Being confronted with death has a way of causing us to take a look at our lives and ask the question, “What really matters?” The diagnosis tore us apart: an inoperable brain tumor. A ticking time bomb, barring a Hail Mary miracle, was growing in the beautiful mind of the woman I called Mum, my Australian-born husband’s mother, Jenny.
She was young and beautiful and, as an accomplished pianist, just beginning to compose some of the most stunning, heaven-breathed music. She spoke an eternal language through her fingers and into our hearts. Even in her last days, when she could no longer speak, we’d put on her music, and she’d cock her head sideways, registering with the language that had always made sense to her—music.
On November 17, 2017, she left this planet and walked into the arms of her Savior. Selfishly, I felt robbed. Robbed of all the years ahead that I wanted her to be a part of—my children graduating, getting married, having her great-grandchildren so that she could hold them in her arms and bless them with innumerable kisses. And I wanted her for me too, not just for my kids. We had worked so hard at our relationship. It was tender, real, connected, honest, and beautiful, but not without a fight. She truly had become my mum, and just like that, the breath in her lungs was gone.
The way she lived her life got me deeply pondering my own. If I were to die in a year’s time, what letter would I want to write to my children, the church, and the generations to come? What would I want to leave with them? As quickly as I had the thought, the answer came to me—I would want them to know the difference between a life lived faking it with a hollow religion, obligation, mediocrity, people pleasing, and rule following and a life lived passionately following Jesus.
A life lived drawing a line in the sand, committing to a beautiful journey of discovery on the road less traveled, full of revelation, mistakes, and honest moments; relationships lived in reciprocity, simplicity, and power. A life lived discovering how to powerfully walk in the ways of Jesus on a daily basis, learning and adhering to the truth and stepping into the life that Jesus died to give them, seeing His kingdom come and His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Following Jesus is a daily invitation for more, and it’s not always easy. This is how Jenny, my mum-in-law, followed Jesus, and it was beautiful to behold.