Tag Archives: death

Two Years Ago Today, Mom Went to Heaven!

Initial Remarks

Today marks two years since my dear mom passed away—August 27, 2020. I wrote the following letter four months after my mom died, recollecting the time my husband John and I spent living with her for four years in her home. I mailed this note to a few very close friends at the time, but today, I feel like posting this in her honor and sharing that I am still sad about a lot of things, but I know moving on would be what she would want for me.

Dear Friends

First, I want to thank all of you who have prayed for John and me over the past few years. We were in a unique season of life—a life we never expected to be in. It was challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Most of you know that in January 2016, I moved into my parent’s home when my dad was ill with leukemia and dementia. John was working overseas at the time. Dad died in February 2016.

Being concerned about mom, I stayed with her after Dad’s passing. The idea of her alone in the house made me want to stay with her. Unfortunately, 2016 brought a diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer to mom on top of all her other ailments, so I continued to stay at mom’s house. John came home from his overseas assignment shortly after mom’s diagnosis and moved into mom’s house with me.

We locked up our house, and our life became different—more different than we ever expected. John retired after completing his overseas assignment but found a little part-time work, and life moved on. We settled into our life with mom in west Houston, trying to adjust to not being in our own home. I did fine for the first two years. But, the last two years were physically and emotionally tough on me. As mom progressively needed more care and attention, I became more nervous and anxious. I was not my usual self. I had a hard time coping, although I was able to conceal it from others for the most part.

John saw and experienced my constant exhaustion, my need for respite, and my emotional stress worsening daily. He was my rock. I cannot imagine any other person being so kind and generous as giving up his home and life to partner with me in caretaking my mother – his mother-in-law. John occupied my mom with mind-boggling conversations and debates. He made dinner most days, and towards the end, his help and love truly inspired me as he provided nursing duties way beyond his pay grade. Christ-like love was indeed in action!

God knew my fragile mental state. And I hate to say it, but COVID was the lifeline I needed to be able to move back home. It had become apparent that I was not doing well with our 24/7 living arrangement at mom’s house. When COVID hit: Mom’s housekeeper was able to move in with her even though we were back towards the end of mom’s life. John, me, and mom all sleeping in the same bedroom, available for whatever.

Even being home was highly stressful, with daily visits to mom’s house, more doctor’s appointments than ever, and issues relating to mom’s declining health.

If you have not guessed by now, two thousand twenty has been the roughest ride of my life!

I am omitting many “specifics” so I do not get bogged down and miss the point I am trying to share with you.

The fact is, a good friend said, “God has positioned people who can take our hands and help us find our way through the fog and storms.” You are those people!!! Your prayers helped me to pray and not lose my heart. Your prayers helped me to pursue seeking the Highest God, your prayers helped me to stay strong in the Word of God, and your prayers reminded me that challenges are for our spiritual growth. This journey was not anything I had ever imagined, but God knew I had to go through it. This season was sent to accomplish things in me that could not have been accomplished any other way.

Some of you have been where I was. Some of you have not. However, I want you to know that when we experience tears and disappointment, it does not have to dimmish our relationship with the Lord. He allows each new experience to make us aware that we need to trust Him so solidly that we can tell Him the down and dirty of all we think and encounter. When I had questions, God was there. When I cried, He was there. When I could not handle it anymore, God was still there. Even though there were times I could not feel His presence, you kept me hanging on to Him. That was possible due to your prayers. Thank you!

Mom died on August 27, 2020. John and I received a call at 1:50 a.m. from my older brother to come home. I had my cuddle time with mom; then, at 3:50 p.m. that afternoon, she took her final breath.

It has only been a few months since we left that season of our lives. Still, thankfully God is showing me why the experiences I encountered were essential. I do not understand many things that came about during that season. But God always pointed me back to Him—calling me to trust Him when I couldn’t see the whys of the past or the wonders of the future. During my caregiving time, I encountered burnout, compassion fatigue, taxing emotions, and the perps of spending time with my dear mom. I knew the challenges were in His hands. Thanks for your prayers!

