"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." Proverbs 31:25
Last week I finally went to visit my sister, Jan, who lives in Omaha. I had canceled my trip twice before, due to Covid-19 but this time my sister put up a gentle plea that she needed me to come; she needed to see me, to be with me; she misses me. “I believe it will be okay,” she said. “I just need my sister to come.” And so I did.
If I had never been inside Jan’s house, and you led me through five different homes, I would immediately know the home that is my sisters. She is a fabulous decorator and every single thing in her house is unique to her taste. She is very eclectic and she loves many things that speak to her spirit and gives her joy and peace. She surrounds herself with what she loves – her husband, her two dogs, all her spiritual symbols, Scripture, clothes and music.
Jan enjoys all these things, but mostly from a limited space. Much of the time she is in her bed because when she gets up and moves, she begins to wheeze and has a very difficult time regaining her calmer breath.
My sister is in end-stage COPD and has been on hospice for the past two years. I will be forever grateful to that hospice team who have given her quality in life and peace as she faces what is ahead. They love her as if she is family and they treat her with such amazing dignity and love.
I made the trip and am so blessed because of it. Although Jan did not feel up to doing the things she was hoping we could do together, we had wonderful talks and some laughs and shared tears and open, honest discussion about her feelings and about the future.
I’ve never known a person who feels so deeply and loves so fiercely as Jan does. She’s always been that way. She can hug tighter and longer than anyone I know. She can laugh and cry in the same minute as she talks and shares. She has moments of anxiety and panic but more and more, what I see in her is a peace that passes all understanding and a trust that what Jesus promised in John 14 (her favorite in all the Bible) is true. That there is plenty of room in the Father’s house for us all; that Jesus has prepared a place for her, and each of us. She has this verse on her bedroom wall: 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I think about my sister all the time. She is too young to die – she’s eight years younger than me. We all think about what it will be like when death comes but she has been looking it in the face for two years now and she is determined to go through the journey that leads to Home with dignity, peace and love. She is positive that when that door opens our mother and granddad will be there with open arms, as will Jesus, whom she has always had a uniquely close relationship with. My sister Jan is a living example of faith and trust. She told me she is striving to make her life be a living prayer. She is living into what the song Cindy sings here – “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.” Hope you will listen and be blessed.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
Lord, give me a measure of that same kind of strength when my time here on earth is drawing to a close. Thank you for putting people in our lives that give us encouragement in the face of suffering and uncertainty. Thank you for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave us this great hope in a beautiful, blessed future in eternity with you.
Please share this, if you like it. Blessings to you all.
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