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I knew my mom had been sick. It was a cold or a sinus infection, she said. Too many days passed with no improvement. When my sister told me she was finally going to the doctor, I knew it was bad. I texted her, “What’s going on? Tell the truth!” My mom replied, “Short of breath! Don’t worry! Don’t come! Will let you know!” (We use a lot of exclamation marks!)

I was at work and tried not to overthink it. Another text a bit later let me know my brother was taking her on to the ER. The doctor said it was congestive heart failure. She was also dehydrated. I tried not to cry.

After work, I headed to the hospital.

With a bit of IV fluids, my sweet mom rallied. She felt so much better, but the doctor said she would have to stay overnight. On the way to her room, she asked the nurse transferring her if she knew Jesus. (She did, and they had a good chat on the way about how good He is.)

I announced that I was staying also and sent my brother home. I tried to sleep in the boxy chair by her bed. My mom was busy on her phone encouraging others on Facebook, her platform since retirement. She looked up periodically to say again and again, “The Lord worked out everything just right!” She marveled at how they had found a parking spot directly in front of the doctor’s office so she could get right in. Then when they got to the ER, not a soul was there. She was taken back immediately. She smiled at me and went back to her posting. I smiled back but mostly wanted to sleep. I’d gotten up super early!

I wrestled the chair and dozed a little more. Finally, at 4 a.m., she closed her eyes. I thought she’d gone to sleep. Nope. She had been praying, she said. Three hours later, she was with Jesus.

Her words have lingered in my heart and mind perhaps more than anything she ever told me throughout my whole life: “The Lord worked out everything just right!” Those words are true! He IS at work. He DOES put everything together. I didn’t realize at the time how valuable her words were. I’ve spoken them out loud countless times since to put things in perspective.

Jesus taught His disciples many things. Each day brought new life lessons of trusting Him and learning of His Father’s love. He spoke radical words: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44). He spoke puzzling words: “You are the salt of the earth…” (Matt. 5:13). Some of His words made no sense to the disciples at the time but fell into perfect place after His crucifixion and resurrection. Looking back, His words had meaning. They just hadn’t realized it.

Centuries later, our words have meaning, too. They can build up or tear down. Encourage or discourage. My mother was a master at using her words for good. Words of kindness, comfort, especially encouragement.

Some of Jesus’ last words here on Earth were: “Go and make disciples…” and “I am with you…” (Matt. 28). My mom’s words were words to treasure. Jesus’ words are words to live by.

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at preacherswife7@yahoo.com.