Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Through the Fire: A Eulogy

My mom and I have discussed, for the past little bit, that the word that we should hold tightly to is the word "Through."  It's come up a lot lately in our conversations, and so on those long hours when I was waiting at Emory Hospital, I've been thinking that my mother's whole life has been the application of the word "Through," but I could never quite see it clearly enough until now.  

Through has three meanings.  First... through... over with.  No more pain.  And that's certainly true with my mom.  She's not hurting anymore.  The endless bouts with headaches, backaches that lasted for days.  And I know about those backaches, as I have become an expert back rubber, and sometimes it was like trying to massage a brick wall, that's how tied up her back was.  All the stress, the constant balancing of checkbooks ( which she could somehow do in her head for months at a time), the regret of mistakes past.  All that is through.  

Secondly, through.  Jason Crabb sings this song, "Through the Fire Again," in which he says: 

Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision
and the adversary says give in, 
Just hold on.  
Our Lord will show up 
and He will take you through the fire again.

And it's so true.  It's not going to be easy.  I've told a lot of people I could write an entire book about my life, every word of it true, and no one would believe me.  But every time I've looked back at the hard times that my family has had, even to this very day, I can see God taking us through the hard times, placing good people along the way, doctors, nurses, people with wisdom and compassion, even a few angels.  My mom ran out of gas on I-20 in the middle of Atlanta one time, and walking down to a gas station would not have been advisable.  But just then someone who looked like he was out of a biker gang pulled up behind her, offered to get her gas, and put it in the car.  It's those times that you can see God taking you through the hard times.

And last, and this is what came up on the night we got my mom back into the hospital. She decided, to help her headaches, to watch the Gaither Video: Together, with the GVB and Ernie Haase.  The last song is set to the tune "Finlandia," and is amazing.  I noticed that the word "Through" comes up three times in the song.  I got to thinking, that this Through is just what my mom has lived all her life.  The Word of God lived 'through' you.  She stayed up many nights in a row tracking Oklahoma tornadoes because she knew her husband, kids, and the neighbors next door wouldn't wake up unless she woke them up. She always experienced the "Joy in her Christianity," and could not stand to hear some preacher yelling at her with fire and brimstone.  Let people see Jesus through her own living.  She rarely went to church in the last few years, and didn't tithe, and yet she gave of her own self in many ways.  

My mom said that if she could just get people to hear the words in "I Then Shall Live," and understand them, it would make the world a better place.  Sure, it's impossible to live that life completely, but we can try, and that would make all the difference, to let God's light shine through us. [Go look up the video on Youtube, it is certainly worth it.]

I Then Shall Live Lyrics: 

I then shall live as one who's been forgiven.
I'll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father; 
I am His child and I am not afraid.
So, greatly pardoned, I'll forgive my brother;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who's learned compassion.
I've been so loved, that I'll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I'll dare to see another's point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I'll be there to care and follow through.

Your Kingdom come around and through and in me;
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name, O may I bear with honor,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,
And may You feed a hungry world through me.


  1. Wow, this is a powerful eulogy. I think I still have the CD for Together, and my grandma has the DVD for Together. I was blessed by the music GVB/EHSS put together in this album, from Holy Highway to that song (I believe Gloria Gaither even co-wrote I Then Shall Live). Seriously, listen to their patriotic medley and not cry. It's beyond amazing, and I have never heard patriotic music come to life like the GVB & EHSS presented it that time. The last time I ever heard such powerful patriotic music was when the GVB sung A Few Good Men, a song that Bill & Gloria's daughter wrote. I couldn't ask for a more beautiful patriotic song than that.

    The first time I ever heard Through The Fire was when I was watching John Hagee's service live seven years ago. One of the Cornerstone Church choir members led the choir in that song, and the church leaped to their feet and gave God worship at mid-song. It was such a powerful moment of worship over there in San Antonio, Texas. I love that song, and the message is just so timeless.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. God bless you.

  2. I think you have touched on the reason that many people do not like to attend church, too much preaching and not enough JOY.
    "Through" also means that you have been a moving force in someone's life, you have gone "through" things together. What a beautiful tribute you have written to your sweet Mother!