Just this week I came across the story of Joey Feek, a beautiful wife and mother who is losing her life to cancer. She is currently in her last weeks and possibly days of life, and I cried as I studied the photo her husband posted of she and her baby girl snuggling in her hospice bed. The Feeks are popular Christian, country singers whom I had never heard of until a few days ago, but they have been heavy on my heart and mind ever since.
As I studied this woman holding her daughter and savoring each moment as if it were her last, because it really might be, I naturally put myself in her position. What would I do if I had days left to love my family and show them how much I care? How would I treat them? What would I say? How would I live if I knew I was dying? What would be important for me?
Thinking in light of the end is convicting. In my case, this type of self-examination has revealed much selfishness I wish I could ignore. My family and I are currently living with precious church members as we wait to close on our new house. We moved to our new town in Oklahoma for my husband to fulfill his lifelong dream of pastoring two months ago. We are thrilled to be here, but the waiting on a home of our own has taken longer than I anticipated, and has revealed a lot of impatience in my heart. Our new church family could not be more gracious or kinder to us, and I’m daily reminded of the goodness and love of our great God. However, I have had more selfish, dark moments than I care to admit.
My mind seems to constantly be drifting to home improvements, what furniture we need to purchase, how in the world I’m going to get our house in order just days before our first Thanksgiving on our own, and other trivial issues. While all of these things are real and they are going to be dealt with in due time, I find myself anxious about things that have not yet come all the while missing the two precious little people the Lord has entrusted to my care.
Too often I’ve turned down an opportunity to read “just one more book,” as I scroll through home ideas on Pinterest, or have chosen to not go play outside because I am reading up on home loans and closing details. Many days I feel as if I’m only halfway present, with my mind a million miles away, trying to solve hypothetical home issues or problems I’m not even sure we will face.
And those are just issues I have faced regarding my children. I wish I could say that I have perfectly cared for and loved my husband during this time as well, but there have been many days that I have acted in a petty way toward him as he learns how to serve our new church. I am quick to become frustrated if he comes home later than anticipated, or if he doesn’t return my texts throughout the day. Instead of being a source of encouragement and comfort for him, many days I can hear myself being a burden.
Can you relate to this? Do you ever feel like you are not really there for your family?
As I sat staring at this sweet mother embracing her sleeping child I cried for them, but I also cried for my own lack of taking in each moment with my family. How differently I would care for and speak to them if I knew I only had days or minutes left. I read the words of her husband on their blog, and wondered how it must feel to watch your spouse nearing the end. The truth is, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. People get sick, car wrecks happen, freak accidents occur every day. I don’t know how much longer I will have with my children, my husband, or my neighbors, but I do know Whose I am, where I am going, and what my purpose is while I am living.
I am called to love as Christ loved. To serve, asking for nothing in return. To do unto others as I would have them do to me. To love my enemy, and not return evil for evil. To help those in need. To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. To die to self and take up my cross and follow Him each day.
These are just a few of the many things I know to be true of the Christian life. It may sound like an impossibility on my own, but our good God has given His Holy Spirit to help believers as we journey toward eternal life with Him.
If we are living with eternal perspective, the worries of this world will not overwhelm or control us. We can confidently cast our cares on the Lord because we know He cares for His own. We can accept both good and bad from God because we know He holds the universe in His hands, and He works ALL things together for our good and His glory.
When you put yourself in a dying woman’s hospice bed, you realize how short our time on this earth is and how well you desire to love your family and honor the Lord. As believers, this eternal mindset should be ours each day. This world is not our home. We know we are sojourners just passing through. Any good we experience in this life is a gift from our Heavenly Father. Our husbands, our children, our friends, our homes, anything we have is His. He desires our obedience and faithfulness.
I want to love the Lord with all of my heart and to love and cherish my family and the people God has put in my life. I want to live my life in light of eternity, knowing that I am not storing up treasures on this earth but in my heavenly home with the Lord Jesus Christ, where at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. It is my prayer that I live as if each day were my last and honor the Lord with every nose wiped or hug given. I pray we will be women, wives and mothers who give the Lord everything we have as we pursue Him until the end of life as we know it, and enter into our eternal reward.
*Please leave your comments below!