by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016
We are not promised life everlasting in this temporal realm (thanks be to God!) Thus each one of us at some point will indeed come to the end of life here as we know it and pass into that realm of unknowing where we receive the fullness of the inheritance that our Lord has promised us. It is the time of the fullness of betrothal–the time of complete restoration and reunion for the life in God and with God for which we were created which goes forth spanning all eternity.
Very unexpectedly my father reached this point the final week of April 2016. Because God created us to love, there will remain a deep heart-missing him until it is my time to pass from this life into the eternal life promised through Jesus. Yet, this post is not about grief, but about thankfulness. I am thankful. Actually, I am in abject awe and bowed down homage at the amazing beauty and gifts from the Lord which accompanied my father’s passing into his eternal reward. Sharing a bit of this with you is one way of giving God the glory (honor and credit) He is due in all this (by sharing the evidence of His perfect, loving provision in our family’s story).
What makes this all the more stunning is the realization that the Lord did not have to enable what He gave us as a family, yet He did. In His goodness and grace He gave us moment by moment beautiful gifts which we can string together to contemplate, remember and treasure more than the richest string of earthly pearls.
My father’s physical body had not been kind to him in recent years. Disabled to a lesser degree for a number of years, the past five or so years, the inability for his body to do what he wanted had become increasingly more so. Little by little his health gradually but steadily declined. Now 81, until his early 60’s he was a vibrant, strong, highly intelligent and talented man who took care of his wife and children in every regard. He was a smart engineer who could design whatever he needed and built it. He did not chase fame or notoriety, but was content and happy with the wife he ad cherished since he met her the first day of first grade in elementary school 75 years ago. He enjoyed his family and living a simple, full, rich life defined by relationships with people and a deep appreciation for God’s creation, not by things or stuff.
The past few months he started having symptoms of additional health issues and my m om set out to find the specialists to get these addressed. Suddenly on Monday, April 25th, the Holy Spirit whispered to me quite profoundly that these were not just additional health issues to be addressed and hopefully resolved, but signs that my father’s earthly physical body was shutting down. He was dying.
I am not trained medically. I live over 2 hours drive from my parents. Therefore there is no way I could have known this but for the graciousness of the Holy Spirit.
My mother was in ongoing, full-time caregiver mode and did not recognize the shift yet. The Lord prompted me to immediately drop everything (literally cancel every appointment and plan for the week) and rush to my parents in order to gain confirmation (or not) whether what I thought the Lord was telling me was accurate so that next steps could be decided.
This gave my mother and I an opportunity to talk—a pause whereby to process. Tuesday evening in discussion she came upon the possibility that his body might be shutting down herself. Wednesday morning, April 27th my mother and I prayed and asked the Lord to get us to the right people—whoever He knew they were—who could give us the information we needed. Did he need more diagnosis and treatment or did we need to let him simply enjoy his final days and pass?
There were many intertwining circles which swirled around us that day as piece by piece the Lord brought us the answer in His unique way–including a trip to the emergency room we had not asked for where they hydrated him a bit.
By Wednesday evening, the Lord had answered our prayer very specifically. We had been able to confirm that Dad was indeed close to going ahead of us to our eternal home in the presence of God.
Just before midnight, I sent out a detailed written update to family to let them know. Then what God did was astounding. He moved on the hearts of so many simultaneously to come–and to come quickly. All Thursday and Friday probably 30 to 40 family members poured in locally, regionally and from out-of-state to spend time with my father. There was such joy and peace which permeated the atmosphere! We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and my father was thrilled. It was like a grand celebration of the greatest gifts in life–love for one another. We got to be with my father and he felt oh-so-loved and appreciated. It was beautiful!!!
On Saturday, April 30th surrounded by the family he loved, my father puckered up and gave my mother (his wife of 58 years) one last kiss and departed. Beauty and gifts! Beauty and gifts!!! The Lord had given us time with him and time with one another when on our own we wouldn’t and couldn’t have known he was close to death, blessing him and all of us beyond words. (The doctor on Wednesday said that without the interim care he had received at the hospital on the emergency room visit ordered by a physician and not us, he would have died Wednesday night and none of us would have had the blessed time with him or one another.)
His passing from life to LIFE didn’t have to happen this way. Every passing into life everlasting is not this blessed. We are so thankful and in awe for the beauty He bestowed on every step of this and the many, many gifts on so many levels with him and with one another.
Were I to share the fullness of the details of all the Lord did, with us you would weep tears of joy and gratitude to the Shepherd King who loves so much even as He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. Even as our hearts ache with missing Dad (because God created us to love, so when one goes ahead, we miss them and it hurts), truly our cups are overflowing. We know with confidence (and we have seen the evidence) that His goodness and mercy will accompany us all the days of our lives and indeed we shall dwell together once again in the house of the Lord forever.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOMGod’s Wisdom is more precious than gold. This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org