Life is an adventure. I wailed many times during this period, “Lord, I can’t handle it anymore!” But He knew and knows when it is time to step in for relief. God moved when I reached the pinnacle of my despair in August. These years are now part of my life story. I recognize that “being out of our comfort zone” is usually the only way we can grow, and I thank God for it. I experienced many sweet times with mom that would not have been possible any other way, but it was still strenuous and tough on me. So, thanks again for your prayers!

Each day, I feel a little more rested and restored. I know that the Lord will use this experience for His glory. There are so many Biblical principles that I had read in Scripture but not experienced before. I encountered so many aspects during these 4+ years: love, forgiveness, gratitude, and boundaries—to mention the positive ones. Sometimes it is hard to see circumstances clearly when living under stress or in a bleak period. Still, when the light is slowly restored, we can feel God’s peace and presence in extraordinary ways—even supernaturally. We start understanding the why, the why not, the how much longer questions of life. In these times, we must depend on the prayers of our friends like you. And for that, thanks again for your prayers!

My takeaway is to encourage you to look at your circumstances through the eyes of our heavenly Father. Commit to renewing your mind daily with prayer and Bible study. Remember that darkness does not stay forever in whatever situation you face. Even through hard times, He is close by—guiding us, building our faith, and waiting to meet our needs. He has a purpose for everything we experience in life, to prepare us for His assignments here on earth or for our heavenly home.

Today—Two Years Later

Yes, John and I have moved on; that is a long story. Still, one thing we both know is that God directed and allowed us to spend time with mom. However, I encountered difficult times caregiving at points along the way. If you are caregiving, hang on! Memories are being formed that will be cherished more with time. The emotional journey has a purpose that God will use in your life ministries.

While living with my mom, I wrote a book titled Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending. I wrote it during the first two years of living with mom. If I had waited until later, the book would probably never have been written. I left out the hard part, the biography of my experiences as time passed, because I hadn’t experienced that. However, it is a good book for those starting on the journey of caregiving with lots of Scripture references. I am not posting this as a sales pitch for my book, but I wanted you to know good things come from caregiving. Our strength in Him and knowing that He always has His best for us in mind keeps us going.

Mom, I love you, and I always will. Thanks for loving me. I still miss you two years later.

God Bless.

Verses from Christian Caregiving:  Practical Advice for a Happy Ending [9780692115381-Available on Amazon.com. Only $7.44 today.

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3)

Books by Patti Greene


Christian Caregiving: Behind the Scenes

My newly released book, Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending, was published in May 2018. To me, this is exciting news! I am amazed at how God worked in putting this book together, so I want to share some background information about how this new release came about. So, humor me for a few moments!

Here Goes My Story

Once upon a time, not so long ago, my church* asked me to teach a class on caregiving. When I was first asked to teach this class my first thought was, “Why in the world would anybody ask someone to teach a caregiving class while they are in the midst of it?” However, after pondering and praying, I felt the Lord say, “Go Ahead!” I had no curriculum to follow. The class was put together by my own research, prayer, my living circumstance, the Holy Spirit and by my husband who was willing to stay with my mom (with whom we live), so I could go to the church to teach the class.

I taught the class not just once but twice.

Just as I don’t know how to express my gratefulness for this teaching opportunity, I don’t know how to express my gratitude for how this book came into being.

I had no intention of putting the highlights of the class into a book until way after I finished teaching the second class, but then again God impressed me with His words, “Go Ahead.” Each of the chapters overviews one of the six class lessons taught at my church.

At the same time as God’s “Go Ahead” words impressed me, I was asked to teach a couple of classes at Houston’s First Baptist Church at the Inspirational Writers Alive Conference in August 2018. One of the classes I am teaching is titled Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing. This opportunity was another big catalyst for this book because if I were to teach on self-publishing I wanted to experiment with how publishing with Amazon was done so I could share it with the class. Thus, this book was created through Amazon. I published my other books differently.

As with all new ventures, there is a learning curve. I  learned how to purchase an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) on this publishing journey. In addition, I found out that companies can format books specifically for Amazon Print, Kindle, Smashwords and more.

I had an awesome editor. He’s the best. He tells me when what I write doesn’t make sense; he corrects my incomprehensible grammar, illogical expressions and unreasonable comparisons. Wow. I couldn’t do this without him. He lives in Michigan. (He’s probably reading this newsletter now, cringing and in tears!)

