A Glimpse of Heaven

My mother was an impressive woman and people who met her never forgot her. She was strikingly beautiful, vivacious, graceful, and energetic with a wonderfully wide smile that helped her meet people and make friends easily. She was the quintessential home maker – the prototypical female of the 1950’s (think Donna Reid meets June Cleaver). I was her first-born daughter and she worked hard to instill these feminine traits and value in me.

Then there was my other mother – the one with a drink in her hand. Alcohol would turn this otherwise refined and genteel woman into an obnoxious, impatient, overbearing, irresponsible, and boorish stranger. It was during these times that I became the mother to my three younger siblings.

I remember being so confused by her mood swings. I could not understand them until one day I overheard a neighbor in the grocery store making a remark about my mother’s drinking problem. At nine years old, I just hadn’t made the connection between the empty vodka bottles and her mood swings.

My mother’s bondage to alcohol continued throughout my childhood and on into adulthood until shortly before she became ill with brain cancer. On her death bed she apologized for all that she had put me through as a child. She told me she loved me and had always been proud of me – words I had longed to hear as a child.

God’s unconditional love and forgiveness in my life allowed me to forgive my mother long before her apology. And two days before she died, she came to faith in Jesus and found peace with God. But there’s more to the story. Just days before her death, my mother had a vision – an up close and personal glimpse of heaven.

Toward the end of her battle with brain cancer, when death was imminent, my aunt, my sister and I took turns sitting at my mother’s bedside. We wanted to be with her to the end. On one such night my aunt reported that Mom opened her eyes, looked all around the room, and asked my aunt if she was still alive. My aunt smiled and said, “Yes Charlene, you are still here with us.” With a look of wonder and amazement on her face, my mother turned to my aunt and said, “Oh Patty Ann, I have been to a beautiful place full of brilliant colors and indescribable beauty - things I can’t begin to understand.”

God gave my mother a glimpse of what was waiting for her if she would just surrender her life to Jesus, which she did later the next day.

Some think there is no God. Others believe he has forsaken us and scoffers say he isn’t returning. But the Bible says that God is holding back judgment because he doesn’t want anyone to be left behind. He waits with open arms for anyone, anywhere, anytime who will place their faith and trust in him - even an old, alcoholic woman, who came to faith on her death bed.

God isn't late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn't want anyone lost. He's giving everyone space and time to change. ~ 2 Peter 3:9 (MSG)

1 comments:

Susan May 18, 2010  

Cassandra, This is a beautiful story. May I repost it on my website? I met you through my eQuipping for eMinistry website, but I also have a blog for encouraging people to share their faith. I would like to publish your post with a short bio, just like I did here: http://thesower.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/379/ I can get everything I need right off of this page, except for a photo, if you would like to have one. I would link back to your blog, which should also generate more visitors to your site.

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