Tuesday, March 1, 2011


You know, the Lord has a funny way of confirming His will sometimes.

In the most unexpected ways.

I’ve shared with you that I go each week to an assisted living facility for the elderly. I am part of a church service that is offered to the residents. We sing hymns, we pray, we share stories and Scripture.

I’ve been blessed there –

But I’ve also shared with you that sometimes it’s been a real struggle.

Last Friday, our regular leader wasn’t going to be there. The other two ladies do not want to lead – so, by default, they let me do it. And last week was a very busy, tiring week. I was babysitting Marty, the sons’ beagle – and so, after a very early morning walk, and feeding him, and feeding me, and getting ready – I had to travel the 30 miles back into town where the service takes place.

On that drive, during morning traffic, I talked to God about my attitude.

"Lord, I’m so tired right now. And I just don’t want to go. I don’t want to lead, I don’t really feel like speaking, and I feel guilty that I’m feeling this way. Could you please show me something today that tells me You’re right there? Something that confirms to me that You still want me there?"

And with that, I pulled into the driveway and parked my car.

I hadn’t written anything original to share this week. In fact, just Thursday afternoon I had looked at my bookshelves, and randomly picked out a couple of Max Lucado books (He Still Moves Stones and No Wonder They Call Him Savior).

One of the books had some great stuff to say about getting older, about finishing your race well, about resting in the sure assurance of your salvation. And in the other one, I found some wonderful words about another Person who finished their race well – Jesus.

So, this was my talk for the morning.

When the service was done, as I always do, I made my rounds to all the people who had attended. I hold their hands, I talk with them, I smile and tell them how happy I am that they were there.

Though I’m not inclined to play favorites in life – I have to admit, I have a couple of residents that are extra-special to me. I have really made friendships with them.

Especially one – Rita.

Rita is a lovely, sharp, kind-hearted woman from Ireland. She's 90. I love to talk with her – her accent is just precious. We have become fast friends over the last two years. She is the only one who kisses me on the lips when she says goodbye – and I don’t mind – it’s like kissing one of my very own grandmothers.

I noticed last Friday that she was in a wheelchair, and she looked a little frail. I noticed that she kept falling asleep – and this wasn’t like her.

So as I was making my way to her side, the nurse who brings these people to our service came next to me and whispered, "Would you please pray with Rita?"

I said, "Of course."

I saved Rita for last.

I began talking to her. I could tell something was different. Her mind was still sharp as a tack, but she was weak. And she was talking in a way that she had never done before. I don’t know what led me to say this, but I looked her straight in the eye and said –

"Rita, are you dying?"

Her face lit up in a smile.

"Yes, dear, I am. But I’m so happy. I’m going home."

In that moment, the room faded from my consciousness, and a hush came over my spirit – and it was just me, and Rita, and God.

We talked awhile.

At one point, as tears were threatening to spill over, she touched my cheek with her hand and said –

"Do not be sad. I’m at peace. I’m going home. And I’m going to see my mother and father. It’s going to be wonderful."

I told her that I was sad for me – but not for her. I told I would celebrate her homecoming. I told her that she had run her race well. I told her that she had finished strong. I told her that I would miss her if she was gone before I saw her again. She replied –

"Oh, but I will see you again. I’ll be looking for your dear, sweet face to arrive."

And I said, "Oh, Rita – I’ll find you, too. And we will run and laugh and play with our Lord together!"

You know, God not only showed up for me last Friday. He showed me Himself – and He showed me the heart of a loved one on the very brink of eternity. He showed me, through the peace on Rita’s face, that all of His promises are true. He really does exist, He really does love us, He really has prepared a place for us, He really has given us the hope of eternity.

As I drove home, I thought of the words that God had called me to share that morning. The words of Max Lucado. And the words He had given me to say to Rita.

And I was reminded of the three best words I have ever known in my entire life – uttered by the One who gave His life on a cross…

It is finished.

Yes, indeed, it is.

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Hi Sharon,

    What a wonderful story and moving post, you have me near to tears. How great it must be to feel like that at the point of death, well of going home. I am sure you are a great blessing to these folks, hope you are able to recharge your batteries soon - God Bless - Nita

  2. Wow, Sharon! That post stirred my emotions! In fact, it got me crying -- in a good way. What a beautiful time you had with Rita...and as much as she encouraged you, I know you encouraged her. Thank you for serving the Lord in this way. I know it pleases Him.

    Blessings, Joan

  3. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you for this rich warm piece. It sure ministered!

    I love how the Holy Spirit had you to speak those words about dying to Rita and how she joyfully responded.

    Also, I love how you ended with "It is finished."
    Praise our Lord that He uttered those words...
    and what happened for us after his great sacrifice.

    As for Rita...

    Revelation 14:13 - KJV
    And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

  4. Nothing like jerking on the heartstrings early? Great and gracious blessing of our God! Lord bless you!

  5. How wonderful. We need not fear death for
    it is only the beginning. Our homegoing
    is to be celebrated and it sounds like
    Rita's truly was.

  6. Wow, Rita, what a powerful post. What a glorious homecoming that will be. I'm glad it will last forever because it will take a very long time to reunite with so many loved ones there. Rita sounds like such a wonderful person. I'm glad you shared this experience with us.
    BTW No Wonder They Call Him the Savior is my favorite Max Lucado book.

