IT'S NEVER TOO LATE!
By: Ceci Sullivan
God, truly is a God of miracles. This is a tribute to the awesome power of God who helped me not to take my mother-in-law's rejection personally. Had I not been a Christian, I would have been so overcome by her indifference, and rejection of me, I never would have been able to get out of my selfish little feelings, to love her unconditionally! Because I prayed, I was able to overcome how she had treated me, and care about extending the love of God to her the last months of her life.
Her name was Pat Sullivan...She was an interesting woman and I'm sorry to say, I only knew her the last several weeks of her life. I went to take care of my mother-in-law who had refused to acknowledge I was alive the 14 years I've been married to her son. She had ignored my presents, and had been indifferent to all my phone calls and letters! I only heard of her critical, bitter, and condemning attitudes towards me and her son through others. She chose not to end her life with all that vile in her heart towards us, and I'm so thankful that's not how her story ended.
The love of God ended up overcoming
the bitter, critical, heart she had...LOVE PREVAILED IN THE END! I told her,
though she rejected me, I would continue to love and give to her, and have faith
that one day things might be different. I knew I didn't want to leave this world
not doing everything I could to reach out in love and faith towards others...who
wants to die with a heart full of bitterness, only caring about how others have
treated you! I asked Jesus to deliver me out of the Kingdom of selfishness,
to be able to care how I LOVE OTHERS, MORE THAN HOW OTHERS LOVE ME, AND HE
DID...AND MIRACLES TAKE PLACE WHEN THE SPIRIT OF GOD'S LOVE PREVAILS!
Her son, Gene, had become a Christian in 1972. Upon this news, she offered him psychiatric counseling. She lived life hard and partied hard, worked hard, and fought hard most of her life. She not only taught my husband to be a champion boxer, and Pipercub pilot, but she was one of the first B-25 female bomber pilots, in WW2.
Gene grew up on an Airport, helping his Mom with her crop-dusting business. She taught him many valuable lessons, and he is very grateful for all she had done for him. Even though he didn't conform to her wishes in staying to run the airport, he loved her deeply. This brought a breech into their relationship, that only broadened greatly upon him becoming a Christian. Her hard heart towards God, estranged her from him. Instead of hearing from the voice of love and faith, she only had ears to hear from the voice of accusation...the bitter critical thoughts that divide relationships.
After all my many attempts to reach out to her, it was hard for me to not faint in thinking I would never know her. Then one day we received a phone call that his Mom had a heart attack in the doctor's office and wasn't expected to live. Well, we had prayed for her continually over the years and my heart sank at the thought of things ending like this!
Gene was planning to go to the state she lived in. On several occasions I had tried to meet her, only to my disappointment. I had a deep feeling I was supposed to go there, but I knew Gene didn't feel to take me due to her inhospitable attitudes over the years. We continued to pray for her through all the years; but her heart was hard because of her son not doing things her way. Gene told me he would take me to see her, when he heard she was in the hospital if he knew God wanted him to. I knew I needed a miracle for it to happen.
Well, his brother decided to go there and one miracle after another took place during his stay there. He is a Col. in the Army, and the older brother. He ended up calling Gene and telling me to come with Gene to Colorado so we could all meet to pray together. He saw her physical weakness was softening her heart...it was the miracle I was waiting for. He had prayed with one of the nurses and called and said he felt like we were all to gather and pray together for their mother. We left the next day.
I knew in my heart we might be staying there for a period of time, and I went to meet the "stranger" I had loved through the years, with no response. Her son was a blessing sent from heaven for me and others and I so wanted to be able to tell her how he had fulfilled Gods promises in the Scripture, Acts 13:47, "The Lord has commanded men saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." I so wanted to share the fact that God's Son, Jesus, has power to change lives and He sends men into his field of labor to do His work. I cried when the opportunity was presented me in reality to thank her for the son she bore. She ended up seeing her son was a blessing sent from God to her too in the end!
Apprehensive, I prayed and decided to put on love for one who had shown me nothing but rejection. Jesus strengthened me. She was a bit cold to me and Gene at first, but the first day there, she let me take her to the bathroom. I knew the greatest weapon God had given me to use on her was love, so I poured it on! IT WORKED TOO!
I think she had been offended with Gene throughout the years for letting go of helping in the family business. Both of her sons had moved on, and she had been overcome by the bottle I could tell she was very perceptive in evaluating how selfish people are! Many times people can see into others, even things they fail to look at in themselves. I knew she was no dumb cookie! She had the ability to see what people were made of and her piercing eyes were checkin' me out to see what I was made of!
She was weak and let us bring her strength through praying with her. One week after I was caring for her she looked at me and said, "God Bless You, I love you Ceci." I thought I was hearing her wrong, I went back in the room and asked her if she knew who I was. She replied and said, "yes, your Gene's wife Ceci." I went in the other room and cried my eyes out. I knew God's love had reached her.
