Some reflections I was able to share at Janette’s Celebration of Life.
Today it is not only family and friends that celebrate Janette. Today the God that she believed in celebrates her as well. For indeed, He has celebrated her in a way far deeper, and for far longer than any of us. Come along, shift your inner eye, and together let’s consider how God viewed Janette. …
For one thing, God celebrated Janette before she was born.
What the Psalmist understood about himself we understand about Janette. To adapt Psalm 139:13-16 God created her inmost being; He knit her together in her mother’s womb. She was fearfully and wonderfully made; her frame was not hidden from God when she was made in the secret place. When she was woven together in the depths of the earth, God’s eyes saw her unformed body. All the days ordained for her were written in God’s book before one of them came to be.
Janette didn’t just happened. She came into this world, having been put together by God to make a difference in the lives of others and to make a difference for God. God stitched her DNA together intentionally and with great joy. It’s amazing to think thru the different ingredients God used to put Janette together in her mother’s womb!
God must have been thinking, “This one needs to be a Scot! AYEE! I’ll give her the brogue and the vivaciousness – this world needs it – that’ll keep her eyes sparkling and laughter alive. And she’ll need a large dose of “Practical” too. Practical enough to serve, to help, to meet needs, and care for countless others. I’ve got to make her fiercely loyal, loyal enough to stick with and love one man for 51 years, through good times and hard. And AYEE, even loyal enough to be a Calgary Stampeders fan! I need to pour in enough compassion, to make her a caring mother and Grandmother. – to spread kindness on this earth with baking and loving and laughing. I’ll throw in a tiny amount patience, (that will have grow) and I’ll give her just enough stubbornness to keep others from walking over her. Oh, and of course I’ll leave a touch of my Spirit, that she might know she came from me and one day she’s to come back to me.”
And God smiled at what He had created and saw that she was good! AYEE! SMASHING! Before she even breathed her first breath she was in the heart of God and God said – “Get ready world, here comes Janette, one of my special gifts to you!”
For we are all a gift from God to the rest of the world and life the process of opening that gift and using that gift to enrich the lives of others. Janette opened her gift and gave herself to all of us.
While she walked on this earth God was celebrating her…
… imagine her, a young, pony-tailed girl in the Scottish countryside; playing and laughing and God himself laughing along. (Zephaniah 3:17) God himself takes great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” God celebrated the fresh beauty and innocence of what He made.
He was there with her…
…think of that day when in the most real center of her heart, she came back to her Creator. – the day that she welcomed Grace in. I never knew the exact time that she first believed in Jesus (but I surely saw the results of it) and I trust that at that moment God rejoiced declared “This Janette, is my beloved daughter, in her I am well pleased.”
God was celebrating her in the mundane and the memorable of life. He celebrated on her wedding day, on the day she gave birth to John and Richard and Sam and yes, even in 1971, when she and Bill watched her beloved Calgary Stampeders win the Grey Cup and Bill leaped into the air and put his hands through the ceiling tiles! God has there too (mourning that the Riders lost again) but celebrating with Janette’s celebration.
He was there…
… when she hurt. When relationships that she counted on became difficult and broken. When she disappointed herself and others. When life was hard. When her children hurt and it caused her pain. When loved ones passed away. In her loneliest moments and darkest nights. When her dreams did not get realized. When the anger and the tears came.
He was there with her in it all…
…when she sinned – blew it – failed – made mistakes. When she thought and did all of the things that we sinners do. All the things that we try not to think about or mention at a Celebration of life. In her most ungod-like moments – when she farthest from the being the person God had created – when she did what she did not want to do…. In that exact moment. God looked at her and made the greatest statement ever made about Janette Mack Speirs, “I will give my son to die for you that you might be forgiven – to be resurrected that you might never die! This is what you are worth to me!”
…when she loved others. When her laughter and accent and stories brought hope to many. When she baked Muffins and had Bill deliver them to her Pastor’s family every Saturday morning for SEVEN years. (my children never knew Janette’s name, only that she was married to the Muffin Man.) When she noticed single parents in need and sent them meals. When her example helped bring her husband to faith in Christ. When the best in her shone forth God was pleased and celebrated what He had made! Aye! Well done my child!
…when that weekend came for her to move from this world to next. When she finally walked to the end of this earth’s road – He was there too. Her True Father – arms extended – awaiting her arrival – He ran to her – the Prodigal Father on the move – He embraced her and kissed her – wrapped her in robes of righteousness and said – “Welcome home my Child!” And He celebrated with Her.
…and she is home… not Calgary… not Scotland – but her true home – the one that she was made for. The place where all her longings for love, wholeness, and peace are finally and completely filled. Where her soul and spirit can finally rest. No more longing for perfection, no more relationship worries and challenges, finally…. Home.
What then shall we say?
That long before Janette was born, before her Mother and Father and teachers and friends and husband and children got involved – she was God’s Beloved – and she is God’s beloved today. He knitted her together in mother’s womb and was always there. To tell her story is describe how she went from God’s intimate embrace to God’s intimate embrace. He loved her with an Everlasting Love – loving her in her best and her worst moments. Her name is written on the palm of His hand. Every hair on her head and every thought in her head was known to Him. She was always safe in the palm of His hand.
Today God celebrates Janette as one over whom He can say, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate her from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So we celebrate Janette today and we do so with God Himself who has celebrated her all along, “This is my daughter! AYE! My beloved child in whom I am well pleased!”