Next Time it Will Be Forever

Next Time it Will Be Forever

I just said goodbye to someone I love
Never pass this way again
The time we had just wasn’t enough
And it hurts to reach the end
A whole lifetime is really no time at all
Just a moment then it’s gone
But next time it will be forever
Then our hearts will be renewed
There we’ll always be together
Next time it will be forever

(Next Time it Will Be Forever Chain of Grace 1992 Dallas Holm)

It is with tremendous sadness, but with exceedingly more joy, that I share with you that on the morning of 12/30/2023, my precious wife Linda stepped from this life into the eternal glories of Heaven. Face to face with Jesus, reunited with family and friends gone before, and amidst the host of Heaven; what a reward for a life well lived!

Linda battled breast cancer for half of her life. However, 37 years of prayers for her healing were answered at the moment of her passing; and more wonderfully and completely than could have ever been hoped for here on earth.

Thank God that outside of some challenging moments along the way in her life’s journey, and significant diminishment in the last months of her life here on earth, she really enjoyed abundant life and amazingly good health.

Cancer left its mark on her body but it could not remove the joy in her heart, the determination in her mind, nor the smile on her face, even as she prepared for her “promotion” to Heaven.

Linda passed peacefully from this life to the next. We observed our 54th wedding anniversary three days before she passed. We were and are abundantly blessed!

When Linda was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, she wondered if she would live to see our then 13 year old daughter graduate from high school.

She saw both our daughter Jennifer and our son Jeffrey graduate from high school. She saw Jennifer marry Jason, our wonderful son-in-law, and rejoiced with unspeakable joy as their marriage produced our first four grandchildren; Jacob (22), Sophia (21), Alex (15), and Caleb (11).

Linda saw our son Jeffrey marry Jennifer (lots of J’s in our family), our precious daughter-in-law, and continue to rejoice with gratitude for our next two grandchildren; Ava (9) and Quinn (1 ½).

If I were to attempt to list all the many blessings of our lives and marriage, there would be neither time nor space to tell of God’s goodness.

Many of you have stood with us through this journey and prayed for us often. Thank you doesn’t seem enough, but Thank You! Thank you for all the comments on FaceBook, the emails, texts, and cards offering condolences. I’ve read each and every one and they have blessed, comforted, and strengthened me greatly.

I’m doing well, all things considered. When I get emotionally blindsided, I purpose to think of where Linda is and how she is. No more cancer, no more treatments, no more discomfort, and no more death. The list goes on, but I take great comfort in knowing her present location in Paradise in her glorified body is a blessing beyond comprehension.

One day (soon) there will be the New Heaven and New Earth experienced in not just a glorified, but a resurrected body. It just keeps getting better!

In going through Linda’s things in recent days, I came across several notebooks which she had written in over the years; usually as she was having her daily time of Bible study and prayer.

The following illuminates the depth of her understanding of Scripture and the level of intimacy she maintained always with our Lord and Savior.

In reading one verse in Proverbs 30:31 which describes things that are stately when they walk, she expressed herself fully from just the one line, “A king with his army around him.”

Linda wrote, “My mind went straight to You Lord, and how true this is. You are praised by Your army. Your army is made up of totally weak, inadequate, sinful people who have been pursued, redeemed, equipped, trained, and made ready by Your Blood, by Your Wisdom, by Your Strength, Your Love, and Your great Promises. You are lifted high. You Lord Jesus are so very generous. You give always and then You promise to share through eternity. Your “army” brings nothing. We come to You sad and broken, full of rot, and You give joy for sins forgiven! You give wholeness in spirit, mind, and body. You give strength, wisdom, purpose, and You equip perfectly. You meet every need, each desire, and Your timing is perfect! My response is to bow in awe, to cry tears of amazement, to rejoice and express my gratefulness in living for You; displaying my relationship with You to those I come in contact with.

Jesus…be lifted up! I place You high and look to You for everything. Great are You my King!”

Scripture says that, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Linda has spoken. Her words are saturated with Godly perspective and deep gratitude. I miss everything about Linda; her joy and laughter, her breathtaking beauty, her grace and poise, but most of all, her inner, spiritual strength and holy centeredness.

She was (and is) a truly amazing woman! I will see her again, and…Next Time it Will Be Forever!