Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dance with Jesus

Tuesday I attended a memorial service in honor of my mother, Kristy Dykes who died last July from a glioblastoma brain tumor. My mother was a pastor's wife serving 37 years in church ministry along side my dad. She was a published award winning author, speaker, writer, painter, pianist and so much more. A talented woman. Her grave marker reads Pizazz! Enthusiasm! High Energy! This describes her perfect.

I flew into Orlando without the kids on Monday for the short two day trip and my dad and Wanda picked me up. Julie joined us and we had a wonderful time together.

What is it like having a stepmother after the death of my own sweet and wonderful mother? Wanda is a comfort, a soothing balm to a wounded and worn soul. There is a spoken and even unspoken understanding and love that flows from her heart. She is a rare gift of hope and promise from God Himself.

Tuesday was the memorial service given by the Assemblies of God at their annual district council. It was in honor of all the ministers and spouses of ministers who have passed away in the past year. We sat in the front of a church that seats 6,000 and waited for my mother's name to be called and her picture displayed in a brief moment of honor.

Sitting there grief and disbelief grabbed hold of my heart. Waves of tears threatened to shake me to the core. Suppressed sobs and screams demanded to ring out of my heart and spill through tightly drawn lips.

"How oh how, will I ever be able to grab a hold of myself?" I wondered desperately. My eyes stealing fleeting glances at the many others who dabbed at tears with tightly wadded tissues. Their eyes rimmed red with tears that spilled in grief for their loved one. "Get control of your emotions, Jennifer." I shouted quietly to myself.

But oh how my heart bucked against reason and longed for once to be let loose in loud, long wails of grief and pain...

"Your beloved sweet mother is dead and you are all alone. You sit on a bench with only a rose to hold, instead of her sweet hand. She is gone...gone...gone...!"

Suddenly her name was announced, we stood in shock looking up at the picture of her beautiful smiling face. So full of love for life, passion and energy. And then it was gone. Blinked out and another face flashed on the screen. We sat down almost unwillingly as our hearts sighed for her to come back... "just one more minute...don't take her picture down..."

Crushed I felt. Defeated. Left feeling robbed, I sat with my shoulders slumped, head bowed and hid behind a curtain of my long brown hair. And then someone started singing. Something about Jesus the Savior.

I closed my eyes and listened to the music with my heart. Sweet images of my precious Savior Jesus started washing over my weary mind. My soul became silent and still with the knowledge that He is God.

I felt a gentle whisper into my heart calling me. Ever so quietly. Ever so sweetly. Ever so softly like a gentle flutter of a butterfly wing against my soul. A voice called... "Look Jennifer! Can you see? Can you see her, Jennifer? Can you see us? Look with your heart, not your eyes Jennifer! Look! See!"

Looking with the eyes of my heart, I strained against a cloudy and unclear vision. But I saw! A sigh of instant peace and joy washed over my soul.

For there in my minds eye was placed the beautiful and perfect image of my mother held tenderly in the arms of Jesus. And they were dancing! Dancing slowly to the same sweet worship music I was hearing! My heart sang: "Jesus, I see! I see her! She is perfect and made whole and smiling! She isn't gone! She's right there in your embrace, dancing with You!

Real or imagined, that image remains forever burned in my mind. Hope replaces broken despair! Peace replaces raging, unchecked grief! Joy replaces despondent sorrow!

Oh to have such eternal hope! Won't you too trust Him? Don't you too hear Him calling you? Whispering tenderly to you, "Look! See! Oh how I love and care for you!"

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, How sweet and beautiful You are! At times You take my breath away. I am speechless in front of Your stunning beauty. Just what is so beautiful about You, some may ask? Why, it is Your amazing selfless love! It is Your perfect love that is so stunning!


Aunt Becky said...

Oh Jennifer - how beautiful this is. How talented you are with words - you have your Mother's gift of writing, of putting into words what is in your heart. I cried and cried as I read your comments - how touched I was! Oh, Jennifer, there are things I will never understand, but all I can do is trust God - just as you have to do. I know you miss your Mama; I know that tomorrow will be a hard time for you and Julie and the kids - but just keep seeing that picture of her dancing - I'm picturing it in my mind, too - I see a smile on her face. We're sad, yet so happy that she is in Jesus' arms. Have you thought of carrying on with writing where your Mom left off!!!! You are so gifted, so talented. I love you, Jennifer.
Aunt Becky

milton dykes said...

Your words let love and hope rise again. Sorrow is replaced by His joy. Brokenness by His wholeness. Dejection with His eternal acceptance.

We are not alone. We walk with His strength and grace.

Thank you, Jennifer, for writing from your heart.

Kristy is dancing with Him. I see it too.

Write more and more will come.

Love, Dad

Norma MCGee said...


Since we as believers are Christ's bride, why wouldn't He dance with us?

That is a beautiful thought that I have never heard before.

Love you,
Aunt Norma

B. J. Brooks said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom and Wanda. It's very hard to step into someone elses world and be a comfort, but Wanda couldn't fill that spot without the open heart that you have given her. So much like your mom, loving and giving.

Wanda is very blessed to have you also.

Keep writing Jennifer you have a God given talent of expressing your most inner thoughts. I saw Kristy dancing as I read your words.

Many Blessings

THOMBU1 said...

Thank you Jennifer for sharing this with us. I spent a hard day Sunday without my Mom again on Mothers Day, but this blessed me and eased my pain. She too is dancing with our Lord. May He ill us all with that peace.

Anonymous said...

