Bearing One Another’s Grief
“Sitting shiva” refers to the act of sitting on low stools during times of mourning. As mentioned in the Book of Job, upon mourning, Job’s friends “sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights”. (Wikipedia)
I like the idea of this – I refer to it as the ‘ministry of presence.’ But, unfortunately, it is not always possible to do. So, we do it in absentia. I am currently practicing shiva for a dear friend whose Mom entered the gates of heaven this past Friday morning. We were on the road headed north when the sad news arrived via a text message. I haven’t stopped praying for my friend and his family.
Her earthly name is Tonia – and only heaven will reveal what her “new name” is. Regardless of her name she is one of the loveliest women I have ever met. Queen-like. Her hair always perfect, subtle makeup, dewy pink lips, and no matter the day – dressed to the nines. Not super fancy but just lovely (really, there is no other word). I told her 14-year old granddaughter that she was a regal lady.
That, she was.
I imagine, because of her son’s and my relationship, she has found my mother’s mansion and they have enjoyed a cuppa heavenly tea by now. Tonia talking about her family and Terry talking about hers. It’s that faith connection neither time nor space can sever.
Tonia always smiled when I would refer to her son, Lane, as my “other son,” and as far as I know she was happy to share him. He’s a great man, husband and father – a Godly man and leader – I care very much for his entire family and I know these next few days – many days actually – are going to be especially hard. He adored his mom and honored her beautifully – he has zero cause for regrets – he was kind and attentive to Tonia always and especially the past several years as her health weakened. Lane is going to live a long life, as promised in Deuteronomy 5.16.
We have this Hope
And, no one can take it away from us… it’s an anchor for our sorrowing souls. (Hebrews 6.19)
Today, I want to mention, by name, Tonia’s family – because I know you will pray for them: Bill, husband; Shelley, daughter; Lane, son; Liz, daughter-in-love; Jack, Olivia, and Maudie Jane, grandchildren. They are going to need prayer to walk through these hard days.
As believers and followers in/of the Lord Jesus Christ, we take great comfort in the promises of scriptures. I pray these verses bring you peace and the hope that never dies…
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8.18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4.16-18
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 1 Corinthians 15.19
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3.20-21
Thank you for allowing me to share these precious words with you – I know you’ll pray.
And, one more thing, the woman in the picture above? There is an uncanny resemblance to Tonia’s daughter Shelley – special prayers for Shelley as she was her mom’s #1 caregiver for the past two years. She is going to feel such emptiness of days.