Mom’s Legacy ~ Merry Christmas

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dear friends ~ {once again} i share with you my mom’s legacy.  God bless.

Mom’s Legacy 
~ Good Tidings of Great Joy ~ December 28, 2013

This past Advent and Christmas season has shown what it means to prepare one’s heart in this last journey with Mom.  It hasn’t been easy, but it has been a gift. And God, in His abundance, gave many other gifts, too. Especially this year.  Not in the presents, but most assuredly ~ in His presence.

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, described Advent like this: “to be a dwelling place for God; a womb for Christ, means to be extended, to be taken to one’s outer edges. Stretched. To be a womb for God means there will be stretch marks. A true Christmas, one that God indwells, will experience pangs and pain.”  

How true. Every tear poured out ~ left room for God to pour in. And He poured in His comfort, His Love, and His mercy in abundance.  Every moment. For all of us. And I was reminded ~ quite often, that when we are weak, He is strong.  He is near to the broken-hearted. And we knew the gift of His presence.     

As I held her hand, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together, speaking those familiar, comforting words, her voice would fade in and out, but she would pick right up where she left off.  I kissed her goodnight and we unwrapped the gift of knowing Christ was there, and she was clean, and forgiven.

Mom wasn’t forgiven because she was a good person.  {she was}.  Not because she tried hard to do the right things in this life. {she did}.  And not because she loved her family with her whole heart. But only because her heart was a Bethlehem for Jesus, and her forgiveness was a gift; a beautiful promise fulfilled by His sacrifice on a cross.

Another gift, in Hebrews 12 1-3: “therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

Amazing gift ~ this gift of God’s presence. Thank God, He came down for us; Emmanuel, God with us. Sweet tidings of great joy.  A gift to unwrap each moment of every day we are given.  Our Mom knew this in her heart, and she finished her race in the loving arms of her Savior.

As we run our own race, may we refuse to rehash our losses, and lift our chins today, and unwrap the gift of His presence, looking to Jesus, who goes before us. He never fails. 
Instead of being derailed by our fears, tears, and disappointments, may we always sense the divine invitation to believe the story is far from over. He who began a good work in us is faithful to bring it to completion!  As we run our race here on earth, may we embrace and hold fast to His promises; for they are very good gifts.

Because the Babe in the manger is the ultimate blessed proof ~ that Love ~ has the last word. And that love held Mom.  In her life, and in the last of her breaths. This love knows no end, and it never fails.  God led her through her trials.  He will do no less for us.  May we learn, as Job did, back in the oldest book of the Bible, from Ch 23: 10: “He knoweth the way that I take, and when he has tried me I shall come forth as gold.”

God’s Word tells us “Do not let your heart be troubled.” This Christmas, the words so often recited at Christmas, from the Book of Luke, Ch 2, have fresh meaning: “Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that will be for all the people.  For unto us a Son is Born. Unto us a Son is Given.  He is Christ the Lord.”

Have no doubt, Mom’s waiting for us in Heaven.  She punched her ticket when she said “yes” to Christ. She is now completely healed of every wound, emotional, mental, and physical.  Entirely in Christ’s peace, she is happily content, and lovingly enfolded in His arms, this child of God, our Mom.  Her race has been run.  Not only is she rejoicing, but she’s got a great front row seat in heaven’s grandstand, encouraging, and urging us on as we run our race, like she was never able to do before. She’s not going to miss one second.  And, she’s keeping awesome company with all those saints sitting right next to her. Together, they are cheering us on with all the power and love of Christ.  But their faith and joy won’t be perfected, until we who belong to Jesus, join them all when Christ comes again. 

The Gift of John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world He gave His only Son ~ that whoever believes in Him – will not perish, and will have eternal life.  Please don’t just look at the gift and believe ~ for even the demons believe…  Let your heart become a Bethlehem for Him.  She carried Jesus in her Bethlehem heart. That is Mom’s true legacy.  And she is living a wonderful, sweet, eternal life.

Truly ~ tidings of amazing joy sent from Heaven Above.  I pray we will all be there to meet her when Christ comes again
Thank you Lord.  Merry Christmas Mom.  We love you.  Amen. 
~  Leslie Cushing Vaskey McNeil 12/28/13