I spent most of last night reading your mom's and dad's blogs after reading about your mom on still another blog. You are so blessed to have had such a wonderful mother. I envy you. My mother was mentally ill and we never had any kind of relationship. I very rarely share that with anyone as I have had people actually laugh, like it's funny. There is nothing funny about mental illness. My father spent years as my mother's enabler, allowing his parents to raise me. My grandmother was a good woman but totally unsuited to raise a girl child (she had only boys). I used to long for a young, pretty mother like my friends had, who would take me shopping and show me how to use makeup. My grandmother thought makeup was sinful and never went shopping just for the fun of it. She disliked emotional scenes and personal conversations about "girl stuff". I now know she did the best she could. I think the first thing she did when she reached heaven's "streets of gold" was to give them a good scrub, probably scolding St. Peter for tracking mud.

My mother died in her 60's from a heart attack. Her death was hastened by severe diabetes. My father did not tell me she was ill until she was near death. He had asked her if she wanted me to be told and she said no. I was called out of a meeting at work to take an emergency phone call. I nearly had a heart attack myself, fearing something had happened to my daughter, then in college. But it was my father on the phone. First, he scolded me for not answering my cell. I told him it was turned off because I was in a meeting. Then he told me about Mother. I erupted in anger because he had not called me sooner. The hospital was a two hours' drive away. Mother was in a coma, barely breathing, it seemed to me. I sat by her bed for a while. I read somewhere that hearing is the last thing to go. I wanted so badly to ask her "Why?" Why she had destroyed my father's life and my life and deeply hurt her family of origin? I wanted to ask her if she had ever, at any time, loved me? But I did not ask any of these things. My father hovered nearby, acting as her watchdog as he had done for almost 50 years. I left and was not present when she died. In accordance with her wishes, she was cremated and there was no viewing or service at the funeral home. A simple graveside ceremony sufficed. My daughter was unable to be present since it was the week of final exams. Just as well, as she did not remember her grandmother.

Jennifer said...

Aunt Becky, Yes I would LOVE to continue with my mom's work! We talked in depth about this before she died. It was her wish that I finish her last story. I am not the writer she was, but the desire is there and she liked the ideas I had for the story, she liked my spin. Thanks for commenting, your words touched me and inspire me to find a way to write more.

Aunt Norma, Oh yes we are His bride! I think of that often and perhaps having a husband that doesn't believe has helped me to see Christ in a unique light...

Tom, I'm glad my words comforted you on a difficult day. I know in my heart He dances with us all like that, it is that hope that gets me through hard times.

Anonymous, How my heart breaks at reading your story. Mental illness is very painful and a hard journey that most don't understand. I'm sorry it touched your life in such a painful way. I can only pray that Jesus becomes your everything. The mother you never had, the father who wasn't there. I don't understand why somethings happen. I only know that when I look into the eyes of Jesus, I find something deep and personal there just for me. It is my desire that other's can learn of this wonderful secret too. God bless.

THOMBU1 said...

Jennifer, I know I sent this one before that I wrote for Kristy in her last days, but I was reading it again the other day, and I sensed the breath of Jesus on it and wanted to send it again. Be encouraged, she is with the One who loves her more than we did. She has reached the depths of His heart.

Safe and Secure

Safe and secure in Jesus Christ
In Him she has hidden all of her life
Reared in His shadow and master plan
Shielded from harm by His mighty hand
Taken from evil and pulled near to Him
Rescued from torment and all that is vile
Kept in His presence gazing on His smile
Wrapped in the garment of praise to her King
Shouting His praises she dances before Him
Loving her Savior with fervent desire
To serve Him in gladness and joy
What joy, what faith, what Love for Her God
How faithful, how loving, how true
Anointed, and blessed and kept in Hs care
Trusting Him always keeping Him near
Raptured in His presence in true Love Devine
Taken from care and placed in sweet peace
Feeling redemptions sweet release
Knowing her life is hidden in Him
Holding her heart in His nail scarred hands
Every beat, beats for Him
Every thought is captured by Him
Her desire is to see Him in His glory Devine
His countenance she longs to gaze upon
She aches for His sweet embrace
She longs to hear Him say
Come hold my hand and don’t let go
Hold on tight as we journey on
I will lead you where you need to go
Follow me closely, walk with me
To wonders unseen and treasures unknown
To the depths of my being, the depths of my heart

Anonymous said...

Have you abandoned the blog? We love your writing and your posts. Come back!

Rilda Peel said...

I just ran upon your blog and it is so pretty. Your post so heart felt as you realize in reality Jesus and your Mother are rejoicing that their union is complete. Now when your time comes you will know that it is His perfect love and His perfect peace that consume to the point of perfection. Leaving the earthly ties to reside in the home that awaits where love surrounds and no evil is found. Sending a [[[[[ hug ]]]]] full of His healing love.
Born to be blessed always!
In His plan, rilda *U*

Seedplanter said...

Jennifer, I miss your blog posts. I know August 2 is fast approaching, and I am praying for you. It's extremely hard to pick up the pieces of one's life and move on without a mother. I feel the loss of mine after five years, and can't believe it's been that long already.

In heaven, time is no issue. Our mothers are content and WHOLE. We can rejoice in that.

THOMBU1 said...

Jennifer, we are thinking of you! May God continue to comfort your heart as he has mine since 2003. I feel that only in His presence is fullness of joy. May He grant you that Joy unspeakable and full of Glory.
Julie will be fine. She is in the Hands of God and His care is full of compassion.