Thursday, December 28, 2006

Journey in Salvation Pt. 12- The Church

Community Baptist Church in Elmendorf, Texas is a church the way it should be. Obviously, they have their faults, but I have never been in a church so focused upon Jesus Christ and His word. Heidi and I had the privilege of spending three years there. I was the Principal of the Christian school. My first born son, Joseph D. VonDoloski Jr. was born in Texas and ever since, we call him, 'Bubba.' I learned a tremendous amount in my time there. Pastor Kyle White allowed me access to the inner workings of the ministry and discipled me much while I was there.

It was during this time that one of the most significant events in my life took place. My mother Linda Died of cancer in December of 03. One of the sweetest events in my life took place at her bedside. She was in rough shape. She had in-operable ovarian cancer. She was unable to have bowel movements for weeks, so for the last few months of her life, she was unable to eat. Hospice was called in and they gave her Ativan and Morphine to make her comfortable.

One night, a group from the church came over and we pulled out the church hymn books. We began to sing songs and mom was singing with both hands raised worshiping God. It was such a rich time. My younger brother preached her funeral and it was one of the best messages that I have ever heard. "The gospel according to Linda" from Philippians.

Among mortals, nobody has had a deeper influence on my life than her. I think of what Paul said to Timothy, When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Mom raised me to be a Christian. I knew there was no other option for happiness in this life. I could tell numerous stories about her last days but will leave you with my favorite.

Mom's illness, together with her diet and medicine caused her legs to swell violently. So much so that she would scream if anyone touched them. Picture a 50 year old woman, hair falling out from chemo, black rings around her eyes, swollen legs, her bulging stomach making her look
9 months pregnant. Her teeth began to rapidly decay because she had gone so long without food. Her tongue had massive sores all the way down her throat. BUT GUESS WHERE SHE WAS SUNDAY MORNING?

The pastor commented, "Sister Linda has raised the bar for acceptable excuses for not coming to church." Ever since then, it has been rather hard for me to hear people's feeble excuses for not coming to church.

Mom believed like King David did that:
Psa 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

She believed like Paul that the church was the house of God, the pillar and ground of the truth and she loved the church. Mom raised four boys, two of them are pastors and the other two faithfully attend church. I will never forget her example.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Brother, what an amazing testimony of the grace of God in your mother's life! It immediately brings to mind Prov. 31:28a, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed..." I think most mothers would say that we hope that one day our children will do just that -- not for our sakes, but just to know they are seeking after the Lord in their lives. As we see them fall into sin and pursue it wholeheartedly, it takes nothing but faith and hope in Jesus Christ that they will come to despise that sin in their lives and trust in Him. Joe, I hope your mother eventually knew how much you loved the Lord and appreciated all she did to try to remain faithful in her life. I guess in the end of it all, it doesn't really matter. She is forever with our Lord and in none of that pain or grief that she experienced in her days. One day, you'll see her by the river and you'll know the joy she now knows.