JoAnn Reno Wray
Who doesn't enjoy a great inspirational story? Each time I update I include a story here that I've written. It could be a personal experience piece, humor, a devotional, or nostalgia. I hope you find a something here to encourage you and lift your spirits and that will remind you to keep looking to Jesus who is your author and finisher!
When June Comes,
JoAnn R. Wray~ 2004
When June nears, I remember Momma.
On June 3, 1993, after suffering over ten years with congestive heart failure, Mom flew to heaven.
On May 26 that year, my father had called from Ohio requesting we come immediately – Mom was near death. When we arrived in Ohio on May 31, Mom’s birthday, Dad was watching for us. He hugged me tightly. “She’s on morphine for pain so she might not know you,” he explained.
We gathered in the downstairs family room where Mom struggled to take shallow breaths. I recalled how she'd long opposed my marriage to Roger. For the first eight years she even tried hard to destroy our union. Finally, somewhat grudgingly, she accepted Roger and God wonderfully healed my relationship with Mom.
Roger stood on one side of the bed with Mike while Amie and I stood on the other. “Mom? We’re here.”
Mom opened her eyes, dull and glassy from the morphine. “JoAnn?” She grabbed my hand with her frail right fingers, holding tighter than I expected. “Where’s Roger?”
“Right here, Mom.” He answered.
Mom grabbed Roger's hand with her left hand. Then she weakly pulled our hands together until they joined over her chest. Looking into Roger’s face, she said, “Roger, you’re the best thing that ever could have happened to my daughter. God surely put you two together.” Her hands dropped with a thud to the quilt, her breathing even more ragged from the effort. Silent tears coursed down my cheeks.
Our children, Mike and Amie, hugged their “Meemaw” tightly and Amie whispered, “Meemaw, you can go home to heaven if you want. We’ll see you again – very soon!”
Mom smiled widely, then whispered, “Thank you, honey.”
We stayed with Roger’s parents, a forty-five minute drive from my parent’s home, while in Ohio, driving daily to spend time with Mom. On June 3 we’d spent the whole day with Mom and Dad. About 8:00 p.m. Dad played a tape of Amie when she sang the song Thank You [for Giving to the Lord] at their Baptist Church for us. Mom woke and said, “Amie’s singing! I’m going to heaven today!”
I was reluctant to leave, but Roger’s family expected us, including his brother, Don, whom we hadn’t seen in ten years and his wife, Jan. At the Wray’s, we all gathered in the living room talking. About 10:30 p.m. Jan suggested we sing and pray. Accompanied by Don's portable keyboard, we sang praise choruses. Finally, Don suggested, “Let’s sing Amazing Grace.” We all joined in, eyes closed, hands lifted, harmonizing in varying degrees of accuracy.
We'd just begun verse two when the phone rang. My heart stood still as Mom Wray answered then handed me the phone. My dad, choking back his tears, said, “JoAnn? Mom just now died. She’s gone.” I couldn't stop my tears as the rest in the room continued singing. Dad said, “Is that Amazing Grace you all are singing? It was your mother’s favorite hymn. She could never sing on key but she loved it so. Seems like you alll just serenaded her into heaven!” Then Dad joined us in a shakey bass right there on the phone.
Now when June rolls around each year, I remember Momma. I imagine her as she walks heaven’s halls and can almost hear her finally sing Amazing Grace – on key.
Isaiah 66:12-14 (KJV)
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her
like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream:
then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be
dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth,
so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones
shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be
known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his
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