On the front row. That’s where she said she’d be. Her maternal heart wouldn’t be anywhere else. She protected me in her womb, nourished me in infancy, poured her soul into me in childhood, discipled me in adolescence, cheered me on in pastoral training, befriended me in adulthood, and interceded for me in every season.
I’ll never forget her words on my 23rd birthday. “Honey, I’m going to be on the front row, cheering you on.” She repeated this refrain every so often. It always made me smile as her son. It would only be fitting for the woman who had poured her life into mine more than any other human being to be firmly planted on the front row when I some day preached regularly from the very Book she poured over every morning and faithfully imparted to our family every day. We’d meet eyes, and – without a word spoken – marvel at the journey we’d traveled together as mother and son to see God’s gracious plan become a reality in my life. How sweet it would be from the pulpit. How sweet from her place. On the front row.
Eight years ago today, that great enemy death took her life at age 55. It still hurts, but not just for me and a dream unfulfilled. Not only did my dad, sisters, her grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends lose a gem on February 27, 2005. The Church of the Lord Jesus lost a Titus 2 (verses 3-4) woman. The last five years there’s been an empty seat each Sunday at New Covenant Community Church. On the front row.
Yet our loss is her gain. She’s seen the color of His eyes. Felt His touch upon her soul. Heard Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Wiped away her tears. Introduced her to patriarchs, apostles, prophets, martyrs, and legends of the faith. Reunited her with family and friends who trusted in His blood and righteousness alone. Revealed His exciting plan for her for unending eons to come. And transferred triune glory from His face to hers (2 Cor. 4.6; I John 3.2). Yes, the preached Word she presently listens to – on an unending Lord’s Day of unspeakable bliss – is not through a fallible son like me. She hears it from the vibrating vocal chords of the Incarnate Son. This gives me profound peace, joy, and comfort. For she occupies a much better seat today. On the front row.