My Mother's Faith
My mother passed away last year. She had Alzheimer’s – a dreadful disease. It robs people of their memories. It robs them of their personality. Eventually, it robs them of their lives. I have many wonderful memories of my mother. I remember when she took me to the Wisconsin Dells. I was probably ten years old at the time. I desperately wanted to ride the go-carts. However, I did not meet the minimum age requirement. My mom told the gentleman selling tickets that she would ride with me and do all of the driving. He agreed to let me ride with my mother. I must have missed the point about my mother doing the driving. When we got into the car, I grabbed the wheel and stepped on the gas pedal. We went flying around the track, as my mom tried to wrestle the steering wheel and gas pedal from me. She was laughing uncontrollably, and so was I.
I also remember that my mother would never allow me to have a dog when I was growing up. I begged her every Christmas and birthday to get me a dog. She was adamant in saying, “You are not getting a dog!” Years later, when I visited her in a nursing home, I noticed a family had brought a dog into the visiting area. I said to my mother, “Look at the cute dog”. My mom was incoherent at that time. However, she had enough left in her to say to me, “You are not getting a dog!”
Great memories - but not my best memory. My best memory is when my wife, Amy, and I visited her in the nursing home about one year before she died. It is an experience I will never forget.
It was a beautiful June day in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. My mom didn’t recognize me. I would say to her, “Do you know who I am?” She often said, “You are my brother”, or gave me that blank stare that I was getting so accustomed to. Amy and I wheeled her outside. We sat on a bench under a beautiful shade tree. I said to my mother, “Mom, you have a lot to look forward to. There is another life where there will be no more pain and suffering. A life where you can run, play, and be young again.” She just stared, and gave no indication she understood what I was saying.
My mother wasn’t one to talk about her beliefs during the course of her life. I often wondered if she believed in Jesus as her savior. Even though I knew she probably couldn’t understand what I was about to tell her, I felt it would at least give me some comfort.
Funerals are often a sad event. Why are they so sad? You might say, “Well, the answer is obvious. We can’t be with our loved one anymore.” However, I think the real reason is death seems so unnatural. It just wasn’t supposed to be this way.
I told my mother that when God created the heavens and the earth, we lived in a perfect world, and had a perfect relationship with God. There was no pain, no suffering, and no Alzheimer’s. There was no death. Our perfect world, and our perfect relationship with God, was broken when Adam sinned. Sin enters the world – and with sin, death. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6; 23). Adam is now a sinful human being, and that sinful nature has been passed down from generation to generation. The Bible says, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…” (Romans 5:18) I once read, “We sin because we are sinners. We are not sinners because we sin.” Sinning just comes naturally to us. It is what we do. It is part of our DNA.
I told my mother that there is another part of Romans 5 she needs to know about. The completion of the sentence states, “so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19). “Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19.) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16) I wrote this last passage on a piece of paper and gave it to her.
When I was done with my story, I noticed something. My mother seemed to be in her right mind. Her eyes were clear, and she began to speak, “How long have you known this fact? You have got to tell people! You don’t know what you have given me today!” To say that Amy and I were startled would be a huge understatement. Tears began to roll down our cheeks. My mother had a saving faith! I promised my mother that day that I would tell people about Jesus. As we walked away, I looked back at my mother. She was clutching the paper and holding it tightly against her body. She said to me, “I know what I’ve got!”
I wonder what heaven will be like. I wonder what my mother is doing now. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) Jesus said, “in my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) But how do I know my mother is in heaven?
The day my mother passed away, I arrived at the nursing home in time to hold her hand. She died about a ½ hour after I arrived. Before she died, I told her to go to Jesus, and that I would see her on the other side. I know my mom is in heaven with Jesus today. I say that not because of anything she did in her life. I say that because of what Jesus has done for her, and all of us.
Guest blog by William Woodington. Bill and his wife, Amy, actively share God's Word and tell people the Good News of Jesus Christ. They have participated in three mission trips to Utah in conjunction with Truth in Love Ministry.