My Mom’s Obituary:
     Ardith Raye (Stearns) Cushing, affectionately known as “Tinkey”, was born July 19th, 1938 at Kalispell, Montana.  She was one of two children born to Ila Myers and Ray Stearns.  Tinkey grew up in Kalispell and received her early education there.  She came to Chester in her teens and finished her schooling at C.H.S., where she graduated with the Class of 1955.   Tinkey continued her education at the Kinman Business College in Spokane, WA.
      In April of 1956 she married Robert Cushing.  They made their home in Grass Range, where Robert worked as a school teacher and Tinkey fulfilled her life as a homemaker & mother of five.  Due to her cheer- leading skills from her high school days, Tinkey enjoyed working as the drill team leader at the Grass Range Schools.  She was also active with her kids in the 4-H program.
     When the Cushing’s divorced in 1972, Tinkey & her children moved back to Chester to be closer to family.  In the ensuing years she worked as a receptionist at the Chester Clinic, a dispatcher at the sheriff’s office, and an office helper at the Liberty County Times.  Her final job was administrative clerk at the local A.S.C.S. office, a position she held until her retirement in 2000.
     Tinkey lived independently in her Chester home until 2004, then moved to the Wheat Country Estates (assisted-living facility).  Over the years she dealt with intermittent medical issues.  Recently she was being treated for a chronic infection, which resulted in extended care.  Tinkey was admitted to a Lewistown nursing facility, where she died on the morning of Friday (December 20th, 2013).  She was 75 years old.
     Tinkey was baptized & confirmed in the Lutheran faith and enjoyed her membership at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Chester.  She loved the comradery at the Wheat Country Estates – including mealtimes, daily activities, and working in the communal garden.  For the past few years Tinkey wrote/submitted the weekly “W.C.E. News” column for the Liberty County Times newspaper.
     After returning to Chester in the 1970’s, Tinkey renewed old friendships and enjoyed travelling with friends, especially to Glacier Park and surrounding areas.  In her quiet time at home, she enjoyed reading and writing poetry.  She also loved to cook – her homemade fudge and “Gramma’s potatoe soup” were family favorites!  Tinkey enjoyed crafts, playing games, and collecting Christmas memorabilia.  In addition she was fond of old movies, especially “heart-warming” Hallmark productions, “The Walton’s”, “Little House on the Prairie”, and related films.   Last, but not least, Tinkey “lived for her kids and her family” – she loved them all dearly.
     Those who knew Tinkey will remember her classic red hair, her cute little smile, her love to socialize, and her “tender heart”.
     She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother (Larry).  Survivors include 3 sons, Rob/Becky Cushing of Grass Range, Jim Cushing of Great Falls, and Ken/Djuanna Cushing of Billings; 2 daughters, Leslie/Brian McNeil of Great Falls and Kay/Roy Weikum of Valier; 15 grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.
     A memorial service will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday (Dec. 28th) at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Chester.  A reception will follow.

The Cushing Kids and their Dad, Bob.  Rob, Jim, Les, Dad, Ken, Kay {left to right}.
thank you for all your kind thoughts, prayers and love.  it is always to His glory and a blessing that we do this for each other, be lifted up, consoled, and our burdens shared.  we’re so thankful. God Bless.  Merry Christmas. may your new year be filled with love and more wonder than you’ve ever known before.

Soli Deo Gloria

Comments 11

  1. I felt that the last steps I walked with my mum were also a gift. And you have your mum's lovely hair colour. another gift! Bless you!

  2. How beautiful your heart and your testimony Leslie, thank you and continuos prayers for you and your family. The gift of salvation is truly a gift go freedom, and how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. Your beautiful letter is good news, it is salvation and eternal life with the Living God! Blissful Blessings my dear northern girl.

  3. Oh Leslie, I'm so sorry for your loss. This was such a lovely tribute to your Mom. It was heartwarming and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing and God bless you.

  4. Beautiful words all around Leslie…time heals as we know but sometimes the tiniest of things brings the grief to the forefront. I hope you are able to be at peace with losing Mom and each day is a blessing. xox

  5. This is beautiful Leslie…I am so glad you pointed out that salvation is a gift…Jesus already paid for it…God Bless you and your family..I KNOW she is in a better place just waiting for you all 🙂

  6. Leslie your tribute to your mom brings tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's comforting to know that your mom is in the hands of The Lord our Savior. I'm feel especially honored that I share my birthday with her. May the coming days bring you rest and peace knowing that she no longer suffers from the earthly pains. Bless you, Karen

  7. What a beautiful testiment to your mom and the steadfast faith she held. Thank you for your beautiful remembrance of your godly mother and the gift of salvation that can only come through Christ alone. God has obviously used your mom for His works. And that work continues so beautifully in you, Les! Thank you for allowing us to share in your love, loss, and faith.

  8. Leslie, I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but am glad to hear it is only "temporary." I will be praying for you and your family as you grieve. Thank you for sharing this tribute, it blessed me.

  9. I'm so sorry for your loss, Les. What a legacy she has left you all. It's a wonderful tribute you have written here.

    (My grandmother's name was Ila Mae.)

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