The Last Mile of Life

My stepfather passed into glory three weeks ago. He and my mom were married for 30 years. While I’m thankful he no longer suffers, my soul weighs heavy. The last mile of life wrenches the hearts of those left behind. How can we move forward when we struggle to endure the dark waters of mourning and loss? My stepfather trusted Jesus and I know he’s on glory’s side now. But I still mourn, especially for my mom.

Everyone faces life and death crossroads. And everyone’s experiences differ. This year in particular has impacted many of us as we or a loved one walk the last mile of life. Today my emotions remain raw while this season of incredible loss for me and my family wears on. I don’t have facts and figures to try to make sense of it all. Instead, I’d like to share a few thoughts from my heart.

Advocate for someone in need. Several times in the last year, through hospitalization and hospice, my role became that of advocate for my stepfather. When you advocate for someone who is helpless, you’ll never be the same. I will never be the same. My love grew deep as my heart broke for him over and over through each painful episode. In his pain and suffering, I stood with and for him. Friends, if you have the opportunity to advocate for someone in need, don’t shy away.

Show kindness. Last week, we also said goodbye to my 16-year-old boxer pup. Beloved companions epitomize unconditional love and bless us each day. When they pass on it breaks us. A few days ago, a couple of our neighbors––who I only knew in passing as we walked our dogs––came to my house with a sweet card and a bouquet of flowers. Their effort in expressing understanding of grief, and letting us know we aren’t alone, demonstrated the type of one-another love that Jesus extended throughout His ministry. Friends, if you have the opportunity to show kindness in a simple way, take the time to bless someone who is hurting.

Stand in the gap through prayer. We know that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our own, and we may never understand the “why’s” of life this side of heaven. But even when we don’t know what to say or how to help, we can support others––by standing in the gap for them through prayer. Prayer is powerful. Prayer unites our hearts with Jesus and with those in need. And prayer allows the Holy Spirit to prompt us to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. Friends, even if you don’t know what to say to someone in need, let them know you’re praying for them. Go before God the Father on their behalf and ask the Holy Spirit to use words you may lack.

For anyone mourning or struggling to find hope, know that you’re not alone. I’m standing with you in prayer. I encourage you to read and pray through the following three passages which I’ve been clinging to. I prayed these passages over my stepfather day after day until Jesus took him home. In these dark times, Jesus and His Word bring peace, hope, and comfort.

John 14: 1–7

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”

2 Timothy 4:6–8

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day––and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.

Revelation 21:3–5

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is now among people, and He will dwell with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

We may not always have the honor of being by someone’s side as they cross the finish line in their last mile of life. But we can always stand with them and cheer for them in spirit as they press on into glory. May the assurance of everlasting life in Christ bring you, your family, and your beloved friends peace, hope, and comfort today. And if you’re not sure about your eternal future, turn to Jesus today and receive His give of eternal life (John 3:16). You don’t have to say the perfect words; God wants to hear your heart. Humbly pray something like, “Jesus, I’m in need of a Savior. I want You to be Lord of my life. I believe You came and died for all of my sins––past, present and future. So I come before You now, asking Your forgiveness and receiving Your gift of everlasting life. Live in me from this moment on by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Love through me in this world until You return to take me home.” Amen!

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Life in the Rearview Mirror

There’s nothing normal as we head toward the end of 2020. We long for “normal.” We want things to go back to the way they were in February 2020, or October 2019, because no matter how hard things were then, at least we understood our known normal. Continue reading

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Please, No More!

Like many of you, I thought this fall would usher in the return of normal work hours in offices and schools, eating in restaurants, and gathering with friends. But COVID-19. It feels like we’ve lost so much this year. How can we move forward into fall when we continue to grieve the loss of so many aspects of our used-to-be “normal” life? Continue reading

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A Message for Weary Souls

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Sheroes of the Bible

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Robbed of My Right of Passage

In this Covid-19 time, there’s a group of celebrants who feels the loss of their special day more than others: Graduates. With no stage, no diploma in hand, and no procession, it’s hard to feel the same sense of accomplishment and closure. How do I know? I’m a 2020 graduate. Continue reading

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The Week After Easter

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Your Christmas Wish

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Running the Race of Life

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Waiting Out the Wait

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What CAN I do?

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Sometimes There Aren't Words

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Welcome to My Messy

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Your Life through the Keyhole

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How Not to Hate the Wait

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Unanswered Prayers

When someone dies, we struggle with the “why”. Why didn’t God answer our prayers? As Easter approaches, the “why” questions of the disciples mirror our own. How can we continue to trust God? Continue reading

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Many of us know the greatest stories ever told. And often our focus is on the action or players or outcome. But the stories of the Bible have another purpose. A.W. Tozer said, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” Continue reading

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Fear or Faith at Work?

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Why Work?

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why” (Mark Twain). If we’re honest, we all want to know the why… Continue reading

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Greatest Gift: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

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No More Masks

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What's Your Superpower?

If you were approached by a genie wanting to grant you one wish for any superhero power, what would you ask for? My first thought: ask for something I could use in the battle between good and evil… Continue reading

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Work in Heaven?

As Labor Day approaches, most Americans anticipate a well-deserved day off work. For many of us, work is a daily grind. But what if work isn’t supposed to be a grind? And what if our work doesn’t end with our time on earth? Have you ever thought about work in heaven? Continue reading

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Better to Have Loved & Lost?

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2018: The Year of Open Doors

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Sit Among Your Weeds

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Consider My Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets are to Texas what tulips are to Holland, azaleas are to Augusta, and cherry blossoms are to Washington DC. But what makes bluebonnets so remarkable is that they’re WILD. These words came to mind: “Consider how the wildflowers grow…” Continue reading

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A Promise from God

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The Intersection of Faith and Work

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Which Way Did He Go?

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Why “Do Good” For No Reason?

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When Enough is Never Enough

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Cross the Starting Line - Just Start!

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Getting What You Ask For and More

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