Friday, April 23, 2010

At Home with the Lord

As was shared in one of the recent posts, my great-aunt Frances passed away and went home to be with the Lord two weekends ago. Aunt Frances was such a special lady and one whom we were all close to, and her death came as a surprise to us as she had previously been in quite good health. Her funeral was planned for Wednesday of the week that Ashley and her family were here visiting us in Missouri, and the Castleburys were so sweet and encouraged us to go to the funeral - assuring us that they would "hold down the fort" while we were gone. (Thank you so much, Castleburys!)

So Tuesday morning, Dad, Mom, Leah and I made the long drive to Spencer, Nebraska, spent the evening visiting with family members, and then attended Aunt Frances' funeral the following morning. The day was a beautiful one and as we grieved with other family members and sought to bring comfort where we could, my heart still had joy amidst the tears in knowing that Aunt Frances was at that moment with Jesus. Death is always hard and there are always tears and sadness, but when the one who had passed was a believer in Jesus Christ, there is also a comfort, hope, and joy as well. Aunt Frances had trusted in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and had given her life to Him, and with knowing that, her death was easier to bear.

It was also such a blessing at her funeral as the gentleman who officiated gave a clear and convicting gospel message, and shared much about Aunt Frances' faith and commitment to the Lord. He also had her Bible up with him and shared a poem that Aunt Frances had kept inside as well as some verses from a bookmark that was found within it. How precious it was to hear all that was shared about this special lady who will be so greatly missed here on earth!

Aunt Frances, Leah, Me, and Uncle Otto - September 2009

I remember the first time that I met Aunt Frances, and what happened then was the beginning of a special bond and relationship that continued to grow and develop between us in the years that followed . . . I was twelve years old, Leah was ten, and it was our first time going to the Pelc Family Reunion. At the park where the reunion was held at, Leah and I had found a little stray kitten that became our constant companion during the weekend. But then when it came time for us to head for home, the sad realization sunk in tha
t our kitten couldn't come home with us since my Mom is very allergic to cats. Leah and I were saying goodbye to our sweet little kitten with tears in our eyes, when Aunt Frances came up and said that she would take the kitten home with her and take care of it for us. I can still see her cradling that little kitten with a smile on her face while her act of love greatly blessed two little girl's hearts. In the years that followed, we often talked about that first reunion and "the kitten story." :)

Me, Aunt Frances and Leah - September 2008

Now it won't be the same going to the Pelc Family Reunion without having Aunt Frances there . . . I am going to miss her so much. Her warm and loving hugs . . . the sparkle in her eyes . . . hearing her laugh . . . listening to her stories of growing up on the Nebraska prairie . . . looking through family history photos together, she identifying people and sharing stories while I took notes . . . sitting down and having such wonderful conversations with her . . . watching her play with and hold her great- and great-great-grandchildren . . . yes, I am really going to miss her. But while there is sadness, there is thankfulness as well for all the special memories that we have, and thankfulness that I was able to know Aunt Frances and was able to learn so much from her. There is also such joy and comfort in knowing that Aunt Frances is with the Lord in heaven and that I will see her again someday. I cannot even imagine what indescribable beauty and joy she is enjoying and experiencing right now! Free from all sadness, sickness, grief and pain!

At Aunt Frances' funeral, the below Scripture verses (as well as many others) were expounded on, and they seemed fitting to share here as well:

"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also . . . Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.' " (John 14:2-3, 6)

"For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:53-58.)

What a promise . . . and what a hope.

16 comments:

  1. Just wanted to say how sorry I am. My family sends you many HUGS and prayers. Take care.

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  2. Your aunt sounds like the most wonderful lady in the genuine sense. I am so very glad you had the chance to know her and learn from her.

    The verse from John brings such comfort. Every year on the anniversary of my brother's death a dear friend sends us a note with that verse.

    God Bless you all.

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  3. Dear Sarah and Leah, I am sorry for your loss but I am glad you have all those fond memories of your aunt which will keep her alive in your hearts.

    On a different note, I would like to to draw your attention towards a small typo you might want to correct: the caption of the newest photo showing you with your aunt reads "September 2010" whereas I think it should be "September 2009". And in an earlier post, the ball game should be spelt "Badminton" I believe.
    I hope you don't mind me pointing these errors out to you, it is not to find fault but to improve your interesting journal which I enjoy reading.
    Best wishes, -Agnes-

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  4. I am so sorry for you lost. I know what it feels like to loose a family member so close. My grandfather died four years ago, I was really close to him. But I know he is in a better place. For about two months he was in a lot of pain and when he went Home, I was glad that he was with Jesus and would never feel anymore pain...forever!! I love the part in "In Won't Be Long" by Rachel Wissmann where is says "No goodbye can last forever when we are one in Jesus name". Even though we may loose someone so close we have a precious promise that we will see them again!

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  5. I am finally catching up with your posts. What a lovely time you ahd with your friends/soon to be family. the house is beginning to look ready to live in, Ryan and Ashley must be so excited!
    What a lovely person your Aunt Frances was, and how good that you could be there to say the final good bye.

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  6. Dear Sarah,

    I was very sorry to hear of the loss of your Aunt Frances. From reading your post, I can I tell she was a sweet and special person. Praise the Lord for the special memories that you have of your time with her.

    Your Aunt Frances is with her Lord and Savior, in a place of unspeakable joy.

    May God comfort you during this time.

    Love in Christ, Amy

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  7. Thank you so much for your kind words of sympathy, Angie! They were appreciated!

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  8. She was a very special lady, Suze! Thank you so much for your sweet words. Yes, the verse from John does bring such comfort. I am so sorry to hear of your brother’s death . . . what a blessing that you have a friend such as the one you do to bring encouragement and comfort to you!

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  9. Thank you so much, Agnes, for your kind words of sympathy!

    Thank you also for pointing out those spelling errors. :) And no, I do not mind at all that you did! In fact, quite the contrary . . . I appreciated it, and the mistakes are now corrected. :) Thank you!

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  10. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Desiree! I really appreciated all that you shared. Though, I am sorry to hear about your grandfather! That would be so hard, but then like you shared, a comfort to know that he is with Jesus and is free from all pain forever. I, too, really like the song “It Won’t Be Long” by Rachel Wissmann . . . it has beautiful and comforting words! Thank you again, Desiree!

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  11. Yes, we did have a lovely time with our “friends/soon to be family”! (I like how you put that. :) Ryan and Ashley are excited, and we are excited for them!

    Thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth! They were appreciated!

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  12. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comment, Amy. It was a blessing to me! Aunt Frances was a sweet and special person, and like you shared, I am thankful to the Lord for all the special memories. And yes, she is with her Lord and Savior now! In that, there is great joy. Thank you again, Amy!!

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  13. From all that you have shared, your Aunt Frances sounds like a special lady. And to think that her death isn't 'permanent', for you'll see her again in Heaven!!!

    ~Ashley

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  14. I know what you mean about how it won't be the same when you have your family reunion. Each person leaves such a void when they are no longer here on this earth...especially when they are such a ray of light to others!

    What a comfort to know that she loved the Lord, though!

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  15. Thank you so much for your comment, Ashley! Yes, she was a special lady, and I am looking forward to seeing her once again!

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  16. How true that is, Joy! She will definitely be missed . . . and there will be a void there. How thankful I am, though, that we have all the good and special memories of past reunions with her there! And then like you shared, it is a comfort to know that she loved the Lord . . . and that she is with Him now.

    Thank you for your comment!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)