How Will You Be Remembered?

On September 20, my world was rocked with news that my mom had stage III-IV pancreatic cancer. While the doctor said her life could be extended through chemotherapy, her cancer was inoperable and likely terminal. Over the past three months, Mom has suffered through chemo with incredible grace. Even though the cancer and its treatment has taken so much from her, we are so grateful for getting to spend some quality time with Mom since her diagnosis. However, the end of her life on this earth is very much on our minds.
 
During one of my recent visits, Mom asked if I would be willing to have a role in her memorial service. Suddenly my mind began to race as I thought about what to say about the woman who gave me birth; who changed my diapers and bandaged my wounds; who counseled me and coached me; who taught me about Jesus and living life with purpose; who always stood behind me as I grew to be a husband, father, and pastor.
 
And then it struck me – check that – God smacked me in the noggin with the truth about Mom from His Word: “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) As I reflected on my mom’s life, I realized that this verse is how she will be remembered. Through all of her life as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, co-worker, deaf educator, artisan, school volunteer, 4-H leader, refugee resettlement volunteer coordinator, MOPS mentor, and in countless other roles, Mom loved others with Jesus’ love because Jesus’ love for her had conquered her life in its entirety. The life she has lived she lived no longer for herself, but for Him! And all who have the privilege of knowing Glennis Paulson Formwalt can testify to this truth!
 
Now Mom would be the first to admit she is far from perfect and that she, too, is a sinner in need of God’s mercy and grace in Christ Jesus. But she lives with confidence in the face of death that through Jesus’ death and resurrection she will inherit eternal life as a child of God. And in every way throughout her life to this day, she simply wants everyone to know that she loves them because Jesus loves them, too.
 
So what are you living for? How will you be remembered? These are questions that I’ve begun to ask myself as I reflect on Mom’s life and legacy. God has gifted each one of us with just one life to live here on earth, so let’s use it for the sake of the Kingdom of God, remembering that “We love because he first loved us.

 
                                                                                                     
 
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for the LCMC Texas District. Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or bryce@lcmctexas.org. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lcmctexas.