This week, to say the least, has been an incredible one for me personally. It began on Monday with the passing of my mom at 12:05 p.m. I then flew back to Chicago on Tuesday and celebrated Thanksgiving with Anita’s family. We then began the drive back to Huntsvile on Thanksgiving afternoon. We decided to break up the trip to conserve my energy for the busy weekend and thus drove to Louisville on Thursday and from there to Alabama on Friday. The total trip is 625 miles and took about 11 hours driving time. Tomorrow we drive back home, hoping to arrive in the early evening. I then plan to remain at home until a trip to Texas in January to speak for the annual AMiA (Anglican) national conference in the Dallas area. This extended time at home is one I have been looking forward to for some weeks now. I hope to rest, read, see some movies, visit with dear friends and family, provide more blogs and ACT 3 Weekly articles, and then get some more in-depth writing done as well.
The events of today went well, at least so far as I can tell. The response to mom’s funeral service was quite amazing to me. For someone her age the crowd was quite large. There were two reasons for this I think: 1. My brother is known here as a family practice physician and loved by many who know him. 2. Mom touched a lot of lives, even in her last years when most of her peers were already deceased. I was amazed at how many people told me, "Your mom taught me the Bible like no one else and she was greatly used by God to change my life." To be very honest it is rare that I hear some of the things people said to me at her funeral. Her life touched more people than I knew. Person after person spoke of her asking if she could pray with them, or for them, and of how she had touched them by and through her intercession, even in her little apartment when she could no longer have a public teaching ministry. She was effectively serving the Lord and his people until she had no more ability to help others at all. One of her best friends, who spoke at the service, said, "For years Marie taught me and prayed for me. In the last few years I got to teach her and pray for her. I was gratified to be there with her since she has given so much to me for so long."
I preached form Hebrews 12:18-29 on "The Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken and the Fruitful Life of Marie Armstrong." My wife said to me, "If your mom were here today and hearing this sermon she would have said, ‘Please preach that sermon at my funeral.’" I hope that is true. I was enabled, by the Holy Spirit, to tell her story in a Christ exalting way. It is a great comfort to know that she is now in the church of the firstborn, the heavenly city.
My brother and I have been profoundly blest by a great godly heritage. As we said good-bye to our dear mother today we were drawn to hold each other and weep as we closed a part of our lives and turned over a new page, life without both our parents. Pray that we will live in a way that honors the life and memory of our father and mother, Thomas H. and Marie F. Armstrong, now together with the Lord.