I write this week in loving memory of my niece Mary Katherine.
As I decide what to write I contemplate back on its sadness. After a couple of months of struggle my niece Mary Katherine passed away. It was a sudden illness that took her home to be with Jesus. Some of my sadness comes from the fact that I never really got to know her. Miles and busy lives kept us apart. Despite this I felt close to her and the family because I prayed for them often.
Last week I talked about how I added people to my prayer list because I had a difficult time relating to them. Those weren’t the only people on my list. I wanted to be closer to family but miles and lifestyles kept us apart. My family prayer list started years ago to keep up with all the new nieces and nephews being born. And when we moved away praying for them built that closeness in my heart.
I missed this warning label when I was introduced to intercessory prayer years ago. No-one mentioned that I would feel extreme sadness. I have realized over the past year that praying for friends and relatives can be painful when they pass on to the next life. I grieve stronger and longer over those on my prayer list because I have spoken their names and presented them to the Father in heaven nearly every day for years. Taking them off of the list is difficult.
Within the past year I have lost two people from my list. I thank God that He has welcomed them into their reward, but I miss them. I hurt for their families and pray all the more fervently for them to be comforted.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
I guess if I were super spiritual I would say that I rejoice that they have moved on to their reward, but I am very human and grieve that they have left this life. The good news is the very idea that I grieve so much tells me that praying for others does connect us in the Spirit of God. It proves that my heart is soft enough to care. It proves that in some way I have changed a life by my prayers, even if that life was just my own.
The heavens are a little brighter today, while those on earth share some grief. Enjoy your family and friends while you can because all too soon they may be gone.