I was so excited to be able to use the photograph of a friend of mine on the front cover! The cover shows her with her mom in a facility while caregiving. [This is a good place to say that this wonderful person also designed the covers my other three books.]

But, with this cover, I just went with a pre-formatted cover using a photograph she sent me. I am so grateful to her. She lives in New York. And who else can put together someone from New York with someone from Texas! Can I mention that I have never met this lovely woman? That’s a God thing.

It is always scary to push the “SUBMIT” button on a book one has written, but I did. A week after this book was published, it was brought to my attention that I didn’t handle something correctly.  I was made aware of it and just in the nick of time, I was able to correct a serious problem. This issue cropped up because I totally ignored a major plagiarism rule that I knew and have taught to others for many years. It made for some tense days, but God worked it out perfectly by me being able to delete my book off Amazon and resubmit it with the needed adjustments.

On my first submission, I ordered 30 books which I assumed would come with the first submission’s printing, but miraculously when they arrived, they had the issues corrected. God even prepared me through my former career as a librarian. I didn’t realize I had to type up the publication page — the page after the title page — since I didn’t do it for my other books, but with Amazon, I had to. My librarian experience taught me how to prepare that page with ease. Now, that’s specific! And, God knew long ago that I was going to need to know how to figure out Library of Congress subject headings!

I say all that to say that what is available on Amazon is the “best copy” I could do!

And one more thing: discovering the identity of the front cover picture’s photographer came late, but it came just in time and I was able to get the release I felt comfortable with in using the lovely picture on the front cover.

My Final Remarks

God is good and when we obey Him, He makes things all work out. And, even when I faced those stressful days between copy 1 and copy 2, I felt very peaceful that He was working it out. I didn’t know how He would do it, but He did. I feel like it was like turning the water into wine. Just miraculous!

If you are in the caregiving phase of your life or you know someone who is, I recommend this book to you. My prayer is that it will be very beneficial to you, your loved ones, and your friends.

Here Are Some Fun Facts To Know About This Caregiving Book!

The hardest part of putting this book together was the Endnotes and Bibliography.

My husband wrote the paragraph describing the book on the back cover. I didn’t put his name on “his” paragraph. Sounded too nepotistic for me. Ha.

My picture on the back cover is five years old. I am now in the process of trying to become a blonde. Yes, you heard me correctly! But, it’s not turning out too well.

The book is now available on Amazon.com for purchase both in print and e-book format. If you have Amazon Unlimited, the book is a free download. The book retails for $8.95 and the e-book version is $4.99. I think if you purchase a print book, you can get the e-book for 99 cents.

Thanks so much for reading my story. My readers are my lifeline and guide to my writing.

With so many adult children facing caregiving questions, this book may be the answer to most of their questions. I am asking you to share, forward and repost this article to your friends and family members.

God Bless,


CHRISTIAN CAREGIVING: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending by Patti Greene

ISBN-13:                                978-0692115381—Christian Caregiving—Print/Softcover

ISBN-Kindle:                      0692115383—Christian Caregiving—Kindle


Patti Greene’s book, Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending, is an excellent resource. It addresses the key points in what you need to prepare for. Written from a Christian perspective, it gives prayers and Bible verses to provide comfort during this difficult time. If you have read any of the author’s other books, you know she has a heart for God through her many years of prayer and journaling that led to her books. This would be a great resource for churches, caregiving groups, and anyone that has aging parents.

—JT, St. Louis

Christian Caregiving is a clear and concise resource for those of us who want and desire to care for our elderly family with the love of Christ. I have found the basic suggestions and information to be invaluable. Many of us who find ourselves in this season of life sometimes are simply overwhelmed with the magnitude of life decisions that have to be made. Knowing that this book has simplified topics and clear directives on what caregivers should do, consider and execute, has made the process much less daunting. Reading this book and taking note of the suggestions that Ms. Greene has so carefully put together has helped ease my concerns during my family’s caregiving season.

