My mom went home to be with the Lord on February 6, 2014. This was a very difficult time for me as this was my last parent. I then felt like an orphan. There were those who reminded me that I still have a Father who loves me very much. Abba, Daddy God. It was with God's prompting that I was able to give my personal eulogy and expression of my love to my Mom.
Homegoing Service - February 14, 2014
Annie Pearl Williams, My beloved Mother
After taking time and reflecting back on the time that mom was with us, and talking with my pastor back home, I began to seek guidance and understanding about everything that she went through in this life, the physical life. I was led to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23.....and it reads "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Then I began to think about why God kept her here suffering for so long. She lived a long full and beautiful life; she taught her children everything that she knew. Let me clarify, when I say children that meant every child in her life. God has shown great favor over her lifetime. She lived through the loss of 2 sons, she lived through my period of crazy teenage years as well as my era of my 20's, she lived through life with 2 sons in military, she lived through my dad's battle with Alzheimer disease, determined that she would continue to care for him, although her own health was failing as well and finally she lived through her beloved, my dad's transition to Glory. Yet I still wondered why God allowed her to endure so much pain?
God then dropped in my spirit as I was reading and meditating on these scriptures, "A Preserved Life". I said "hmm, I think I get it. My mom's life has been preserved by God. Preserved. God revealed this phrase to me on January 25, 2014, exactly 12 days prior to mom's transition to Glory. The number 12 is a relevant number throughout the Bible and is demonstrated quite frequently such as 12 sons of Jacob, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 disciples of Jesus, 12 gates of New Jerusalem. The number 12 is used symbolically to reflect divine authority and that God is always in control. When God wants to demonstrate His control, He stamps the number 12 all over it so that we understand, it is of His perfection.
According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, preserved means to keep safe from harm, or destruction, to keep in good condition, to protect, to keep alive, make lasting, etc. You all get the jest of what I am saying.
My mother was 87 years young. In her lifetime, she encouraged, she taught, she comforted, she witnessed, she disciplined, and with a firm hand I might add. Amen? She fed many, she claimed many as her own and she loved her family and those she claimed as her own.
Although our house was a welcoming environment indeed, you knew never to test her! Our mom didn't play! If anybody at our house, whether a resident or not, niece or nephew, or one of her "chosen kids", and I call them chosen because she loved and cared enough to share wisdom with them and disciplined them just as if they were her own, therefore EVERYBODY would get DEALT with and make no mistake about it....it would be by ANY MEANS NECESSARY! In fact, she didn’t have to even know you! You all know what I mean!
Now my mom was not one to spoil the child and spare the rod "oh how she NEVER spared the rod! Although she was quite a disciplinarian, she did it quite lovingly. In fact she loved us enough to tell us in every lick sometimes adding extra syllables to words extending the time and agony of our whooping. My generation did not know the meaning of "time out, spankings or to have our electronics taken away". We instead got "whooping’s" and most times we had to get outside to fetch our own "switch" and that walk felt as if you were headed to the execution chamber. Heaven forbid if you bring back something close to normal, it was far too small for her liking! Mama would then go get the whole tree branch! And if we made her really, really mad, she would make us "wait for the whooping" and sometimes that could be days or weeks! That was more agonizing than the whooping itself! But then when she was ready, OMG! She would go back months from stuff we thought we were cool on saying, "oh you thought I forgot, didn't you! You remember that time.... and then that other time.... and the list grew longer and so did our whooping.
My mom was a very beautiful and, an amazing, courageous Woman of God. She stood firm on every promise of God. She knew God was with her during the highs and the lows. She was truly an optimist with a free spirit, a colorful spirit, recognizing God is in control. Just to reflect on her colorful spirit, not only was this an incredible internal quality, but also reflected externally. She loved colorful flowers, colorful scarves, jewelry, hats and clothing. In fact, she loved color so much, that she shared her love for color with me at a young age. Looking back at my elementary school pictures, I was later in therapy a little while for the outfits that I wore and back then. One particular outfit I remember that was handpicked by my mom was a red and green plaid dress with hues of yellow accented by a red white and blue striped vest with white stars. I was convinced at that time that my outfit was the bomb. After I became an adult and revisited memories of my childhood, these pictures brought tears to my eyes, literally tears to my eyes because the colors and patterns were making me crossed eyed.
But seriously, it really is such a wonderful blessing to remember moments like this, moments of your mother's loving support as she sat through your school play as you walked out with your torn paper costume, or moments that she sat watching you collect school awards beaming with pride, remembering moments of mom bringing cake, or cookies, or juice to your classroom for a school party. These moments are priceless because my mother had that gift of making you feel special and beautiful in her own way.
My mom was an incredible pillar of strength and focused on the positive side of every situation or circumstance, even when she felt powerless from the many trials and tribulation. She was not a well-educated woman, yet she was wise far beyond this lifetime and spoke with much wisdom to all who crossed her path. She was not a woman of great etiquette, yet she was a woman with high self-esteem, honorable character, self-respect and the Light of the Lord, which was reflected through her walk with Christ. She was not a woman to get involved in meaningless things outside of her home, thus teaching us to be respectful of ourselves and to others, to be humble, to be a blessing to others rather than a burden, and to remember the great golden rule, "To do unto to others as you would have us to do unto you". Therefore her work has not been in vain because she followed God's instructions according to Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart it."
I hope you understand that God granted my mother continuous mercy, grace and favor. God predestined her life to endure hardships, persecution and long suffering to be evidence of His Might and Power for His Glory. God preserved her to complete His preplanned Work of speaking wisdom into those coming behind her and because she was preserved, when the adversary tried to block God's work, she remembered "She could look to the hills for help knowing her help came from the Lord." (Philippian’s 4:13)
God preserved her life to demonstrate true meaning of being a woman of God. My mom understood that life was not all roses and sunshine every day and there would be many life storms and some wilderness days, therefore as a wife and mother she knew she had to stay on bended knee and pray her way through. She remembered that God said "I am your refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
God preserved her life to teach and train up more soldiers to boldly proclaim the Gospel therefore building His Kingdom, knowing there would be times when she would have to depend solely on faith because there would sometimes be nobody to stand with her. She remembered Paul's instructions to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:3-4) "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved with civilian affairs (or this life) he wants to please his 'commanding officer' (or He who has chosen him to be a soldier).
God preserved her life to assure her family understood perseverance because there would be times when we too would become frustrated, impatient, discouraged and weary from the tiresome journey of life struggles. However, my mom remembered that God's Word says (Isaiah 40: 31) "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint".
And finally God preserved her life because she worshipped him, because she served Him faithfully, because she lived on God's every promise, and because she was not ashamed to speak the Gospel. My mom witnessed to many headed down the path of destruction, telling them about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to trust in Him and to surrender their life to Him. She often spoke of the "Last Days", reminding us of what the word says (2 Timothy 3:1-5) "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them". My mom understood there would be many that would not want to listen, yet that did not stop her from proclaiming the Word of the Lord.
In closing, God finally called His servant, our mother, home to be with Him in Glory. She suffers no longer and her living was not in vain. Let us rejoice and not mourn. As Paul wrote to Timothy, 2 Timothy 4: 7-8: I believe my mother would agree with Paul and say to us, " I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing".
Let us be encouraged today reflecting on the promises of God as our mom has done. God bless you all.