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“Why am I here? Why can’t I be dead?” Mom’s words spoken through a filter of mid-stage Alzheimer’s horrified me. How could our nightly phone call take such a terrifying turn?
I already lost my dad to Alzheimer’s. The reality of my mom’s battle with the same disease with the same terminal outcome shocked me in the gut. It was a defining moment in our relationship, and I didn’t like it. As her daughter and caregiver, our relationship became defined by a disease that would take her away from me.
Two years later, an Emergency Room doctor needed me to instruct whether he was to resuscitate my mom. How could I be prepared to do that? I prayed for months that Jesus wouldn’t let her suffer anymore. But as I begged the doctor to let my mom go, I didn’t expect the horrid tumult inside of me which challenged the core of my faith. Was she really going to a better place?
A nurse escorted me to her after her heart labored through its final beat. I struggled to breathe. But I stood beside my beautiful Mom, kissed her lips, held her hand, praised, cried, and said goodbye as my tears drenched her hospital gown.
says, “I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be.” (NIV)
My mom was no longer broken by Alzheimer’s. My best friend of 58 years was being restored. But I was separated from her, and my life felt broken. I questioned, Is God for real? Is Heaven for real?
Defining moments interrupt and change the direction of our life’s compass. One unexpected defining moment for me was when I recognized the need for Jesus and understood that Jesus knocked at the door of my life, waiting for me to invite Him in (). When I opened the door and let Him come in, I was radically changed from the inside out. Jesus filled the spiritual hole in my heart, and my sins were released.
My mom had opened the door for Jesus too. Because of that, I often told Mom, “When Jesus comes for you, it’s okay to go home.”
It was one thing to know she believed in Jesus, but telling the doctor to let her die was an unexpected defining moment that challenged my belief in Heaven. I thought about the thief on the cross who was told, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (NIV), and the Lord’s Prayer which Mom and I prayed together every night that says, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” ( NIV).
Is God for real? Is Heaven for real? Yes.
Twenty minutes after Mom died, I felt her index finger twitch and saw a white spark shoot up from her fingertip that sent a surge of static electricity through mine. No wires connected her to any machine. Moments later, the room felt empty. I silently praised my Creator for His faithfulness in defining moments.
Was the twitch when Mom reached for Jesus? Was the electrical surge when her spirit left her body for Heaven? Was I touched by the Holy Spirit during the release of my mom’s spirit? Did God give me a glimpse of Heaven?
Defining moments brought me to a belief that God and Heaven are for real. God doesn’t have to give me defining moments, but He offers them as His love gifts. If I dare to believe in His eternal love, and trust that His kingdom come and His will be done, He will show me grace in His presence. Why? Because He loves, He promises, and because He can. Just as God restored the House of David, He restores me into spiritual eternity. And I believe God’s Spirit escorts His children personally into His glory.
Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Crofoot Knapp. Used by permission.
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