—AR, Houston

Bible Verses:

Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever. (John 14:16)

Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:2-3)

Prayer from Chapter 1 in Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Dear Lord,

Help me to be the best caregiver possible. Give me wisdom and a desire to honor You in how I serve. There are so many issues. You know my time and my schedule. Let me experience joy as I honor my loved ones. Let me seek knowledge. Let me be wise in my dealings with others. Let me be generous with my hugs and kisses. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Edited by E. Johnson

*Bear Creek Church, Katy, TX

Caregiving Part 6: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments

Caregiving: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments. Ask any recent mother about her child delivery experience and you will not hear the same run-of-the-mill stories. Each woman’s childbirth experience is different. As a point of comparison, there are just as many accounts about the dying process.  Just as we come into this world in our own unique way, we will also leave it in our own distinctive fashion. But, one thing is for sure—we will all die someday. Our life stories will be different, as evidenced in obituaries and hand-me-down family stories. We hate to admit it, but simply stated, death is a part of life.

One day your parents might be sitting on the couch chatting with you. A week or so later, they may be lying in bed struggling with labored breathing and experiencing hallucinations. You may be alarmed with the death rattle you hear in their chest. Shortly thereafter, they might die in your arms or while you are in a different room. But, then what?

When a loved one is close to passing away, we know we will face impending pain, grief, and sadness especially when that final moment occurs. Often times we wish we had time to rest, mourn and cry right after the death of our loved ones—but we can’t. We are thrust into dealing with the practical steps that need to be taken. Being prepared for this moment is tough, but it is by far one of the most important steps you can take.

Commit your works to the Lord. And your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

Before the Final Moment: Preparing

If your loved one is lucid, having information available will be very helpful to you when the time of death occurs.

iInformation may include:

Instructions pertaining to burial and funeral arrangements, pastoral information, favorite Bible verses or hymns to use at funeral

Location of important documents. Examples include the will, people to notify upon death, personal documents, debts, keys (car, home, and safety deposit), pension papers, bank account information, insurance information, social security number, usernames and passwords, business instructions.

Personal information, e.g.  name of colleges and degrees, certifications, past and current employers. All this is helpful to those left behind for probate, obituaries, and other important duties that need to be carried out.

If a person has been disinherited from a will, it is important to get an explanation in writing as to why in the will. This will help in resolving any disputes and/or contesting of the will.

Signs that Death is Near

As death becomes closer, you might notice that your parent might sleep more, be less verbal, eat less, drink less, encounter more pain, develop changes in blood pressure, experience a change in heart rate, undergo changes in skin, go to the bathroom less, become incontinent, suffer with confusion, experience erratic breathing, exhibit restlessness, endure difficulty swallowing, see visions, show evidence of glazed eyes, and extremities may appear bluish in color.

Saying Goodbye

Knowing when to call the family to say goodbye is difficult to gauge. When you notice symptoms, you may want to let family and close friends know so an opportunity to say a final farewell may occur. Obviously, at this point, you don’t know the exact time that death will occur, but most loved ones would appreciate a “heads up!”

It is interesting that many people have noted that sometimes before death, a person has a moment of lucidity. It happened the night before my father passed away. All the family was standing around his bed. He opened his eyes, looked at everyone and gave the biggest grin ever. It was so remarkable that he knew and loved seeing his family around during his last hours with leukemia. After seeing us all, he clapped for us. What a blessing that was!

Encountering the Final Moment: Embracing

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever. (John 14:16)

If death occurs in a hospital or facility, the staff will usually guide you as to the steps that must take place.

If the death occurs at home under a hospice situation, there is no need to rush to call the funeral home. As  reminder, “hospice” is not a place—It is a concept. Lingering around your loved one to say goodbye and comfort others is acceptable. When the hospice agency is called, they will support you and the family through your grief. They can also help you by contacting the designated funeral home if you have one. A death must be pronounced by a medical doctor or hospice nurse. Having hospice already in place will help the family during this difficult time.

It is worth mentioning that without hospice, the process will be more complicated. You will be responsible for making arrangement for your loved one to be picked up. But first, you will need to call 911. When an ambulance arrives, you might be asked when the time of death occurred. Be prepared to show a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order) especially if you have waited over an hour to call them.

