Thursday, September 24, 2015

Swallowed up by Life

I can't take it. I can't take it anymore. I think I am officially about to break into a million pieces...and that's probably okay because Gramma always said, "I love you all to pieces!" She left this world this morning - and she did it. She loved me to pieces. Her passing this morning felt like the straw that broke the camel's back - or the last block moved that caused the Jenga tower to crumble.

And you know what? It's okay. It's okay to cry and be so broken that I can't put myself back together again. Because I know Who can - because of my Gramma Faye...and what better tribute to her than to surrender myself one more time to His loving hands. After all, she who endured more suffering and heartbreak and trials than many I've had the privilege to know witnessed His ability to put her back together again (over and over, in big and little ways).

In thinking of her 'loving me all to pieces', I was reminded of the "jars of clay" or "cracked pot" verse. In looking up that verse (2 Corinthians 4:7), I [somehow] jumped to 2 Cor 5 - a beautiful passage on our earthly bodies/life...and I just thought, "How Gramma!" of this moment. How Gramma to point me to Scripture in the moment of my breaking point.

[2 Corinthians 4]

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Awaiting the New Body [2 Corinthians 5]

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

For those who didn't know my Gramma, let me just tell you this: the items that I highlighted - those are the things that she would have pressed into me. I can hear her saying:

"I am swallowed up by Life now, Jessica! Swallowed up by LIFE! I am at home with the Lord - and oh, how I have longed for this day! LONGED for this day, Sweetie! and what will make this day so much sweeter is to know that those I have loved, to know that my family will one day be swallowed up by life just like I have been! That is my deepest prayer."

I know it because she told me. Her deepest wish was for her children and grandchildren - and great-grandchildren (and EVERYBODY) to love Jesus - and to know the love and care of Jesus like she had so personally experienced throughout her life.

Writing a 'eulogy' for her has been so hard for me because, outside of my parents, no person has impacted my life like she had. I am the Christian that I am today because of the lifelong witness of Faye Louise Witt Rohrig. She may have had no imprint on my genetic traits - but on my eternal life, her fingerprints are everywhere.

In college I wrote her a letter and asked her how to live out my faith. As a young Christ-follower, I didn't really know how I was to show others that I believed in God or to influence them to do the same. So, I asked the person who is the greatest 'soldier for Christ' that I'd known. (I have the letter she wrote to me somewhere, but I can't remember the specifics)

What was interesting in her response was that she basically said 'it's not a formula, Jessica.' Living your faith is just an extension of loving Jesus. You love Jesus the same you love a person. You pray (talk to him); you read what He has to say (in the Bible); you talk to people that love him; you serve the people he loved (everybody).

John refers to Jesus as the Word in John 1; and she loved the Word. She lived her life by the Word - and she taught me to do the same. She believed that God would be true to His Word (because how could He deny himself?) - so she prayed His Word and she clung to His promises - that they could be true in her life, as well. I walk by faith because she walked by faith. I have followed her example in life and she has led me to Life - to Jesus.

A few years ago, Gramma shared with me the "bookend" of life: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) My heart may be in pieces, but I am confident that the same God who worked so much good in her life is working that out and carrying it to completion in the lives of all of us who love God.

I am confident that today, she was wholly swallowed up by life.

I am confident that she no longer walks by faith; today, she sees!

1 comment:

Cindy Taylor said...

Beautiful tribute to your Gramma! & testimony of her legacy for her loved ones!