I recently buried my beloved mother. After three years of battling cancer and heart disease, this energetic and active woman went to sleep in the arms of Jesus. I now long even more intensely for our Lord’s return and am deeply grateful for the blessed hope we hold dear in our hearts.
Born in Northern Ireland into a family that was far from wealthy, my mom left school while in the fifth grade so she could work and add to the family income. After she married, she, my dad, and my two older brothers immigrated to Canada, and my parents became part of the country’s blue-collar workforce. My mom accepted Jesus as her Savior and was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church when I was a young teenager. She was a faithful member of the same local church for more than 40 years.
In her lifetime my mother never earned an academic diploma, achieved a prestigious career, accumulated wealth, or held a prominent position in the church. But at her memorial service it struck me forcefully that when all is said and done, none of the things that the world asserts as indicators of success are what is most important in our lives. What is vital is whether we truly love Jesus and others—and in those things my mom excelled.
Hundreds of people attended the service that morning. Numerous testimonies extolled her countless acts of selfless ministry and obvious devotion to God, her family, and her church. The long line of cars slowing winding its way to the cemetery and the scores of people who stood shivering at the graveside ceremony on that cold, snowy morning left no doubt—she was genuinely loved and respected by those who knew her.
My mother allowed God to use her to reach others. What greater legacy can there be?
Sandra Blackmer is features editor for the Adventist Review. This article was published March 17, 2011.