We treated her like a queen. We did everything we could to bring her life pleasure, because it was obvious that her days on the earth were numbered. Our friend Linda came to help us. I began talking to her about her depression. I think she talked more to us than she had talked to anyone about how she really felt in years. She began asking us to stay in her room, and keep her company. One night, she even asked Linda to pray for her, and of course that is exactly what we were hoping and praying for; we were all in tears.
She was finally reaching out to the
one who could really comfort her, the lover of her soul, the God who created
her. I asked her if she wanted me to redecorate her room, and a joy for living
came into her heart. She began to experience the JOY OF LOVING AND BEING
LOVED! We rented all her favorite old movies, and got her favorite foods.
She hadn't been eating well for a while, but her appetite even returned.
One morning I went in her room to have her say, "how can you take care of me like this? I don't understand how you cannot be having all kinds of bitter, critical thoughts towards taking care of me. It's got to be really rough on you to care for me." I told her serving sin and living in the hell I had lived in LOVING MYSELF ABOVE ALL THINGS, is what was really hard. I told her about the time I broke down crying because I realized God had given me something greater to live for than my own little happy life...which was misery. I was so thankful to think I didn't have to go out of this world only caring for my selfish little desires.
I was so happy he had called me to a
greater purpose, FOR THE SAVING AND KEEPING OF SOULS! "Taking care of
you," I said, "is a piece of cake and I never had a bad
attitude." LIVING TO LOVE HER WAS HEAVEN ON EARTH ABOVE LIVING TO
LOVE MYSELF! I said, she was the only one having a bad attitude and that was not
coming from me, but the king of bad attitudes...the king of darkness. She would
say at times...I'll be damned, and I told her, no you won't, that's why
Jesus sent us.....so you wouldn't be damned. I told her she was fortunate to
have two praying sons, she could be in hell on earth, a nursing home!
Gene went in her room one morning and said, "The Lord told me he spoke to you when you were about to crash in the forest in your new plane." The snow was very deep; she was headed for the trees in her new plane. She heard the words, "I'm going to get you out of this Pattie." Gene asked her if it was true and she said "yes." Gene said, "The Lord told me to tell you he's going to get you out of this one too! All you have to do is ask him, and he'll take you from this world into His kingdom when it's your time to go on." Gene cried as he spoke to her and you could see she was deeply moved to tears herself in knowing God was using her son to speak words to her about her past that ONLY GOD KNEW.
She lived with the TV on before we got there, but she wanted it off for the most part, she was experiencing the PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE. That was something very unusual. We played Christian music often and that was very different for her, but she really had joy and peace from it, and told us it made her feel good. On her birthday, I finished redecorating her room. She was so pleased with the new colors and spirit, but little did we know what a short time she had to enjoy it. We did not even realize the cake and ice cream she was eating would be her last meal. She had come down with a cold and she didn't have the strength to fight it.
Three days later, Gene's Mom went on to glory and to see Jesus face to face! We thought her cold may have been a blessing in disguise that kept her from long months of suffering. As Gene's brother put it, "she was one more soul snatched free from the clutches of Satan, and the kingdom of darkness!" I think I'm still in shock over seeing an 81-year-old turn from darkness into the Kingdom of Light. Actually, Linda's father had repented of his dark little selfish world too, in his old age. He decided to go out of this life receiving and giving love too, rather than dying a bitter, critical man.
Surely Pat was a worker in the vineyard in the last minutes of her life...three weeks. We saw the parable fulfilled where Jesus paid the same wage to the ones who worked all day, and the one who worked the last minute! She found His mercy and experienced His loving kindness and found relief for her heavy burdens these last three weeks of her life. We will never forget God's faithfulness to help us reach her soul while we were in her home, now she gets to be in HIS HOME! She went from being demonized (which means to be energized by the wrong spirit). It's like running your car on bad gas...that bitter, critical, selfish gas. She turned, repented, and put the gas of love and faith in her heart, and went from being a sick, sin laden soul, to a giver and receiver of His love.
Jesus said, if they receive you, they will receive me, and receive Him who sent me. He also said, "And many shall say to me Lord, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and gave you drink? Naked and clothed you, a stranger and took you in..." AND HE SHALL SAY TO THEM..."as you did it unto the least of these my servants, so you have done it unto me!" The love of God in our hearts is a rich treasure we have to spend. May we all die with no savings in our love bank!
It's so exciting to see the goodness of God, which can lead one to repentance, work in the last three weeks of her life! His wonders never cease to amaze us! We experienced the Glory of God as she slipped out of this world and into His Kingdom today! We all cried as we sat around after she was gone and marveled at the wondrous things that had taken place! We were filled with rejoicing for her, but sorrow for us...as we came to know a very sweet and precious woman. One who spent 81 years as a mean, intimidating, depressed, destructive and hard hearted woman. It was a great joy to give her the love of Jesus, and to receive her love! (She decided to let it out instead of being a withholder).
This definitely is a time in my life I will never forget! And I'm filled with joy to know there is another jewel in the crown of my Savior! I told her to tell Jesus we love Him when she sees him face to face...even as she's in His presence this day!
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