“All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.
When we followed God’s call across the pond. We knew there’d be some sacrifice involved and knew there would be times when that call happens. Last week we heard Phil’s Grandfather (Pop) had deteriorated in health and was in his last days and asked the Lord to grace us with time with him. So we flew on a cramped flight, the Collins clan scattered around the plane.
We spent his last days with him. Talked about his life, about heaven, we prayed, cried, laughed. Pop slept through it all but we know he was listening. And as Phil sat with his Pop on Monday evening, his final breaths were woven with Phil praying the Lord’s Prayer, until his last breath came with Phil’s ‘Amen.’
We woke yesterday to beautiful skies – reminded that his mercies are new every morning. We enjoyed a drive out to Church Stretton, and a beautiful walk over Carding Mill Valley in the Long Mynd. I love to listen to whisper of God in nature. And as I breathed the wonderful air I invited heaven to speak. The stunning landscape changed with the weather as clouds rolled in, the wind blew and sunshine surprised. CS Lewis wrote ‘grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.’
I looked at my family and rejoiced in the knowledge of a living, loving Christ holding us up.
We reached the top and made our way across heather-covered hills, within moments sheets of rain fell curtain-like around us. The promise of stunning views of the Welsh Hills were wrapped in fog.
I was absorbed by the grey beauty of the valley.
And paused in His presence.
We walked from the hill, down into the valley, into the pain of more loss. Phil’s mom,Val, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Her pilgrimage here on earth over. As we sat with her and prayed her into Jesus’ presence – the tangible love of God filled the room. Holy. So holy.
How she loved the Lord – feisty and stubborn, beautiful and childlike. A colourful rich soul.
In our disorientated state of grief. With weary heads and bodies, we are thankful for your love, near and far – we love how God uses people to heal people.
We are amazed with the favour of God’s timing. A friend described it as a ‘perfectly orchestrated piece of a very sad song.’
Pray for us, especially Phil, as we enter into a week of funerals and travel once more across the world to our other home, community and life.
We grieve with hope – knowing there’s no real end.
‘Til heaven – Nanny Val and Pop.
Love, Michelle xo
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.