Walking Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

Over the last two months I was honored to journey with my mom through the valley of the shadow of death, then hand her off to cross through the gates of splendor.

One body giving way, another giving comfort.

One body giving way, another giving comfort.

Mom passed the day before Thanksgiving. I am sad, but she is truly thankful! She lived an abundant 81 years here on earth. Even now in Heaven, in my minds eye, I see her dancing the Jitter Bug with my dad. You see, among other things, she had severe scoliosis all of her life, a 39 degree angle at one point in her spine! That is not an exaggeration.

But not that, or anything else, kept her from living life to the full extent. She had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That gave her strength and joy. Not until these last years of her life did I begin to know about the constant pain she lived with.

She cultivated an attitude of gratitude. As a family we teased her about living in denial, because she faced so many extraordinarily difficult circumstances through life, yet she had what we thought was a facade of optimism. But I learned over these last months that her gratitude was genuine.

Over the last two months I learned a lot about life and about death and the presence of God. I learned that God’s timing is not mine or necessarily the dying ones timing. It is God’s. There is often unfinished business with our maker when we approach the end of this life.

I am many things, and one is a prayer minister. Our loving heavenly father gave me the privilege to hold my mom’s hand often, to pray with her and to help her give her end of life regrets and fears to Jesus. She was at peace when it was time to cross over…and I was blessed to hold her hand when she went.

She is truly free. She is released from her constant pain. She is no longer a prisoner in her own body.

We shared fun and laughter mixed with times of pain and sadness. Yet through it all, Jesus was present. He is present. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” I have experienced that promise first hand now, from this side of the valley. Mom has experienced it all the way through and has graduated to her new body, with no scoliosis.

Mom is happy! I too am happy for her and sad for me, my brother and my grown children as well as the many people who  knew and loved her yet remain here without her. I miss her every day, but take great solace that she is healed, and that by the grace of God I will see her again when my days here are complete.How have you experienced the presence of the Lord in difficult times? Maybe you didn’t notice at the moment. Please take a moment. Ask God for a sanctified imagination. Then pray, asking to see or understand where Jesus was at that time. Listen. I am genuinely interested to hear from you. You are in my prayers.

Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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2 thoughts on “Walking Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

  1. Andrea, you are truly blessed having the opprtunety to walk with your mother, and with the Lord through this emotional experience.
    My peace I bring you, my peace I leave you!
    Peace to you, my friend.