It’s been 2 weeks since my mother passed away. Two weeks of remembering this amazing and precious lady. Two weeks of tears and rejoicing. But mostly, two weeks of realizing anew the blessing that has been mine to call Mary McGarvey, “Mother.”
I have a quote in the front of my Bible from Oswald Chambers that says, “It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God – but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people…”
Those words sum up my mother’s life. Her life was lived mostly on the ordinary streets among ordinary people – 7 very ordinary children included. But she lived that life in a quiet demonstration of the reality of the God she loved and served. She didn’t write a book, seldom did public speaking, never sought the limelight, but she, in her consistent walk with God, had great impact on many, many lives.
Towards the end, Mother’s speech became limited. Her clearest communication was when she prayed. We would catch frequent phrases about service, love, and she would often just repeat, “Wonderful, wonderful!” There was a part of her that wasn’t touched by dementia – a part of her that was still in vibrant communication with the God she loved and still bore testimony of that to those around her.
Mother’s funeral was triumphant. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe a funeral before, but it’s the right word. Mother had chosen Scriptures to be read and hymns to be sung and so we honored her wishes to exalt God as we celebrated her life. There were 72 of her 75 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in attendance. Those lives alone are a tribute to the heritage of this godly woman.
The closing hymn, “Be Thou Exalted,” was chosen by my mother and expressed the deep desire of her heart. She never knew how wonderfully God honored that desire as she live a holy life on ordinary streets among ordinary people. And that is extraordinary!