5 Lessons Learned about Life from Death

Oct 10, 2016 | Faith

The blog’s been quiet in recent weeks. If you’re connected with me on Facebook or Instagram, I’ve shared a little of the mess we’ve been in, but I’ve been silent both places about big things we’re walking that makes nothing else matter.

We’re facing the final days with one of our parents. Something families experience all the time. We’ve faced it before. But this time it’s different. Last time it was sudden, unexpected, and devastating.

This time, we still don’t know when, but it’s coming soon. And because we know it’s coming, all other things which don’t pertain to family and time with our loved ones are put on hold. Because as much as I love interacting with you, being involved in ministry, the last days with someone we love is far more important.

Death shapes life priorities in ways like nothing else. As I’ve experienced heart-wrenching moments in the last ten days, here are 5 things I’ve learned in the process:

  1. Our lives are truly lived in intimate moments. As I reflect on the life and legacy of the one we are cherishing, the culmination of his life is best expressed from the daily moments we’ve lived with him doing ordinary things that poured into his children, grandchildren, church and community. The words of wisdom he gave around his kitchen table, in a card, or in the barn that made you want to be with him–just because.
  2. God’s word shapes the lives of those who honor it. I’ve watched two parents live humble lives where they knew God, His word, and how to treat others not because of church doctrine, politics, or social media, but because of knowing God through His word. The Bible and a pair of glasses were on the kitchen table most days in his home. Before his busy day as farmer, elder, father and grandpa, he spent time, probably early morning, in God’s word. I have the same scene on my own kitchen table now, which messes with my decor, but my husband follows the path of his dad. It’s not extravagant, but it’s the consistent, daily faith whose roots go deep and impacts every aspect of life.
  3. God’s blessings are not tangible. I don’t know how else to say it when you release a life that’s been invested in eternal things while on earth. Love, impact of legacy, and what that person has invested in far outweighs monetary value in the lives of those who leave godliness, humility, and love behind. This stuff can’t be bought. And it gives me perspective in this political climate. 
  4. Godly parenting can’t be imitated. It’s not a formula or a trade book you can buy on a shelf. Godly parenting comes from living a life responsible and accountable to God and no one else. The impact of godliness as a parent spills onto the subsequent generations when roots are deep and strong and firm. A passion for the salvation of your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren cannot be conjured up. It’s either real or it’s not. I’ve seen what real looks like. And it moves me.
  5. Words can’t describe the greatest moments of life. Photos don’t either. In an age of sharing everything, certain things are to be treasured in your heart and valued for the joy of being there. In the days and weeks to come, as our busy life goes on, my words may be fewer so I can be in moments which are very personal. Even if I could pen them, I’m at a loss. Perhaps later. But for now, I encourage you, too, to be fully present in moments where you need to be. Just be there. Take in the moment. Hold it in your heart. And love those who are in it.

Thanks for being part of the Life Beyond the Picket Fence community. I value you. I encourage you to sink your roots deep right now in the moments and people and relationships most important to you.



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  1. Carolyn Goch....

    Jerry had a lot of respect for Bob…..it’s so hard to give them up even though you will see him again. God bless you and your family on this hard journey. God will see you through.

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you Carolyn. He has the respect from many, many people.

  2. Sherry Yoder

    Thank you Brenda for your words in this blog. I know the pain first hand as we faced those days with my Daddy two years ago. Savor each moment you spend with him these last days! May God’s peace over whelm you and your family! Love you all!

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you so much Sherry. It’s hard to see each one of them go. Your mom has been great being beside them. We are so thankful.

  3. Wilma

    Praying for all of your family. Love you guys

  4. Sara Wood-gibbs

    Thank you for sharing, Brenda. Though it’s painful, you’re growing through it and maturing in Christ by sharing. Best wishes♡♡♡

  5. Cathy Grannen

    Thank you Brenda, for sharing these very tender thoughts. May you all feel the sweet arms of our Lord around you, as this journey takes your loved one “home”. Hugs, Cathy?

  6. Pam

    Our prayers are with you all, he is such a great man and you honor him with your words.

  7. Donna Holcomb

    Standing in the gap for and with you Brenda.

  8. Amy

    Beautifully said Brenda!! My heart is breaking with y’all. Matt and I were talking about this last night and shed some tears! It’s so not easy to loose any of them. Even though we know we will see them again and that very soon he will no longer be in any pain or suffering. It is still hard. We love them and will miss them! Praying for y’all!!

  9. Carissa

    That was beautiful. Bless your hearts, that is so tough. Praying all of your family gets to experience those moments.

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