  7. My goodness, I just noticed I called you Rita. Sorry about that, Sharon. I have a feeling you don't mind me calling you Rita though.

  8. ohhh my Sharon... I read this moving, inspiration with huge tears swelling up in my eyes and I actually had to step away from my laptop until I could recollect my thoughts to comment a bit.

    How special and lovely Rita is! How beautiful the Lord's sweet spirit in you and her! How absolutely touching your time with the Lord together... even your honest prayer 'cuz He definitely already knew that anyways... yet He just never fails to show up in a BIG WAY!

    Such unselfish love and service! Such encouragement! Such a well directed message!

    Great choices off your book shelf! I miss being able to pull treasures like that off my shelves back home, but I have restarted a good collection here, and though some are in Spanish, Max Lucado (and even Stormie O.) just are not the same to me except in English! I only have "In the Grip of Grace" with me. But I saw both of those in Spanish at the church bookstore (they just cost way too much, no wonder not that many Mexicans buy them to read)!

    You certainly ministered and tied this "race" altogether but I know that you were also ministered to greatly! That's how it is!

    Powerful last 3 words: the 6th of Christ's last great 7 sentences spoken from the Cross:
    "It is finished"...

    I prefer "Well done..." but yours certainly nail(s) the point home...

    Rita, Sharon...‘Well done, good and faithful servants! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!’
    (even Marty would prefer this) that we can look forward with hope at being reunited with dear ones... Thank You Lord Jesus for this special moment in time, reflection of Your Words:
    (1) "Father, Forgive them(US)...
    (2) "This day U will be with Me..." Thank You (3) "Woman behold your son...
    (4) "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me...
    and yet You never forsake us.
    (5) "I thirst..."
    (6) "It is finished..."
    (7) "Father, into Your hands..."
    I just received this study as an option for Lent from Dr. Ralph Wilson but I did this last year and he has two others Jesus Walk.com

    With all you share...I may never need another online study! Thanks Sharon for your faithful- ness in spite of how we feel... I love all He showed you and revealed of our eternity with Him

    Yes that's a HAPPILY EVER AFTER! That's how it is when we serve that we receive more from them

    Love, peace and JOY,

  9. I really can't comment, I need to take off my shoes, for I am standing on holy ground.
    This is what it is all about! Those who know Him so personally know when He is calling them home. My mother-in-law is 95 and still going strong, so I could just hear her voice in these words.
    Precious...hold it close, treasure the truth God showed you....His love hug to you.

  10. Oh Sharon - Rita was a woman of courage and so were you to talk to her about dying. I would find that so hard to do - I would be afraid. That would push me out of my comfort zone.

    So yeah to Rita for knowing and not being afraid of where she was going and to you - to let her talk about it.


  11. Your relationship with Rita is so very rich! Thank you for the blessing of sharing it. God is faithful!

  12. Sharon - wow, I don't have adequate words. Rita's words...so encouraging that yes, someday we will all be going home...and we will see those that have gone on before us.

    Well, I just stop here.

    Beautiful post!

  13. I keep forgetting, but maybe I said something and forgot I said it, I think it is awesome the work you do there at the assisted living center! I bet it is sooo appreciated especially when you take the time to spend saying goodbye to them and praying. I almost opened this with trepidation wondering if Rita had gone home already (prayed for her). It is neat to be at that place to be ready to go home (although there have been many a day I have said "Okay Jesus, today would be a good day for you to come back".

    It continues to amaze me how God does work in our lives and how he gives us words, changes our heart if we allow him to work, and moves us to be more like his son Jesus! It is so neat to see his work in your life Sharon!


  14. After a whirlwind weekend and two whirlier windier teaching days, it was wonderful to come home to blogland and read this.

    I don't have to tell you how much I "get" this one. My little group of favorite old ladies is dwindling before my eyes. My very favorite one of all went home in December. I didn't blog about it because I was at an uncharacteristic loss for words.

    These old treasures give us SO MUCH in their living. I think, though, that it's what they give us in their dying that stays with us the longest.

    Wonderful tribute to Rita. I pray that her homegoing is simply grand.

  15. Sharon, this is just beautiful. I'm not a writer at all, but I want you to know how much this means to me. I have spent part of the last few weekends at a retirement center and old age and death are part of each day of living there as well. So glad you could be honest with your friend and have that conversation. And this is our joy as Christians...we will live happily ever after!

  16. Oh, my dearest friends. What a blessing you all are.

    It is late tonight, so I hope you don't mind if I do a response to all of you together, instead of individually.

    First of all, thank you so much for all your kind words about Rita. She is just such a very lovely person. If she is still on this earth come this Friday, I will tell her of all your heartfelt thoughts for her. And I will tell her how she has blessed us. How she has given us renewed hope. How she has shown us the love of our Father, who awaits all of us someday. If she is gone, I'll let you all know so we can celebrate together.

    And just wait until you meet her! She is very special.

    I also want to tell you how very kind your comments were. You guys just encourage me so much - more than you'll ever know. And in this particular instance, the words you said about what I'm doing right now at the assisted living facility - well, they fortified me. It's difficult to go - but the Lord keeps showing me that HE wants me there. So, when you speak your words of support, you also confirm His will for me. And you really pick me and give me new strength. Thank you for that...

    Hope you all had a wonderful day. As I said before, I'll keep you updated on Rita.



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)