I had apparently fallen asleep in my window seat before the plane had even started down the runway. I woke up, face already towards the window, and saw a blanket of light gray clouds just below our plane.
Just a week before David and I had flown away from the Rocky Mountains after spending the weekend celebrating the marriage of two dear friends in Silverthorne, CO.
I knew this time I was flying over my birth state, Texas, where there were no high, snow-covered mountains... But, that's what they looked like. Tall and majestic and perfectly smooth.
I caught the whimper in my chest before it made it's way out for my neighbor to hear. I looked at the clouds and dwelled on their loveliness, biting my lip.
That morning I'd sang old hymns with my grandparents in their church in San Antonio. One of them was about Heaven. And I smiled listening to the small voices sing about our distant home...
Two hours later I got the text message - Our dear Roxanne had gone to be with Lord...
I leaned my head on the wall of the plane and stared at the clouds.
"In my Father's house are
Many mansions in my Father's house..."
That old children's song we'd sung so many times... I think it was from those Donut Man videos... I can't remember... I just know it plays over and over in my head, and I cling to the truth in John 14:2.
"In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
Today, I open my Bible to reread the verse and continue to read the rest of the passage...
"'And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.'
Thomas said to Him, 'Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?'
Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:3-6)
I sit back and think about the clouds I'd seen two days before. The majesty of something I could put my eyes on. I wonder how majestic Heaven must be. I wonder about the colors and the smells and the tastes. I wonder what being received by The Lord looks like. I wonder how the angels greeted Roxanne. I think about how she doesn't hurt anymore. I think about her sweet, twin daughters, Sam and Lauren...
I'd often heard others say things like, "Heaven got a good one today," or "Heaven's a little bit more lively now that they're there."
My heart can't keep it in. The sorrow I feel for all those who loved her coupled with the overwhelming gratitude I have for my Maker.
"Gratitude?" Some might ask. How could I be grateful when I'm so sad that she's gone?
Because, not only did Our Maker create a paradise for us to live in for eternity after we die, but He also actually let His only Son suffer and die in order that there could be a way for us to get to Him and live with Him in paradise.
The tears overflow as I thank God for the hope Heaven gives us. Not only has He conquered death, He's offered the same power to us.
Death is not the end.
Death is not goodbye.
For those who have accepted Christ Jesus as their Savior, Death is GAIN*! ...
Death is dead.
Death is "I'll see you when I get there, too."
That is the hope I cling to. That is the God who loves us. That is the mercy our Maker so graciously bestowed upon us. We can't get there on our own. But, we don't have to even try.
We just receive it.
Humbling to the point of absolute puniness.
Peace that surpasses understanding...
And as we mourn and as our hearts struggle to accept that she isn't here anymore, we thank God for the hope we have in Christ Jesus. We thank God that we know we'll see her again.
Love you, Roxanne. See you there, Superwoman.
*"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21