November 3, 2023
My word for 2023 is “linger.” How do I come up with my word for the new year? It comes to me after prayer and asking the Lord what he wants to teach me. This year’s word happened to be a doozy.
Near Thanksgiving 2022, my mother-in-law, Betty Jo, became deathly ill with serious infections and limited heart and breathing functions. Her six weeks of frequent hospital stays in the intensive care unit included our family camping nearly 24 hours a day in her room.
Betty Jo kept her sense of humor. During one of her last meals, she asked her nurse who was going off shift, “Did you tell the new nurse I’m not dead yet?” When her medical team alerted us that they were giving her a “brief” break from full oxygen to say her goodbyes, the Lord gave us over two hours.
Shortly after her family conversations, she was moved to the hospital’s hospice wing. Betty Jo ended up being there five days, which is an unusually long time, according to hospice nurses. At that point, my exhausted sister-in-law Becky said, “Sues, why did you have to choose the word ‘linger’ as your word of the year?”
My sweet, godly mother-in-law passed away Jan. 8. She couldn’t wait to behold her Savior.
As we enter the Christmas season, take time to behold Jesus, our Lord who was born in a dusty, animal-filled stable. He was personally gazed upon and worshipped by wise men who couldn’t wait to see Immanuel and traveled a great distance to Bethlehem. I like to think they lingered in awe and rapture.
A verse of the Christmas carol “O Come All Ye Faithful” says, “O come and behold Him, born the King of angels.” Take time to linger and behold the Lord this season.
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