when you’re more than ready to get to Wake Up Singing

Liz Curtis Higgs, the humble, wise (funny!)  author of more than 30 books,  is one of my soul sisters, my mentor and prayer sister. I couldn’t love this woman more —  she’s about as down to earth and warm and happiest grace as it gets. And her latest book, It’s Good to Be Queen, is knocking my socks off as she just knocks it out of the park. Lizzie gets women. Full stop. She gets women’s hearts like no one else quite does — and when you read her? You feel our Father’s heart for His daughters.  So the beauty of  this post from Liz? Well, have a seat on the porch with us & exhale —

guest post and some photos by Liz Curtis Higgs

The hour was late, and the air was soft with murmured prayers.

Two dozen friends on a hot summer night were draped over couches and stretched across rugs, ending our day together in holy conversation with the One who always listens.

I rested my cheek against a wingback chair, straining to hear the words being spoken around the room.

As the minutes ticked by, their voices grew faint —  and my eyelids grew heavy.

Without meaning to, I stepped from the land of the living — into the land of the sleeping.

And the snoring, no doubt. And the drooling.

[Oh, Ann, you were there, with our (in)courage sisters, seated on the other side of the room. Please tell me you didn’t notice. Please?]

I’m not certain whether I slept for two minutes or twenty minutes. But the next thing I knew, I was singing. Loudly.

The transition from sleep to song happened in an instant. I found myself sitting up – eyes open, fully alert – with music pouring through my lips. Thank goodness everyone else was singing too as we offered a familiar chorus to end our evening together.

One thought kept running through my mind: This is what stepping into heaven will be like. 

A moment of sleep, and then a glorious awakening. Darkness, then light.

Night, then morning.

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And oh, that welcome we all long to hear. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21). Every word will be a rich reward.

Well? Wonderful.

Done? Hooray.

Good? Only because of God.

Faithful? That’s His doing too.

Servant? What an honor.

Living well matters. Ending well matters even more.

Look at the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 1:10-13).

She sought wisdom, she asked questions, she listened, she was humbled, she marveled, she spoke truth, she encouraged, she gave, she received, and in the end she sang God’s praises. Sheba understood the joy of finishing well.

You may know someone like that. Or want to be someone like that. The kind of person who has no fear of the future because they know it’s safely in God’s hands.

An online friend wrote, “Ending well does not mean everything tied up with a pretty little bow. But it does mean ending with beauty.”

Yes.

On the last Sunday in January, my mother-in-law turned eighty-six. This was what we’d prayed for: that she would live long enough to celebrate her birthday. Though honestly, celebrate wasn’t quite the word for it.

Mary Lee Higgs was dying. All of us could see it. The frailness of her body, the shallowness of her breath. No appetite, little thirst. It’s heartbreaking to watch someone endure that level of pain.

The three men she loved most were in the room—her husband, her only son, her only grandson. And me, the woman who took too many years to realize what a treasure her mother-in-law was.

As I looked down at Mary Lee, sorrow broke against me in a huge, enveloping wave. The Higgs men, with their tender hearts, stood watching from a bit of a distance, not certain how they might care for her needs.

That’s when Beauty slipped into the room.

All at once, the love and grace and compassion of Jesus overwhelmed me.

I bathed Mary Lee’s face and moistened her lips with balm and rubbed lotion into her parched hands.

I combed her hair and smoothed my hand lightly over her brow, then took her to the rest room, honoring her privacy, helping where I could.

I rearranged her pillows and straightened her bedding and gave her sips of water, then fed her when the aide came by with dinner.

Beloved, you would have done all those things and more. But care giving doesn’t come naturally to me.

My son watched from her bedside, dumbfounded. “Where did you learn this stuff, Mom?”

I told him I’d worked in a nursing home when I was a teenager. But in my heart I knew that wasn’t the full story. This wasn’t Liz, a trained nurse’s aide, doing her duty. This was Beauty making His Presence known.

We said good-bye to Mary Lee that Sunday, thinking we would see her again soon.

When the phone call came five days later, I wept with sorrow, softened only by the memory of spending one last afternoon with her and the assurance that she had just stepped into the arms of her Savior.

Despite the pain and suffering that came before it, I have seen what ending well looks like.

It looks glorious. Like a sunrise. “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar” (Isaiah 33:17).

At her own great awakening, Mary Lee surely broke into song, her voice clear and her eyes shining.

Home.

 

Liz Curtis Higgs has one goal: to help people embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon. She’s written more than thirty books with 4½ million copies in print, including Bad Girls of the Bible and her latest, It’s Good to Be Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba, unveiling timeless wisdom from the remarkable queen of Sheba. Every page here sparkles not only with wit and warmth but with Liz’s signature, unmatched insights. Liz Curtis Higgs is the comforting, courage-giving friend every woman prays for. There’s no voice like Liz’s. And there’s no woman who can afford to miss the epic wisdom of the queen of Sheba in It’s Good to Be Queen. Every woman’s summer needs the pampering & soul refreshment of It’s Good to Be Queen.

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