Philippians 1:21 (NIV): For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
This is the most gut-wrenching podcast I have ever recorded.
On Thursday evening, my best friend and the woman I am honored to call mom went to sleep on Earth and woke up in the arms of her Savior Friday morning. She finally won her 12-year battle with Alzheimer's. She was 71 years old.
Today, I will say goodbye to her.
I have never felt so many emotions over a period of a few days. I am thrilled that she is set free from the prison of her mind.
But, jealously, I want one more day with the incredible woman I knew 12 years ago before this cruel disease took her mind.
THIS WILL GET EASIER
When I had my first baby, 15 years ago, my mom came to stay with my husband and me for two weeks to help us through the many sleepless nights with a newborn.
I remember one early morning during her stay, seeing the exhaustion written on my face, she turned to me and said, "Julie, I promise this will get easier."
There have been so many times during the past 3 days when I've felt her loving presence...
Whether picking out her casket,
Writing her obituary,
Choosing her burial clothes,
Or surviving the sleepless nights while fighting the tears...
It's in those helpless moments that I hear her voice comforting me once again, "Julie, I promise this will get easier."
Today's Bible verse exemplifies my mother's life beautifully. I am amazed at how God orchestrated that this would be the day we study this verse together.
As we've been studying the book of Philippians, we've learned that Paul is in prison in Rome awaiting trial before Caesar Nero.
Paul knew that he could live or he could die based upon the outcome of his trial, but to him, it didn't matter.
All Paul cared about was that Christ was magnified in his life.
My mother was the same way.
I pray today's verse impacts you the way that it has me.
And perhaps, today's verse will become your life verse, just as it did for my mother, the Apostle Paul, or countless other heroes of the faith.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT
Thank you for your prayers and messages during this difficult day. I know that with your prayers and the Holy Spirit, I will get through this.
And, yes, this will get easier.
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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth.
Today, I will say goodbye to my best friend, my beautiful mother, Barbara Millspaugh.
As we continue our study on Philippians, today’s Bible verse could not be a more incredible verse to exemplify my mom’s life.
This is one of the most powerful verses AND possibly the most quoted verse outside of John 3:16 in all the Bible.
Previously, in our study of Philippians, we learned that Paul was awaiting trial in Rome. He knows that he could live or die based upon one decision made by Caesar Nero. And yet, he says, it doesn’t matter, I just want to live my life boldly, so that Christ is magnified.
Which brings us to Paul’s legendary verse that illustrates my mother during her 71 years here on Earth. In Philippians chapter 1 verse 21, Paul writes “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
From the moment of his conversion on the road to Damascus until his last dying breath, Paul committed his life to advancing the gospel message. His first thought of the day was Christ. His last thought of the day was Christ. And everything in between, well, I’d say it was all lived for Christ.
In John 11:25, Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”
And, because of this, to Paul, to die was gain. He knew that his last breath here on earth would result in him immediately being in the presence of the Lord.
Last Thursday evening, after a long 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s, my mother went to sleep on earth and woke up in the arms of her Savior on Friday morning. Christ was her eternal reward. I can imagine if she could encourage us one last time, she would tell us that Paul was right - To die, is incredible gain. But until then, live every day for Christ so that He is glorified in how you live and in how you die.
So, your simple truth for today: Paul’s life wasn’t about wealth or fame. He knew that when you die, all of that would be lost. What about you? It’s so hard to not to get caught up in our consumer-driven society…but ALL of these things here on earth can be taken from us at any moment, but Christ…well, he’ll always remain with you and no one can take him from you. You live, Christ is with you. You die, Christ is with you even more. And perhaps today, you’ll join with my mother, the apostle Paul and many other believers in making this your life verse. “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Thank you for your prayers and support during this incredibly difficult day. As always, I am honored to be on this journey with you.
I’m Julie Carruth. And I can’t wait to see you again tomorrow.