Squinting into the Sun

This is one of the few photos I have of my mother and me

Here is one of the few photos I have of my mother with me. It was taken with a Box Brownie camera in the back garden of our home. In this small, blurry photograph, Mum is squinting into the sun as usual. I caught that habit from her. What other legacies did she pass on to me and why am I writing about her today?

It’s because my mother would have turned one hundred this week! I never asked her if she wanted to live a long life; I knew she was ready to go at any time. She spent her final few happy years in a hostel for the elderly. One day in the middle of a conversation, she said to me, ‘If I leave here…’ I wondered if she were thinking that she may have to go into a nursing home, so I asked, ‘Where would you go, Mum?’

She laughed, ‘I might die!’ That put me in my place!!

Except for her love of family and friends, her feet weren’t anchored to this world. She’d already ‘sent her treasures on’, expecting to find them waiting there when she arrived in her heavenly home. There was no reason why she should stay here longer than God wanted.

How can I be so sure of that? I know my mother didn’t presume her good works would give her a passport into heaven. She knew it took more than that to be eligible to spend eternity with God. If she’d thought her spirit would just die, why bother to be good; why not just live it up?

But she’d put her hope in Jesus’ promise that he was going to prepare a home in heaven for those who believed him. Whether we know it or not, each of us has a deep longing for the One who made us, who loves us and gave his own life for everyone. King David of Israel knew it too. He wrote these words in a song:

Father of orphans,

champion of widows,

is God in his holy house.

God makes homes for the homeless…

What a home God is preparing for us all! Some people don’t believe it! But I do! I could have ignored what my mother told me about Jesus, but I chose to listen to her. Now I have hope. That’s her greatest legacy to me.

And it’s her gift to all her family and many others whom she told about the reason Jesus came to die. At the bus stop, in the shops, over the neighbour’s fence…and in the way she lived, she told them all.

It may seem odd to say this, but I feel that the way she squinted into the sun was symbolic of her life. Her focus was on a bright future; one so glorious it was almost too hard to believe! So wonderful that it was too much for these earthly eyes.

I sometimes wonder if you can sense my desire to share this hope. As you read this blog post, do you long to know peace in your heart? Was your mother like mine? Has someone told you that Jesus came to die for your sins so you can go to heaven? Don’t turn them off. Please don’t pretend Jesus didn’t come for you. He did.

I hope no-one wastes such a wonderful gift; one that leads to eternal life. You can accept it like I did and know that Jesus loves you so much he wants you to live with him forever! Why not tell him right now?

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