Thursday, August 10, 2006

A year ago

A year ago today our family gathered around the bed of my grandmother and watched her faith become sight as she passed from this life to the next. I was one of the speakers at her funeral. I read the words I wrote, a year ago now and feel a lump rise in my throat. I miss my grandmother. I miss seeing her face light up when Payton and Benjamin walk in the room and yet...I come back to the same thought I had a year ago...My grandmother has joined the chorus around His throne, How can I keep from singing? Here are the words I spoke at her funeral:

I love my grandmother and I love my family…I have approached the writing of these words carefully. I long to honor and bless my family. I long to honor the life of my grandmother, our mom-o as we called her and above all I long to honor our Father God who was the very reason her life had such a profound impact on so many.

As I have thought and prayed about the words I would share Psalm 102:18 has been running through my mind… “Let this be written for a future generation that a people not yet created may know the Lord.” There are 11 Cardwell grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and many more that have yet to be created. I look to the day when the words, the stories, the very heritage, that has been shared today will be passed to generations yet to come.

My cousins and I are full of memories of our grandmother. So much so we could fill hours with recounting them all…thankfully the Lord gave us the opportunity to do just that. In the past week we have sat by her side as we have held her hand and shared our memories. (share memories page)

During this past week we have watched our three mothers honor their mother until the very end. The impact of having four generations present at mom-o’s side as she left this world was life changing. The room seemed to overflow with tears, praises being sung, scripture being read and love being expressed. All the life that filled the room at her moment of departure was inspiring.

Over the past week I have thought often of Isaiah 51:1 “listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn.” My grandmother and my mother have taught me to always use scripture in context and I am aware that this is a verse that was meant to encourage the exiled Israelites. However in mom-o’s final days I quoted it to her and told her I was finding great encouragement from it. For I look at the rock from which our family was cut and see a lineage of faithfulness- I see my cousins and I are people who have descended from those who have pursued righteousness. My cousins and I have watched my grandmother in her final days and in her final breaths find comfort and peace in the Word of God. Her passing has left a void, no doubt, but in a profound way I find difficult to express in words it has been an encouragement.

Our mothers, Vicki, Jan and Suzy loved their mother in a beautiful way…We witnessed them singing hymns over her, massaging her sore limbs, sleeping on the floor surrounding her bed so that if a need arose they could be the one to meet it, we saw them support each other as each grieved in a different ways, we saw them encourage each others children to express hope, love and memories to mom-o, we saw them take care of each others grandchildren, we saw that when one has the hope of heaven laughter is possible- that in 1st Corinthians 15:55 when it tells us the sting of death has been swallowed up in victory- it is a verse to be claimed and rejoiced in. We saw this verse lived out for eight days as each person came to realize the destination of the journey that we were on. We saw three sisters who loved their mother tell her it was ok to go…to claim her new body…to run to Jesus…to receive her ultimate healing. We saw them declare their love for their mom and for the Lord who was waiting to take her hand. As their children we were impacted in a way we are still absorbing. But in the entire world…you will not find 11 children more proud or more thankful to call Vicki Goode, Jan Kelley, and Suzy Jeffrey…Mom. Our Lord has given us a heritage of those who fear His name. There lives will continue to give testimony to the heart and life of their mother and father.

I have always loved Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Yet now at this stage of life I find this verse has taken on a deeper meaning. On August 10th at 9:33 I saw my mom-o’s flesh and her heart fail, yet in that moment I saw her take hold of a portion that will be hers for forever.

In 1860 a hymn was written by Robert Lowry…his words even now speak to my heart about our grandmother’s passage from this life to the next.
"My life flows on in endless song;Above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the sweet though far off hymnThat hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;It finds an echo in my soul—How can I keep from singing?
What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?
I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His—How can I keep from singing?

May the Lord be praised for the life of Val Cardwell. She has joined the chorus around His throne…how can we keep from singing?


Randy & Kelly Vaughn said...

Thank you Becky. My eyes are filled with tears right now. I am so thankful that you posted exactly what you shared last year on this day. It was perfect then and it is perfect today. We are so blessed to be her grandaughters. And I agree again with your words that we are so proud and thankful to call Suzy Jeffrey our Mom! Thank you Lord! And I truly love with all my heart Aunt Vicki and Aunt JJ. I love you Beck!

vicki said...

I too am moved to tears by reading/hearing your eloquence one year later. What beautiful thoughts, what precious memories...Love you my dear, Aunt Vicki

Murray & Jaime said...

I remember your Mom-O's service well. I was moved to tears then and again as I read your beautiful tribute.

You have the gift of speaking to the heart. I am blessed beyond words to call you friend. I can hardly wait to hear you speak again at our ladies retreat next month!

Love you!

Julie said...

What moving heart-lived words. You and your family ARE greatly blessed. I can see and feel what a great woman of the Lord Mrs. Cardwell was and is. Thank you for sharing this glorious tribute. I'm blessed to be your cousin and sister in the Lord!
P.S. Praising the Lord too for the Vaughn news from Benin! YEAH GOD!

mindy tyndall said...

Thank you for this post - a reminder of how important family is. I appreciate your prayers, and your encouraging comments. See you soon!
Hugs - Mindy

Lyndsey said...

Thank you Beck. I saved a copy of what you read on behalf of all of us, and have read it a couple of times this week. I watched the DVD of the service tonight, and I have never been so proud of the strength you showed in getting up there and getting through it. Like Kelly said, we are so lucky that God picked Val Cardwell to be our grandmother and that those Cardwell girls are our mothers. Love you!

WadeStrz said...

Hey Becky!

We got your sweet note in the mail this week - thank you so much!

It really is great hearing from you! If there is such a thing as a blog blessing it is that they provide a great way for old friends to keep in touch and 'in the know' of what's going on in everybody's world! I'll be sure to bookmark you.

Speaking of blogs - don't you just love Kelly's blog? It's so politically correct, isn't? (Giggle!)

Please tell Sam hello for me - I was so glad I got to see him at Mark's wedding last year.

Have a wonderful weekend,


(By the way, sweet words about your grandmother!)

Julia said...

I can't believe it has been a year since her passing. I never had the blessing of knowing your mom-o, but I am thankful for her because of the legacy she left that helped make you who you are! Thanks for sharing your words from her funeral. What a wonderful reminder of what we aspire to be! Love you!

Kelly said...

What a great legacy to leave for your be able to read these sweet words and tribute to someone who has obviously touched so many.

I want to ditto Wade's thank you. Your note was such a pleasant surprise. It reminded me very quickly of something I always admired in you...your gift and spirit of encouragement!

My favorite part of becoming a blogger has been getting to catch up with so many people. Your kiddos are adorable and are blessed to have such a thoughful and fun mom!

Kristi said...

Hey Becky good to hear from you. I am excited about school, this is my second year can you believe it. I will def. keep posting, now we can keep in touch. Are you coming to the wedding for Scott and Elizabeth? The whole family is invited, but the only address we had was Your parents. Just ask them about it. well talk to you later. love ya!