yielded fields of children, families, and coworkers who have been mentored, amused, and changed by Mrs. Diven’s life and lessons. Call her school and ask to be put on hold – her legacy is found in every voice singing “I Surrender All.” Forty years of friendships are revealing the joy and laughter that Mom brought to everyone who crossed her path. Her gift for sewing is remembered by my senior play cast as they thank her for Fiddler on the Roof costumes from 20 years ago.
We mourn our loss of course. But we know that she will shed her perishable frame and fruit will continue to grow and ripen as a result of her life.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
I am impressed then to find that “bare grain” that was planted in me by my Momma and use it to bring honor and glory to God while I’m still in my perishable packaging. To press forward and know that with His direction and guidance, it will not be in vain but will stretch her legacy beyond me.
For us it was writing. Momma loved to take the tales of her grandchildren, my father’s escapades, or just every day life and pass them through the lens of God and His word. She would call me and say, “Go online and pull up the paper! Captain Splinter Foot (or whichever grandchild had made that week’s cut) is Juniata County famous.” We’ll never know how many people saw those articles. We’ll never know who read them and how they were affected.
So I have decided to pick up that mantle. I fear I will not do it quite as well as an eighteen year veteran steeped in hymns and scripture might but I will try. I will work for the Lord as long as my perishable packaging will allow.