Thursday, March 20, 2014

Amazing Grace

 I have never appreciated this song as much as I have these last few days.

 Have you sung this in your church?

Or maybe in your own quiet time?

It's a powerful hymn. 


Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
That saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found, 
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, 
And grace my fears relieved. 
How precious did that grace appear 
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares 
I have already come; 
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far 
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me 
His word my hope secures; 
He will my shield and portion be, 
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, 
and mortal life shall cease, 
I shall possess within the veil, 
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been there ten thousand years 
Bright shining as the sun, 
We've no less days to sing God's praise 
Than when we've first begun.

His grace made perfect in us. His grace extended to us even when we don't deserve it. 

Today we lay to rest my husband's father. 

But let me take you back to the last few days. 

My father-in-law had lung cancer and fought bravely.

Last Tuesday I went to visit him and tell him of all that was happening in the outside world. We talked about the weather, current events and even talked about memories we had together. 

After about an hour of me talking…him listening and not really responding…except for an occasional look in my direction…I decided that maybe we should sing. He used to sing all the time. 

So, I began with some hymns. 

Oh the Blood of Jesus
Amazing Grace
Be Thou My Vision

He listened for awhile. Then I began to sing them all again. 

Then as if he was in the choir again….slowly and at different intervals he began to hum them with me. 

Amazing Grace seemed to be his favorite. 

I was encouraged by this and continued singing. 

He would move his eyes….show recognition and then hum again. 

It was a sweet time with my father-in-law.

That was Tuesday. 

Sunday came. 

My husband and I stopped in for a visit.

He didn't look so good. Eyes closed and shallow breathing.

We stayed most of the day talking to him. Singing at different times and praying with him.

We knew this was probably the day we would be saying good-bye. 

At 3pm we both had a strong urge to go home and make his final resting place. 

You see, my husband was asked to make a simple, yet personal casket for his dad. 

This was an honor.

With great care my husband selected some of the lumber we felled from our shared land. Ash trees from the property we shared with his parents would be what comprised his place of final rest. 

Within 4 hours my husband and boys had constructed a simple but hand hewn casket for their grandfather/father. And my girls made the inner blanket.

Simple. From the land and full of love. 

It was finished.

We hurried back to hospice to be with him. 

We arrived at 7:30pm.

We spent more time talking and loving on him. He wasn't responding at all anymore. 

Breathing…but barely.

At 8pm we began to sing again. 

Amazing Grace…how sweet the sound. 

We sang that over and over and over. 

We cried. We sang. We sang and we cried. 

We held his hand. 

Steve stroked his hair and kissed his forehead. 

He told him it was okay to go. 

His brother and sister spoke kind words. 

We began to sing Amazing Grace a little louder. 

He closed his mouth, opened his eyes and tears fell. We watched as he took his last breath. 

And then all was quiet. 

It was 8:24pm.

It was the most peaceful passing.

We truly believe that he tried to mouth the last words of Amazing Grace with us.

We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

We aren't even guaranteed our next breath.

Reconciliation is ours if we make the time to ask for it.

Redemption awaits.

Amazing Grace.

How sweet the sound.

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