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Archive for December, 2013

On July 12, 2013 my Great Aunt Gloria left this world of suffering to be in the eternal presence of God.

My family was in Angel Fire, New Mexico celebrating our bi-annual family reunion.

Everyone was groggy with bedhead lounging around eating breakfast. My Dad comes into the room and announces that my great aunt passed away the night before.

I pretty much collapsed as I slowly walked to my dad’s open arms.

People have told me that an individual will experience death’s grief over someone close to them. There isn’t a way around that in the tainted world we live in.

Aunt Gloria was the first time I’ve experienced something of the sort.

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Sometime before 2000
(I’m the one on the left with the dark blue dress.)

I guess I should explain that before the last two years, I hadn’t really known who Gloria Jean Hargrove was. Growing up, Aunt Gloria was simply an extended family member who always brought the tastiest deviled eggs to the family holidays. But, as I came to discover, she wasn’t just another extended relative. Aunt Gloria was a kind, wise, and loving woman of God. She lived life without fear, a confidence like none other I’ve known. She outlived her husband, and three children, and raised one of her grandsons as her own. Aunt Gloria loved and she invested her time loving on earth. Mumford and Sons writes in one of their songs, “And where you invest your love, you invest your life”. That is exactly what Gloria did.

Never let your age discourage you. Never think that because you are too young or too old you are unable to inspire someone. At 84 years old, God used Aunt Gloria to speak Truth into my life.

In the Fall of 2011 I began visiting Aunt Gloria in her nursing home. She’d inform me once again how bad the food was and how nothing was really happening at the nursing home. In return, she would listen to me go on and on about my daily life. I would share with her my ideas about school papers, dates to dances, discoveries about my personal relationship with God, etc.

Right before I turned 18, I was sharing with her that my parents were hosting an 18th Blessing at my house and I was to share my testimony. I told her that I didn’t really know what to say in my testimony, because most testimonies I hear at various places are filled with partying, pain and suffering. Then God comes along and brings hope…she stopped me in the middle of my ramble, looked at me and said, “Naomi, you don’t have to suffer to be grateful. And you have so much to be grateful for.”

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Christmas 2011

She taught me then and there that this life isn’t to be taken lightly. I should be more than grateful that I had the opportunity of growing up in a Christian home, surrounded by people that love the Lord with their life. I should be grateful that God protected me from involvement in things I shouldn’t be involved in.

Though her body was deteriorating, her mind was as sharp as ever.

And her faith in God even stronger.

“Being a Christian is but a dead thing unless we are filled with the Spirit of divine life.” Charles Spurgeon

Gloria was definitely filled with the Spirit.

Not only did Gloria’s relationship with God stand out in her life, but she lived a full life.

She approached life as an adventure, a journey, with a zeal to embrace life as God gives.

In his novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan writes,

“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”

Gloria gave the nursing home workers chocolate as little “rewards”. Whenever I visited her, she’d offer me chocolate as well. One time in this past year I was hesitating about eating a second chocolate. A smile on her face, Aunt Gloria declared, “Eat another chocolate, live dangerously.”

Gloria Jean Hargrove was an intricately designed human being. Like all of us, she had a unique personality and a unique look to her. God used Gloria to teach me that everyone needs someone to view them in this light. Every individual is intricately created for God’s glory.

I cannot say it enough. Invest in people’s lives. And heed the wisdom given to you.

Smile. Be transparent. Make known of what God has done in your life.

Psalm 20:7 writes, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.”

At times I look at my great aunt’s passing in a negative and selfish light. Thinking, “Now I can’t talk to her anymore. I didn’t see her enough. I this. I that…”

I am sad.

I wish I had invested in her life more.

But, you know what? This is not the end. I will see her again. She is no longer paralyzed.

We will walk the streets of gold together. We will worship God together on the New Heaven and the New Earth.

My best friend encouraged me with the following words when I told her of my great aunt’s passing:

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

On the drive home from my family reunion in New Mexico I was listening to Needtobreathe. One of their songs, Streets of Gold, specifically caught my attention.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urGMGOvYyjA

Indeed, the day will come when Aunt Gloria and I will walk the streets of gold.

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George MacDonald.

Born 1824. Died 1905.

Author. Poet. Minister.

He was a mentor to  C. S. Lewis.

Friends of G. K. Chesterton, Henry Longfellow, and Walt Whitman.

He saw life unlike many do today. Read his writings. They are tremendous.

Where Is The Work? By George MacDonald 

I said, “I will walk in the fields.” God said,

“Nah, walk in the town.” 

I said, “There are no flowers there.” He said,

“No flowers, but a crown.”

I said, “But the fogs are thick and clouds 

Are veiling the sun.”

He answered: “But hearts are sick and souls 

In the dark undone.”

I said, “But the skies are black; there is

Nothing but noise and din.”

And He wept as He led me back. “There is more,”

He said; “there is sin.”

I said, “I shall miss the light and friends will

Miss me, they say.”

He answered: “Choose ye tonight is I must 

Miss you or they.”

I pleaded for time to be given. He said, 

“Is it hard to decide?

It will not seem hard in heaven to have 

Followed the steps of your  guide.”

Be inspired dear friend. Let us continue seeking Christ with hands held high.

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