Today is a tough day for my family. It marks ten years that my precious mama went to heaven. She is perfect and whole, worshipping her Jesus, which makes me rejoice. For those of us left here in this world, it’s been a struggle. We aren’t complete yet, and can’t see clearly. For us, living in between the now and the not yet — it’s harder. We aren’t perfect yet, but are being made perfect daily through Christ. So, we battle in our earthly flesh and this world of darkness. The great news is that, one day, we will all be whole and together again.
I learned many things from my mama. Watching her was the best teacher. Even all these years later, I do and say things because of her influence on my life. She was wildly practical and intensely productive. She embodied the notion of being your own person. She was never pressured or intimidated into doing anything she didn’t want to do. She was tenacious and determined. She was loyal and selfless. She was brilliant. And, most of all, she never paid retail! She taught me to stick with something, even if it seemed like there was no way. She would simply say, “then, you make your own way.”
One expression I have always loved that she used was, “don’t pick any lead daisies.” In other words, do your business and move on. There’s no time to waste. She was always rushing around — no time to just sit, too much to do for her. She would say, “Let’s get with it!” No stopping and smelling the roses for her (I figure she knew she had eternity to do that). She made every minute count. Being productive was supreme in her mind. There was too much to learn, read, do, give, help, and fix to sit still.
The most important thing I learned from her was live your life for an audience of one, Jesus. She taught me to love Jesus deeply as she did. It was evident in her life as she obediently and quite selflessly served Jesus and others. Mattie Lou Davis Riley really did live her 75 years of life for an audience of one! Just Jesus.
In 2005 she and my father decided to pack up and move from Oklahoma to be closer to their kids in Fort Worth, TX. They built a house right behind us. It was a precious year and a half having them so close in the last part of my mother’s life. She went from being the healthiest most active lady I knew to, over night, being unexpectedly stricken with cancer. She was gone before we all had time to realize it was the end of her life on this earth. A few weeks after her death I opened a devotional book on her shelf that I had given her years earlier. When I flipped through the pages I saw a letter. As I opened it, I immediately realized it was my Mother’s writing. I had never seen it before, but boy was I glad I opened that book. I will let her own words tell you how she felt about Jesus.
Written: “Jan. 10th, 2000 – Mattie Riley – What I want from the 21st Century (What calls your Heart)
I am Mattie Riley – very much my own person. I am happy, confident and at peace with myself and other people. The most important thing about me is that I love Jesus and feel his presence in every part of my life. That gives me the freedom to know there is nothing impossible to me that is in the will of God. I am constantly starting new interesting projects. I enjoy being involved in the lives of my family and enjoy their depending on me in any area they desire. I am constantly trying to gain help and information that will be beneficial to someone. I am me, and happy with who I am and what is happening in my life today.
I have plenty of but not an abundance of time left on this earth. I want to continue to do what I have done all my life — finding God’s will for me each day. There are definite things I will do. Most of these involve my husband as my constant companion. I want to travel to more places I have not been — to experience God’s creation more than man’s creation. I want to see my children and grandchildren continue to grow and develop into wonderful, useful human beings as God intends for them to be. I want to enjoy just being with my husband. I want to minister not only through my church, but in daily pursuits with Jesus as my guide. More than anything, I want to know Jesus better every day, love him more, and experience the full, useful life he brings. This has always been my passion, and will continue to be so as long as I live. I want to keep my body healthy, so I will be as active as possible. I want to keep my mind agile, so I will continue to learn and plan. I have been regimented most of my life, so I want to be free to go with the most exciting things that present themselves — doing things on the spur of the moment if I want — changing my plans if I desire. It will be an exciting ? years. I will “go with God.
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (I Corinthians 15: 54-58)
I sign all my blogs, ‘Just Jesus,’ as a reminder of my mother and her faithfulness to the end of her days. She always said, “It’s Just Jesus. There is no more.”
*Dedicated to my little mama. September 19th marks 10 years that she has been in heaven. I miss her everyday, but also rejoice knowing one day we will have a big reunion with her in heaven.