Today, my MawMaw went home to be with Jesus. It was the dawning of the rest of her life. For really, life here on earth is a vapor compared to an eternity. She faithfully walked with Jesus here on this earth for 75 years. Now, she will dance with him for FOREVER.
I can only imagine the welcoming committee. What an honor to have escorted one of God’s favorites to the banquet table set just for her! I wonder who was there? PawPaw? Aunt Rachel? Her little sister who went to be with Jesus when she was only 38? Her mom? Her friends?
But my eyes filled with mist at the thought, today, she looked her precious Savior in the face. Today she saw the eyes of the One who loved her more than any of the rest of us could have. Today….today… today she saw Jesus. How her heart has longed for years for this day to come – to see Him, to be able to look Him in the eyes as she told Him how much she loved Him.
Today she is not struggling to hear or see. Today she doesn’t feel the weariness of a heart grown tired of beating. I can only imagine her joy at finally being home… really home home with the One who made her just for Him… for His enjoyment.
The Bible says, “Her children arise and call her blessed…” but I can’t help but reminisce how the blessing is ours to be the beneficiary of her legacy. How great is our spiritual inheritance!! When I think of my MawMaw, I think of Mary of Bethany who found such joy sitting at the feet of Jesus. In all her life, the One Thing that really mattered to both was found at His feet.
How she loved to tell the story of when she first met Jesus and got filled with the Holy Ghost at an old brush arbor tent revival. Her sisters had gone and thought the people were funny so at seventeen she was going that night to get a good laugh. But it wasn’t long before the Spirit of God touched her, and she sank to her knees weeping. For three days, she couldn’t speak English. She said she experienced persecution from her classmates but she didn’t care. She had found something that made her life worth living.
She was so blessed to have had a husband who was of like faith. He was also filled with the Holy Ghost. How she enjoyed praying with her husband, going to church with him and raising their children together.
She never tried to hide her disappointments or the pain that she felt…especially when she didn’t understand. But I love how she always directed her questions and pain back to the fact that she was praying about it. She was giving it to God.
How could I ever forget the day she told me about having breast cancer? She came back from the doctor that day and sat on the edge of the bed and was filled with excitement that she would be going home soon to heaven. She was so excited at the prospect of seeing Jesus and PawPaw. How amazed I was that the Lord chose to heal her because her work was not done here on earth.
She took her assignment to pray seriously. I wonder how many years she kept the night watch standing before the throne every night from 2 to 4 a.m.? She said it took her at least two hours to call all the names of her children, in-laws, grandchildren and their spouses and children. One time I brought her framed pictures of my kids so that she would have a visual reminder to pray for them. She very sweetly told me, “I don’t need their picture to be reminded. I remember them every night.” It was that day that I realized the honor that was mine to have her not only as my MawMaw but to be related to one of God’s best friends. She had an audience with the King every night. She sat at His feet in love all day- loving His word, worshipping Him with songs and letting the contentment of her life be found in Him. Then in her hours of intercession, she got to go to the throne to make her petitions known. Even now it amazes me to know that those prayers will continue to circulate the heavenlies forever. Though she has graduated in her assignments, the sound of her prayers will still continue in their petition for the fullness of God to be manifested in our lives and in our relationship with the Lord. It really isn’t about being in church or going to church, it is in knowing Jesus and His heart and doing His work on this earth, isn’t it?
I loved the stories of her angelic encounters. She told me one day she was driving home from church and heard the most beautiful sounding music. She reached over to turn up the radio and realized it wasn’t on. She knew she was hearing the sound of angels.
She said that one night that she woke up with someone in her bedroom. She looked up and saw a being but wasn’t afraid. She looked into the most beautiful eyes. She knew it was an angel. Angels are assigned to do the bidding of the children of God. I wonder if she gave the angel an assignment that night with her prayers?
