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Posts Tagged ‘In Memory of’

Over Mum’s final weeks of battling late-stage cancer, she suffered great pain in her abdomen. In the final week, she asked us to stop all treatment and release her to God. But it was difficult for us to do that. Our family desperately needed a clear assurance from God that Mum would go to a better place.

On Monday morning, Mum’s oxygen level dropped and our doctor put a tube into her nose. We started making plans for her final send-off.

Ben selected a bible verse for the obituary in the newspaper. I sent it to our family chat group for Dad’s agreement. The verse was Psalms 23:6.

1st Ps23

I then messaged Pastor Wendy, our church pastor, to let her know that Mum’s condition was deteriorating fast. Pastor Wendy rushed over that afternoon. Coincidentally enough, she prayed Psalms 23, which ended with the Psalms 23:6, the verse for the obituary:

“Surely goodness & mercy shall follow me all the days of my life & I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

I noticed the Psalms 23:6 coincidence but said nothing at that time. After all, Psalms 23 is a popular psalm.

I stayed overnight in Mum’s hospital room that night while Ben returned home to meet the funeral director of Serenity Caskets & Funerals at our home. After surveying our place, Serenity’s director whatsapp Ben a sample photo of the backdrop he would be providing for Mum’s casket.

3rd Ps23

This was the 3rd time Psalms 23:6 was given to us.

The next morning, as Ben and I were talking about the Psalms 23 coincidences over breakfast at Tiong Bahru coffee shop, a friend messaged me. Her 11-year old daughter had randomly  sent me her audio reading of Psalms 23:1-6.

4th Ps 23.

This was the 4th time the Psalms 23:6 assurance was given to our family.

 

That same Tuesday morning, mum’s god-sister Polly informed her eldest sister living in Australia about mum’s deteriorating condition. Phyllis messaged back at 8.17 am:

5th Ps23

“When I think of Joyce…Surely goodness and mercy will follow her…”

This was 5th time the Psalms 23:6 assurance was given to us.

 

What were the chances of this happening?

Yet, in the last 2 days before Mum passed on, we received the assurance in Psalms 23:6 – a total of five times over a span of slightly over 24 hours. I knew Mum’s time with us was almost up. But now, I had full certainty that God was bringing her into His heavenly mansion.

“Maybe we’ll reach 7 times,” Ben said.

“No need lah,” I said. “5 times is good enough assurance for me,” I said.

That night, Mum slept peacefully without pain or the need for additional painkillers, unlike the earlier nights of the past week.

The next day, on the afternoon of Wednesday, 27 February 2019, Mum was called home to our Lord.

 

We had 3 nights of prayer memorial services at our home. For the first 2 nights, other church pastors came to lead the service.

Pastor Wendy, who had journeyed with us through Mum’s last week, led the 2nd March Saturday night service. As I was delivering a devotional eulogy, I gave Pastor Wendy a heads-up on what I would be sharing.

“The first part will be my reflections on my mum. For part 2, I will share about the 5 Psalms 23 assurances that we received as a family.”

I sat down and waited for the prayer service to start. Ben nudged me and said, “There’s a 6th Psalms 23 assurance.”

“Where?” I asked.

He pointed to a painting hanging on our wall which he had bought 15 years ago.

Ps 23 painting

“When I saw that painting in Vietnam, it was a picture of Psalms 23 to me – with the old trishaw rider in the darkness, riding into the light.”

“Er…that’s not counted,” I said. “You cannot just chiap something like that together. Otherwise, you can simply link anything together. There must be Psalms 23 words,” I insisted.

I picked up the prayer service bulletin and sat back down. As I did, I noticed something for the 1st time in 3 nights of the prayer services that I had never seen.

“Have we been using the same prayer service bulletin for all 3 nights?” I asked Ben.

Ben nodded yes.

I pointed to the Psalms 23:6 verse on the cover. For some strange reason, neither of us had noticed the verse before.

6th Ps23

“Pastor Wendy, did you select this verse?” I asked.

Pastor Wendy shook her head. “No, I leave it to the church team to handle all this.”

“The 6th Psalms 23:6,” I muttered.

Pastor Wendy asked everyone to stand up and turn to the evening’s scripture reading. There was some murmuring and confusion as she started reading because it did not correspond to the Saturday 2 March Scripture reading. Pastor Wendy had mistakenly led us in the reading of the Friday 1st March Scripture reading without realizing. Strangely enough, the pastor who led the service the night before had skipped this reading so we were looking at it for the first time.

And the scripture was this:

7th Ps23.jpg

In total, we received the Psalms 23:6 assurance 7 times. In the Bible, “7” is a significant number associated with completeness and perfection (both physically and spiritually). And I now had God’s complete assurance that Mum had gone to her Heavenly home in her perfect body, and I shared all this in my devotional eulogy that night.

 

On Monday, the day after we had Mum’s final send-off, Dad cleared the top shelf of his display cabinet for Mum’s personal effects. He did so with a heavy heart.

Then, he suddenly noticed something. Sitting on the top shelf were two items which had been given by Mum’s godparents some years ago.

Summing up Ps23.jpg

For privacy reasons, I’ve edited out the right side of the shelf where Mum’s personal effects sit, next to the cross and Psalms 23 stone. Other family members’ photos sit on the lower shelf to the right of my wedding photo.

One was a cross, with an engraving that read: “GOD grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, COURAGE to change the things I can, WISDOM to know the difference.”

The company that provided my mum’s memorial services is a relatively new company called Serenity Caskets & Funerals. And they provided us the most comforting services as we came to terms with what we could not change – my mum’s sudden passing last week.

Next to the cross was a small stone decoration. The Psalms 23 assurance was cast in stone – and this was especially for my dad.

The earlier 7 Psalms 23 assurances had come through me and Ben via whatsapp or paper form, and I had communicated these to my family.

God knows that Dad needed to receive a direct assurance, one that is cast in what- looked-like a memorial stone.

These two items were given by Mum’s godparents at least 4-5 years back, when all was well with Mum. Yet, God, our Parent (ie. God, our Father), had divinely used these items from so long ago to speak to Dad in the most reassuring confirmation that he could possible receive.

Mum, surely goodness & mercy has followed you all the days of your life and we know that you now dwell in the house of our Lord forever.

Mum+Jesus

 

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