After the Final Moment: Surviving

Request Death Certificates

When my father passed away, the funeral home told us to request at least 20 copies of the death certificates. There will be many instances where you will need them as you clear up their estate, personal affairs, and business. If the funeral home you are using does not supply those to you, they can be obtained by contacting the Vital Statistics office in the state where the death occurred. Most organizations will require an original death certificate, not a copy.

Inform All Financial Establishments

After you receive the death certificates, it will be time to contact all institutions regarding the death. Insurance companies, credit card companies, mortgage companies, brokerage firms, banks and more should be notified.  Be aware that once banks are notified of a death, the accounts are usually frozen until new accounts are set up with the survivors; this may take longer than anticipated, so be sure the family has enough money/cash to get by until this is taken care of.

Get in Touch with Providers

Contact utility companies (telephone, cable, Internet service providers) for cancellation or name changes. It is not imperative to cancel home services such as gas, water, electric, lawn services, pest control until a later date. This will ensure that the home or apartment can continue to be maintained until decisions are made.

Report the Death to Government Agencies

Notify the Social Security office and the Veteran’s Administration about the loss of your loved one. While some benefits might be canceled, others may be adjusted for survivor benefits. If your parents were veterans, survivor benefits may be available depending on the eligibility for you or other family members.

Contact Employers and Former Employers

Contacting current or former employers is essential. The Human Resources departments of these organizations will help you sort out benefits, life insurance, stocks, and beneficiary information. By contacting former companies, you might be surprised to find out that there is a death benefit that you are unaware of. It is your responsibility to find out about that, not theirs!

Probate the Estate

If the deceased had a will, there is usually an executor who is responsible for handling the distributing of wealth and property once a person dies. If there is no will, each state has rules and lists of qualified individuals to help you with distribution. If you have been named an executor, you must show proof of your role before working in that capacity; this is usually stated in the person’s will or an addendum. Depending on the deceased’s estate, it can take up to a year or longer to sort out all the details.

Spiritually Speaking

One simple fact is when our loved one dies, there are no easy answers or exact protocol to follow. There will be pain, grief, and sadness. When the apostle Paul spoke of death, he desired that “according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20) As we face our death and the death of our family members, let’s view it as the beginning, not the end—a time to exalt and glorify God. When we envision that our real home is in heaven, it may be a little easier to let our loved ones go.

Saying that we cannot trivialize death. We will miss our parents or family members when they pass away. It’s easy to focus on ourselves and the loss that we will/have encountered both before and after they die. Many people who spend the days, weeks, and months before an impending death giving their loved ones’ support, compassion, love, and care finding it very comforting to their souls.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—a time to give birth and a time to die.” Let’s be prepared for God’s moment and His timing by being wise, fruitful, and loving while we embrace our loved ones’ last days—in both the practical and spiritual sense.

Bible Verses:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

In my distress, I called upon the Lord, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. (Psalm 18:6)


Most gracious God. Please be with me as I face the final days of my parent(s). Let me care for them as You care for me. I need Your wisdom, Your grace, and Your peace. I need You now more than ever during this time when decisions need to be made. Let me be pre-prepared—both physically, emotionally and spiritually to know Your will during this difficult time. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

Preparing for the Death of a Loved One. [2016]: MetaMd. National Caregiver’s Library. Accessed 15 Oct 2016. www.caregiverslibrary.org.

Randall, Clark. 5 Things to Do Immediately After a Loved One Dies. USA Today. 24 Oct 2015. Accessed 15 Oct 2016. www.USAToday.com.

What to Expect When Your Loved One is Dying. WebMD. Accessed 15 Oct 2016. www.webmd.com.

Related Articles:

Keeping Aging Parents Safe

Getting Your Parents’ Affairs in Order

Being Your Parents’ Advocate

Housing: Options for Elderly Parents


If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here


Coping with Grief and Loss: Minnie’s Story

Coping with Grief and Loss: Minnie’s Testimony/ by Patti Greene, Greene Pastures by Patti [From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

Grief and loss usually go hand-in-hand. Minnie recently agreed to an interview about how her grief and loss has made her a better person. Her brother, husband, and two sons died. But, God was her support before, during, and after her losses.