The last time I saw her, she told me she didn’t think it would be long before she went to the other shore. She told me that even though the journey has only gotten sweeter with time, she realized that it was almost over. In her sweet inquisitive way, she inquired on everyone’s spiritual status. She wished she could hear Katrina sing. She was concerned for the prodigals in the family. When we prayed together, I felt the strength of her warrior spirit as it rose up to “call the prodigals home” in this family – home to the arms of a loving Father. A few weeks later she sent me word not to worry. “The prodigals are coming home.” I wept as I knew that I was hearing a promise directly from the King Himself.
Other fun things I remember about MawMaw were her flowers. She loved flowers. I remember her Four-O-Clocks in Evangeline. I remember how she loved animals. She always had a soft spot for the dogs and cats. I remember her bread. There was nobody that could make a loaf of bread that tasted as wonderful as MawMaw’s bread. Did she even have a recipe?
I remember her unique sense of style and her hair that hadn’t grown in 75 years past her shoulder. She promised that she never cut it after she received the Holy Ghost when she was seventeen. It was part of her worship to dedicate her hair to the Lord as an outward symbol of her inward dedication to Him.
I remember her telling stories of her life in Indian Bayou – riding to school in a “school wagon,” picking cotton until her fingers bled, and that even without a picture she would always remember her mother’s face.
I remember going to see her and PawPaw in Evangeline, the green house that she raised she raised her kids in. It was always an adventure to me to go there. I remember the barn with hay where PawPaw would go to pray. I remember making mud pies with my cousins and how she didn’t blink an eye with how dirty we got. One of my favorite summers was when I was about eleven and my daddy planted a truck garden. I remember eating hot watermelon with PawPaw in the fields and driving the John Deere tractor and digging fresh Irish potatoes with my dog and MawMaw being so excited to us come.
I remember the huge bathtub in that house. Was it really that big or was I that little in those days?
I remember wonderful afternoons on her porch with aunts and uncles and cousins eating watermelon and laughing.
When PawPaw went home – (was it really 30 years ago?) and she went to live with Aunt Frances and Uncle Carl, I was always so moved by the spirit of honor I felt from Aunt Frances and her family – my cousins and their kids. I loved how MawMaw would tell me stories of them and be filled with so much pride. Her children and grandchildren gave her such joy. She celebrated our accomplishments and material blessings. She felt so blessed by the in-laws who cherished and respected her children and lived for the Lord.
A soft-spoken, gentle woman, she lived a simple life. She was grateful for the provision in her life and always acknowledged its source. My inheritance is worth so much more than could ever be measured by earthly standards. Woven with the threads of faith, discipline, perseverance, faithfulness and spirituality is a mantle of power – the power that belongs to royalty- to the Bride of the King.
Just like when the prophet Elijah left in a fiery chariot and his mantle floated to the ground and Elisha walked into a double portion of anointing, I feel there is a transfer of the anointing in the Spirit…to not just me but to all of her children who are willing to reach up and grab it. It is a mantle of grace for prayer and intercession that must not stop but must be taken to the next level in authority, in discipline, in faith to see the harvest that will prepare the way for the King to return to this earth in His glory. Humbled by the responsibility, I pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to walk worthy of this calling.
For history’s sake, to record her last few days on earth-
The sun began setting on Yowla’s life on Sunday morning when she got up to get a bite to eat and pray. Her prayer time was 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. She had gone to check the door and fell while putting on her slipper and broke her leg. A habit that was hers was to stand up on one leg to put on her slipper.
The doctors doubted she would survive the surgery to put an iron rod to support the bone, but after an assessment decided to do the surgery anyway. Before going in, she assured her girls that she wasn’t afraid and that if she didn’t make it that she would see them on the other side or in the rapture.
Things were never right after the surgery. Who knows if she had a reaction to the anesthesia or her kidneys were too weak to process the medicine off or if her oxygen dropped during surgery?
She had an awful day of pain and suffering as her tired little body was beginning to shut down. She began to ask to “Go HOME.” “Please, Jesus, hold my hand.” She was ready. On Tuesday she slipped into a coma and then quietly and peacefully crossed over on Thursday morning, January 7, 2010, at 5:30 a.m.
—- Repost from the journal of Kathryn Whiddon Jankiewicz, granddaughter of Yowla Morgan Whiddon, daughter of Merlin Whiddon