Dear Mother-in-Law

Dear Linda J. Lucas,

February 6th is generally a sad day in our home.  That’s the day our Savior called you to His side.  Your baby girl, Michele, was 10 years old.  So close to embarking upon her journey into young womanhood.  Although I know you are with the Lord where there are “pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:11), I also know that way back then, the thought of leaving your little girl must have been agonizing.  

So, I am writing to you today.  Not because I think you are actually reading this letter.  Nor because I believe you are “up there somewhere looking down on us.”  I ascribe to neither of those views as I do not see them taught in the Bible.  I am thankful your spirit is with Jesus, and there is nothing but joy for you until the day when the Lord unites your spirit with your glorified resurrected body (1 Thess 4:13-18).

So, I am writing to you today for my own benefit.  Selfish?  Probably. But I am also writing to you in hopes that God might use my words, feeble as they be, to bless and encourage the women that God has so graciously placed into my care as Pastor.  

Linda, I am sorry I did not get to know you.  I do remember visiting you several times while you were on your death bed.  The cancer did not steal your obvious joy.  I remember you smiling at me more than once.  It was almost like you knew something.  

Indeed!  That little girl you left behind all those years ago . . . well, I married her.  And even though you had only ten years with her on this earth, I want you to know you did a great job as her mother!  Your infectious smile of joy now resides on Michele’s face.  In fact, after 25 years of marriage, I can say that your baby girl’s indomitable joy has been the greatest blessing of my life, save for the wonder of knowing my Savior by grace through faith.  Thank you for passing that joy along to her.  Its fragrance has spread to everyone who has ever taken time to get to know her.    

That girl you left behind grew into a woman. A woman who refused to allow her pain to define her. A woman who was given grace to repent of her sin and trust Christ alone for forgiveness.  A woman who has shown more grace and forgiveness to more people than anyone I have ever personally known.  Not the least of which is me.  A woman full of life, the very life of God!  A woman who laughs a lot. A woman who plays a lot. A woman who hugs a lot. A woman who loves a lot. A woman who cries a bit too much, because her heart is so soft and compassionate. A woman who devours God’s Word. A woman who loves Christ and His people. A woman who serves, and serves, and serves some more. A woman of grace.  A woman of faith. A woman saved by Christ, put in Christ, living for Christ, longing to be with Christ.  A woman who reflects Christ to so many.  A woman filled with the Holy Spirit.  I have heard these same things said of you by those who knew you best.  Thank you again, for showing your little girl Christ in the ten years God gave you with her.  As the old hymn says, “Little is much, when God is in it.”  

Your baby girl is “an excellent wife whose price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10).  

Your baby girl also grew up to be a Mom.  And this is where I struggle fighting back tears.  The humanity in me is so sad that you never got to see your baby girl’s baby girls.  They, too, are becoming women of indomitable joy.  The joy of Jesus!  And one of them is now a wife, looking to your little girl to know what it means to love and respect a husband in Christ Jesus.  The other has your face!  As you know, everyone called Michele “little Linda” because she looks so much like you.  Well, your adorable cheeks are now in their third generation!  You would love both of them and be so proud of them.  

I dry my tears now, sweet Linda, because Jesus is strong to save.  I dry my tears because Jesus will make all things new.  I dry my tears because Jesus has rendered death impotent.  I dry my tears now because by the mercies and everlasting electing love of God your baby girl and granddaughters will one day join you at the pierced feet of the Lord Christ.  And wonder of wonders I will too.  Whatever pains and heartaches and separations and longings we had down here will fade into the fabulous forever. 

And maybe, just maybe, by the sovereign goodness of our God, a 4th generation, yea a 5th generation, dare I say a 6th generation, of “little Linda’s” will sing with us there, “Worthy is the Lamb!”     

Come to think of it, February 6th is not just a sad day.  It’s also a glad day. 

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

February 6th is one of those days when we can hardly wait for the morning. 

by Keith McWhorter