Looking Through the Veil of Lament and God’s Holy Plan because God will move even mountains to get our attention.
The Basilica was majestic with glorious stained glass, among grand statues, carved reliefs on the walls, and mosaics almost alive. As the natural light spilled in, the beauteous dome encased in gold above the sanctuary caught my eye. The ceiling’s painting of the Lord God so high above reached toward me.
Quiet yet with sounds of a cough, a sniffle, and shuffling of shoes. As I lit a candle for Mom, I wondered how she knew.
God will move even mountains to get our attention.
Looking Back –
After spending many years as a prodigal daughter and living life with various philosophies, as I now look back as a woman who has embraced her Savior Jesus, I see how God was pursuing me. God knew my heart was almost ready, almost soft enough, and my eyes almost open so I would be ready to hear, see, and know Him.
God’s pursuit never stopped, but with my mother’s sickness and death, perhaps I was more aware of Him, or He was moving those mountains to get my attention.
Mom’s sickness accelerated, and within a month of her diagnosis, she was in intensive care. I lived about three hours from the hospital and would drive back and forth from my home. I’ll say it here: I was in complete denial that she was dying, as I think we all were, as I hear this happens to many with dying ones. One night, after I had settled in, my sister called and said, “Mom keeps saying call your sister she’s in Eastern Europe. And I keep telling her you’re in Woodland Hills at home. Will you talk to her?”
I was curious, “Hi, Mom.”
“Mom, I am not in Eastern Europe. I am at home. But was I having a good time?”
“Oh yes, I just wanted your sister to check in with you.”
When mountains move –
A few days later, in the early morning, my sister called to tell me they were taking Mom off the machines. A calmness settled over me as I dressed. Looking into the mirror I pulled my hair back with a clip.
While driving down to the hospital, it was the most beautiful day with blue skies and lovely clouds, and the light was spectacular. I thought, “What a perfect day to die.” I know that may sound strange, but it was as if I had stepped into another world, and I knew something divine was going on. And isn’t that what it truly is—when we take our last breath then to awaken with God almighty?
As I was nearing the hospital on the freeway, two white doves suddenly flew through the cars toward my windshield and then up into the sky. I gasped, “There goes, Mom.”
Arriving at the hospital, the nurse told me that Mom had started the dying process fifteen minutes earlier, which would have been about the time when I saw the doves. I thought the angels were taking her to heaven, and now, as I look back, if God was trying to get my attention, He had it.
God writes masterpieces filled with redemption –
So, flash to some months later when a friend asked me to go on a film job with her in Budapest. I thought of my conversation with Mom and had to say yes.
It was November 1, All Saints Day, a national holiday in Budapest where the Hungarians remember their departed loved ones, lighting candles for them and visiting churches and cemeteries. I had the day off from work and went by myself to Saint Stephen’s Basilica and in that cathedral—I felt the holiness, the sacredness. There I lit a candle for Mom, wondering how she knew.
But on this same trip, after I visited the cathedral, I was skyping in my hotel room with my husband when he told me he was reading the Bible. I said I wanted to read it too. He said you are in a hotel room; look in the drawer. So, I did, and later, as I read the Book of Matthew, the Holy Spirit swooshed into me. Yes swooshed, that’s the word I would describe it—a flooding, joyful powerful moment. And I remembered my Jesus. How could I have forgotten?
Through my mother’s death, God was preparing me for that moment when my heart would soften and open, when I would hear, see, and remember Jesus as my Savior. When I would give my heart to Jesus.
I am the way –
I will never forget that one fall in Budapest when I lit a candle for Mom, who died the previous April. I was in a sacred place where the veil between heaven and earth was thin revealing the love of God. After lighting my candle, I climbed the winding iron staircase of the new Renaissance beauty and onto the lookout terrace into a misty drizzle. I walked around the dome, marveling at the architecture, the sprawling city, and the people below. Leaving the building, I looked back to the inscription of Christ’s words: “Ego Sum Via, Veritas et Vita” (I am the way the truth and the life), John 14.6.
This only be God –
I would later read these words of Dr. Charles Stanley, “If necessary, God will move heaven and earth to show us His will.” (1)
I would later read about thin places in Jennifer Dukes Lee’s words, “Thin places are physical locations where the veil between heaven and earth seems very thin and porous. Here, you sense that you are in the middle of a sacred, transcendent place. You can breathe again. God is very near.” (2)
As God orchestrates the most amazing twists, turns, and leaps in our lives, I had the opportunity to have an intimate conversation with Jennifer where we talked about thin places and this very story and more for an upcoming episode on my podcast.(3)
- Dr. Charles Stanley, https://www.intouch.org/watch/sermons/life-principle-10-god-will-show-you-his-will
- Jennifer Dukes Lee, “Stuff I’d Only Tell God, p. 106, Bethany House 2023
- Behold-Her Beauty Podcast