It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish

I sat by her bed.

Her hand swollen…full…unmoving.

Feet that danced just a few weeks ago now stilled. Arms that lifted just a short time ago now limp. Words that spilled easily just a moment ago now halted. How could life seep away so quickly, right before my eyes?

Mom was ready. But I wasn’t.

Mom called to tell me she was going to the emergency room. She had abdominal pain and couldn’t stop throwing up. I had just been at her house four days before, and this was something new.

“She has an ileus,” the doctor explained. “Part of her intestines have stopped working. But her heart isn’t strong enough to survive surgery. If her intestines don’t start working on their own, she will die.”

Four weeks into the sitting and waiting, it looked like Mom was going to get to go Home. Not to her little brick house in the colonial neighborhood…the one with cedar shingles, cobblestone street, and white picket fence where she had lived for more than 25 years, but her home in a celestial neighborhood with familiar faces, golden streets, and the presence of God. Mom was ready. She had been planning the party for quite sometime.

I gently held her fluid-filled hand. Sky-blue eyes looked off into the distance. Her mind replaying bits and pieces of life.

“Mom, whatcha thinking about?” I asked.

It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” she whispered.

“Who told you that?” I asked with a knowing smile.

“You did,” she replied.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you more,” she countered.

Mom had regrets. We all do…if we’re honest. But she finished well. She had made sure that her grandkids, extended family, and I knew we were loved. She had made preparations of her passing as easy as possible for me, the lone child responsible for all the details. She loved Jesus and was thrilled to get to see Him face to face.

The last week of her life, I was having a bit of a crying spell. Mom had requested the doctors remove all the machines, all the tubes, all the medications. “Comfort care.” That’s what they called it.

“Well Mom, it looks like you’re going to get to see Jesus before I do.”

And in a quick wit that served her well to the end, she teased with a twinkle in her eye, “Are you jealous?”

And to be honest…I was.

We never know when our last day on this earth will be. But here’s what we do know—we have a choice right now, today, to finish well. Your new start to the finish could begin today. Regardless of your past mistakes and missteps, weakness and failures…regardless of how you started this race, you can decide to begin your finish well.

What is one thing you can do to begin to finish well today?

Do you long to sense God’s presence this summer? Do you want something more in your relationship with Him? I know what it feels like to have that “glory ache”–a longing to experience God’s presence on a daily basis. I also know how easily busyness can get in the way of that. Join me in A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More to discover how to hear God among the noise of the world, see God among the blur of life, and sense His majesty among the mundane. This was mom’s favorite book!

 

8 Responses to It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish

  1. Tina Brown May 30, 2017 at 5:52 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story. Praying that you will feel Gods arms as He wraps them around you. I know he is there because “God is close to the broken hearted” psalm 35:18.

  2. Janet Toyin May 30, 2017 at 7:16 am #

    Your words are inspiring. It’s just exactly eight years my dad passed to glory.what a coincident!

  3. Jackie Harden May 30, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    My deep condolences to you Sharon as you await your Mothers passing. I’m so glad she is finishing well. I too want to finish well. Bless you for all the ways your words and devotions have blessed so many.

  4. Susanne Kessaris May 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    Sharon, You spoke to me through these words. I am sorry that you lost your mother. My mother is still living although she is slowly becoming more frail. I cherish every day with her. Thank you for sharing the great pain of your loss. May God continue to comfort you through His love as you walk through grief.

  5. Mary Tait May 31, 2017 at 9:02 pm #

    Thank you! This story spoke to me at a time when I have lost lost hope in Christians. I need to finish well for my grandchildren and adult children! Love covers…. yes

  6. debi tricerri June 10, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

    i am so sorry to hear about the passing of your mom…it’s hard, no matter how old we are. may you be comforted with the fact she is now in the presence of Jesus…and you will see her again.

  7. Vinay Sharmaa June 21, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    sorry for your loss my condolences are with you, your story made me think of how less time i spend with my mother from now on i will cherish every moment with her. thank you sharon for sharing such a beautiful story god bless you…

  8. Doyin July 13, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    May God help me, i really want to be earing from God

Leave a Reply