The Eleventh Hour … What Does It Look Like?

I Skyped with Little Man yesterday. It was obvious our family’s three-year-old has made the switch from Thanksgiving mode to Christmas. Imagine that! Renaissance Man and I, on the other hand, though surrounded by Christmas decorations, are living in limbo. We moved his mother to a hospice facility yesterday … and pray she goes quickly. It would be such a blessing.

It’s interesting what the Eleventh Hour looks like for different people. My mother-in-law, Frances, is a Christian, spent most of her adult life as a pastor’s wife, and for many years has given every indication of being afraid to die. She lived her life doing “the right things” — perhaps in fear of what God might do to her if she didn’t. She’s long been a legalistic, “Bible thumper” (how’s that for a little Southern vernacular?) … and yet she extended grace to me 22 years ago when her 32-year-old, never married, youngest son asked this divorced young woman with two daughters to be his wife. I knew she believed divorce was to be avoided “almost always.” We agreed about that. Even so, she accepted and loved me and my girls; never once judging me or being a “pushy” mother-in-law. She was good to me. I only wish she could have been better to herself … releasing the fear of death and accepting the unmerited favor of her God. I wish she could have better cultivated the relationship of love and acceptance that God offers to every one of us. But I’m thankful that yesterday she found peace in her reality and is ready to meet her Lord.

The Eleventh Hour … Although half way across the continent, we’re receiving regular updates about the friend I told you about HERE. She’s had only half as long a life as Renaissance Man’s mother, but she’s spent much of it embracing the relationship with her Creator and, although sad to leave friends and family “too soon,” she is ready … and joyful. She wonders why she’s still living. One day … any day now … her body will reach the same conclusion as her heart, and she’ll move into her eternity. She’s looking forward to that day!

The Eleventh Hour … The good news is that, to a great extent, we get to choose what ours will look like. Will we be fearful … or ready … when the hour comes? It’s a personal choice, and I made mine a long time ago. My Creator offered me a Christmas gift, and I accepted it. He offers you the same one.



For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

It’s a gift of relationship and eternal security offered in love.  You don’t deserve it.  No one does.  All you have to do is accept it. I pray you have … or will.  Don’t wait until some other day to think about it.  You never know when your Eleventh Hour will come.


  1. Susan- I think a lot of “bible thumpers” have this deep fear of dying. They proclaim their Christianity as a way of “whistling in the dark”…they KNOW in their hearts they are saved and yet still fear they are not “good enough”. I will pray for a quick release from the earthly body for your mil. You are a good dil, I can tell. I hope you all have a deep peace about this. Christmas will be a hard one this year- xo Diana

  2. I will admit to a fear not of death but of the process of dying. As to actual death, I look forward to the Life of it and believe with all my heart that it will be more marvelous than I can ever imagine.

    I really and truly am sorry about not only your MIL but your online friend. I know fully well how tender and close we can feel toward those who meet us, spirit to spirit, in the strange way that technology now allows.

    I will pray for a peace to so surround your MIL that you can feel it bubbling through her room. I’ll also pray for your wonderful husband. No matter how old we are, Mommy is still Mommy, I think.

  3. Never been where your family is presently. Prayers go out to you all.

    You’ve been a good daughter to her and been a good wife to her son. May you have no regrets.

    May she come to know that peace that passes all understanding. May all her doubts and fears be buried in The Fountain.

    And may she not suffer. It’s what I would pray for my MIL, too. God bless you.

  4. Beautifully written from beginning to end…you have shared the Gospel, the truest gift of love
    I love your writings on your mother-in-law, how honoring and this soon to be mother-in-law again needed to read that…thanks

    Hugs and prayers

  5. What a beautiful post, and what a wonderful dil you are. My mother moved into the memory care unit at her assisted living facility last year. She still has good days – she doesn’t remember our names or relationships to her, but she knows that we are people she loves and cares about. Much of her conversation is about things and people she did/knew long ago. As a Catholic, I spoke to my priest about this stage of life, and how difficult it is for us (the children and grandchildren) to deal with the memory loss, but that it doesn’t seem to bother her as much. He offered me some sweet, helpful words: that God is preparing us for life without our mother/grandmother – we still have her physically (which is a blessing), but not mentally. Also, she is reliving events/people from her youth, which is preparation for seeing them again when she leaves us. I had been depressed about my mom’s deteriorating mental condition until this conversation, but it’s much easier to deal with now.

    I hope your mil has peace in her final days and hours, and also for your family. Jesus’ arms are waiting to embrace her and comfort her … God bless her, and you, and your family.


  6. Very well put, Susan. I wish your mother-in-law peace in death that she apparently couldn’t get her arms around in life. Please know that I am thinking of your husband and his family as his Mother breathes her final breaths. As a dyed in the wool Catholic school girl, I lived much of my early years scared to death of God’s smite. I don’t know why on earth they teach little kids that! It’s like teaching your children to be afraid of the police. I have become much more comfortable with the idea of dying over the last 15 years or so after my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s just a part of the acceptance that comes along with maturity. I know I have done my best, tried to be “a good person” and realize that fearing it isn’t going to make it go away. I have had a pretty good life with many opportunities and triumphs, and I’m OK with it. Not that I’m in a rush to leave this earth, though. As I often say when in a dangerous situation, “I want to meet Jesus…just not today!” 🙂

  7. I am continuing to lift you and your husband and your dear mother in law to the Father. May you all have strength for this journey and a peace that passes all understanding. I appreciate your boldness in sharing the gift of Jesus.

  8. Just checking in to see how you are, Susan. You and your family remain in my prayers.♥