Today's the 8th anniversary of the death of my sister-in-law Armentha "Ment" Turner. The day I held the phone to my ear 1500 miles away from my strong, former football player tough guy husband of only 6 months and helplessly listened as he cried and told me she was gone.
We found out she was sick on December 31, 1999 and 2 days later Gene and I flew to Florida and stayed a week with his family. She was in a medically induced coma, but when she heard her baby brother's voice she started moving around. Tears falling down his face he leaned over her and told her how much he loved her.
Later in the week, we went to her house that she had just moved into that summer. Since she had moved out of her Daddy's house at the age of 18, she had always lived in apartments until she built her dream home. Her dream home painted in her favorite color pink. First-time home owner at the age of 46. Built for a daughter of a King.
It was clear that she intended on coming back home, but God had other plans. The television still on and her dinner plate full of stale food sat on the coffee table. She didn't want to bother anyone so she had driven herself to the hospital.
After we returned home to Nebraska, Gene's family kept us informed of her progress. Things were looking good as she was awake and smiling at everyone. She couldn't speak because of a tracheotomy, but the sparkle in her eyes spoke volumes of encouragment to Gene's siblings.
A few weeks later, on a Sunday morning before church I felt God stongly put Ment on my heart. He wanted me to call the hospital. Gwen, Gene's oldest sister was in her room and I told her I felt God wanted us to talk to her and asked her if she would mind putting the phone to Ment's ear. Sweetly she obliged and I went to find Gene.
I found him in a corner of our basement in the dark and I quietly and tearfully observed this strong man of mine on his knees. His hands and head were raised toward heaven and he was whispering prayers to God on behalf of his sister for more life . His face was soaked with tears as He knelt before the throne of mercy and grace begging the Great Physician for a miracle. I was hesitant to interrupt such a personal cry of desperation, but eventually I tapped him on the shoulder to tell him that Ment was on the phone.
Gene talked to her and told her how much love he had for her and even prayed with her, then the kids and I took turns talking to her. Gene got on the phone once again and then handed it back to me then returned to his corner of the basement to praise His heavenly Father as I talked to Gwen briefly. I remember her saying, "I don't know what y'all said to her, but she is crying hard."
The next phone call we received from Gene's family came the next morning at 5am informing us that Ment had relapsed and wasn't responding. Gene flew back to Florida that evening and a few days later along with his family was by Ment's side when she went to be with Jesus.
To this day, Ment's death would be one of the hardest things we've had to go through as a family. A time that would bring us all closer to God. A God that chose to say "no" to our request of a miracle. A God that tenderheartedly gave one last phone call to express our love. A God who felt the aches of a little brother's heart that didn't know if when his plane landed his sister would be dead or alive. God graciously kept her alive. A God who did not lose the love or devotion of those Ment left behind.
Over the last 8 years our families' love for God has done nothing but increase. My father-in-law Willie Joe, my husband Gene, my brother-in-law Will and my sister-in-law Gwen are all serving the Lord with all of their mind, strength, heart and soul. Even though they weren't ready to let Ment go, they chose to praise Him in the middle of their pain. They chose to seek His face and thank Him for the years they did have with her.
So much loss and yet so much gain.
Sometimes God will allow something to be taken from us that we may never be able to understand. These are the times when we fall face down before Him and tell Him, in You I will trust. It is You I will lean on. It is You that I will seek. I love You and although I have no idea what You are doing here Lord, you've got every beat of my heart. You have my attention. Use this darkness in my life to let your glory shine.
Our life here is short. A vapor. Are you ready to put down your plate of food and go home to Him when He calls your name? If you have never asked Jesus Christ to take over your life and you want to know more, please e-mail me or leave a comment so I can tell you what I know of this awesome God.
The God who wants to capture your heart just like He did Ment's. I believe that as she laid in the hospital bed surrounded by the people she loved she knew that her day to see Jesus face to face was closer than what she wanted it to be, but I think toward the end she was more than ready to go home to her Prince.
I choose to believe that on February 5, 2000 God had Ment right where He wanted her...
in His arms.