Earlier today my mom died of a heart attack. She would have been 70 years old later this month. She was a special lady. She loved deeply. She forgave. She taught. She encouraged. She believed in the importance of a biblical foundation and Christ-centered education. She prayed for her children and grandchildren to follow Jesus. She encouraged me to grow and use my gifts for God’s glory.
I’m writing this tribute because she encouraged me to write. In elementary school I used to write short little stories about sharks and boys and heroes. A few years back she gave me a box for Christmas. It contained some of those stories and many other things she kept from my childhood. It was one of the best Christmas gifts I ever received. You see, she kept everything out of love for her children.
While she can’t come back and tell you anything in person, I’m pretty sure I can speak for her on a few things.
My mom would tell you she was far from perfect. And that is true. She had her faults. We all do. But her faults were forgiven. Now her faults are no more.
My mom would tell you that her relationship with Jesus is better than ever. She used to say she was not a deep-thinking theologian. But she did know her Savior. She prayed and had a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Her prayer life is an inspiration to me. No other person taught me more about prayer and God’s faithfulness than my mom.
My mom would tell you that her children were God’s gift to her. After having children of my own, I think I know what she meant. This afternoon I sat down with my boys, Will (7) and Nathan (3), to tell them that their “Meme” had died and gone to heaven to be with Jesus. I said that I was very sad and would miss her deeply. Will spoke up with a bright smile on his face and said, “You don’t have to miss her. She’s right here” (and he pointed at my heart). I burst into tears of sadness and joy. I know what she meant. My children are God’s precious gifts.
My mom would tell you that it is wonderful to be better. Her last few years were filled with aches and pains that few knew about. She lived in constant pain. But not anymore. I am deeply saddened by her death. But I am so happy she will not cry out in pain tonight. I’m so happy that her knees and hips and ankles and back no longer hurt. I am so happy that she got to see her mom and dad. I am so happy that she got to see Jesus.
My mom would tell you not to be sad for her, but to pray for her family. She always told me she was praying for me, for my family, for others. If you are reading this and want to take one thing from the life of Elaine Hefner, would you pray? Pray for those in your family who need Jesus. Pray for those who need strength. Pray for those who are suffering. Pray for those who need to sense God’s peace and presence tonight. I am proof that God answered the prayers of my mom.
Thank you mom. Love you. Will see you again one day.