A year ago on this day we were in the middle of our 9am worship service when my wife ran outside to take a phone call. I could tell by her expressions that the news was bad. I went outside to find out what was going on and she said “Your mom is gone.” My first thought was “Where did she go?” Then it hit me…she’s GONE gone. I only told one other person on our leadership team what had just happened. Then I preached like I always do. Don’t ask me how I got through it. My head was spinning. Less than 200 yard behind our worship space was my grieving family and my mother’s lifeless body, and yet, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be in that moment. After the 9am service I ran over to the house to deal with what no one wants to deal with. After her body was taken care of I ran back over to the church and preached our 10:45 service (after completely rewriting it in 15 minutes). I was doing exactly what she would have wanted me to do.
On Sunday, April 15th Willie Pearl Serrano-Neal, mom, sister, aunt, and friend went to sleep in a life of sickness, suffering, pain and struggle, and woke up healed, whole, and in the presence of her very best friend, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! She is seeing and experiencing things that are exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ask, think, or imagine. Do we miss her? Of course. Have there been waves of grief that at times were literally crippling? Absolutely However, our source of strength through those times has been the same source that helped our mother make it through her trials in this life. That source is the peace that only God almighty can give.
The last year has been a year of doing exactly what we should be doing: loving God, loving each other, and trusting in His peace!