In honor of my beloved neighbor’s heavenly anniversary a week ago, I am republishing this post. To God be the glory: great things He hath done!
One summer night, I spent hours alone in my living room, lifting my heart up to God in worship. That day God had had me surrender all into His hands, as He compelled me to let my church leadership know that I would be leaving. After months of intense intercession, He asked me, through His Word to release all into His hands. My husband was on a business trip at the time, and our girls sound asleep upstairs: God gave me the gift of hours alone in His Presence.
Suddenly, an elderly neighbor came to my mind and this strange urging took over me. I longed to visit her and sing a hymn over her. I knew she had recently lost her beloved husband of many, many years, but neither my husband or I actually knew her personally. That urging remained with me through the morning, as I dropped my girls at school and preschool, until I found myself ringing her doorbell.
I remember feeling really embarrassed, wondering if my other neighbors would hear or see me and wonder what on earth I was doing. But when she opened the door, God’s boldness took over. As I sung that hymn in Dutch over her, with the aid of a YouTube version of the song on my phone, tears streamed down her face. She was a believer, and I didn’t even know it.
That would be the beginning of our friendship, as we then met with each other over coffee at various times through the next few years. My girls also visited with their freshly baked cookies and handmade cards and drawings to bless her at various times. But God’s surprises weren’t done. For, as we shared our stories and hearts with one another, we found so many parallels, as God comforted our hearts through each other.
We both knew the pain of watching fellow believers deeply hurt our loved ones, we both knew the horror of flashbacks after caring for our loved ones through cancer, and we both were like second Moms to our two youngest siblings, through our Moms’ struggles.
The day I pressed publish on Bettie’s post – Blue Thread – I received a card in the mail, announcing that my friend had flown, like her beloved common swift bird, back to her origin. I knew she was close to going home, as on my last visit to her assisted living apartment, I had seen how much her strength was failing. I am so thankful to God for Him pressing me to go that day, also through my husband’s encouragement, in the midst of our flurry of activity.
She had passed into heaven the day, Bettie sent me a photo of her deep blue sky, writing: “And look at the Indigo sky today. Heaven is here now too”, as we prepared to publish her post:
And beautifully, I had received that card the same day Bettie had received her gift from Lisa Anne and I – a sketch of hands holding a nest and a little sparrow. I had asked Lisa to draw hands holding a sparrow, but as she sat with my request, the Spirit of God compelled her to draw a nest inside those hands holding the sparrow: now I know why. God wanted to remind us all that He is weaving an eternal home for us all, as we join Him in His labor of intercession, and that there truly is no distance in the Spirit.
Yes, our God is always busy weaving His eternal blue thread around us, making us One in Him and revealing our eternal home in Him. For, as He hems us in on all sides, taking what is most precious to us, He is only doing so to open our eyes to see heaven unfolding before us – a fully healed, whole and united family of God. To give us what our hearts deep down most desire and what is in fact most precious of all – Himself.
As the cloud of witnesses cheers us on from above, God reminds us that in death and in life, we belong to Him. He reminds us that no one can snatch us from His mighty and sovereign hands.
For, His every eternal Word to us is steadfast and true. Oh may we lift our eyes up to the sky today and join all of creation in giving our God all of our praise. For, oh how worthy He is.