This interview took place on August 2, 2016 on the Carnival Liberty cruise ship operated by Carnival Cruise Line. I met Minnie for the first time on the ship. During a breakfast together, I knew her story had to be told.

Life in a Nutshell

Minnie, I really appreciate the opportunity to ask you some very tough and candid questions about your life. In this interview, my goal is to pull out some insights so others may benefit from your life experiences regarding healing, death, grief, sorrow, and the ability to move on. Please tell me a short summary of your life.

I married at a young age in 1962. After having three boys, Jimbo, Kurt, and Paul, I became a single mother through divorce. My first husband and I were unequally yoked in the things of God, so I knew that if I ever remarried, I would only marry a strong believer. I wanted to seek God again, but I didn’t know how to. After some time being a single mom and growing in the Lord, I married my second husband Morgan. We became parents to two lovely daughters: Melody and Robin. My brother died  the age of 40 in 1986. My son Kurt passed away at the age of 24 from a tragic motorcycle accident in 1990. My husband Morgan passed away in 2013. My son Jimbo passed away at the age of 51 from alcoholism in 2014. I became a believer at 10-years old and was baptized at Nederland Hillcrest Baptist Church. I have always had a heart for God even though I haven’t always walked close to Him. As a child, I used to put a map on my bed and I prayed for the nations. I am 72-years old now.

Healing and Death

In 1986, you prayed for your brother’s healing. In 1991, you prayed for your husband’s healing. Your brother was not healed, but your husband was healed. Any insights?

In 1986 when my brother was gravely ill, Morgan and I prayed so much for his healing. In the hospital, I was paralyzed with fear. I was so scared and afraid. Now, I know that it was [spiritual] warfare – a fight of faith. God was trying to teach me to walk by faith. I was disappointed because I was learning my new walk with God and I didn’t know why my prayers of faith did not work for my brother. And he died.

Then in 1991, my husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma which is a rare form of cancer directly related to asbestos exposure. Mayo Clinic says, “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.” At the time, I knew I served a powerful God and that He could do anything. One day as I laid beside my husband during his illness, I thought I was smothering to death. But, I went into another room and fell to my knees knowing that God wanted to talk to me, I asked, “Are you going to require my husband’s life to do this?” God responded, “No, I am going to make you a woman of faith over this.” This is when my faith journey began. Many people prayed for my husband during this illness. And, Morgan was completely healed. He lived 22 years after his diagnosis. His medical case is documented at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas. The doctor said that he only knew of two other survivors of mesothelioma and they were not in the United States.

But, with every loss, I have had, I have become stronger and stronger.

Tell me about the deaths your sons Jimbo and Kurt.

Jimbo passed away from alcoholism in 2014. I took care of him the last year of his life and watched his condition weaken until he passed. In 1990, Kurt died in a motorcycle accident when he was 24-years old. He was also struggling with alcoholism at the time.

When your husband and son Jimbo died, you had time to prepare for their deaths, but when your son Kurt died unexpectedly in the motorcycle accident, was it a different experience?

Very much so. But, I didn’t have any regrets. I had many sweet talks with Kurt before he passed away. He shared an experience he had with God. He said he was in the front yard and a plant had a hot flame flaring up from the gas. God told him, “Kurt, if you don’t change your ways, this is what is waiting for you.” He had another experience seeing the stars, the moon, and the clear skies. The Lord said, “This is what is waiting for you if you come back to me.” Then, one night, Kurt called late at night and he cried and we spent time talking together. So I didn’t have any regrets.

You had mentioned to me that your sons and husband were prepared for life after death. What do you mean?

They all had a personal relationship with Jesus. They knew Him and I know they are in Heaven.

In Jonah 4:6, Jonah mentions, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Did you ever feel that way?

Not like Jonah did. I was not in defeat or despair, because God gave me glimpses of the other side [Heaven]. I realized that it is better to be in the presence of God. I never wanted to die due to my losses.

Grief and Sorrow

Out of all of your life experiences, what was the hardest situation you have ever faced?

It was when Jimbo was 16-years old and Kurt was 14-years old. They both wanted to go and live with their father. It was the first real heartbreak of my life. They were striped from my arms. They both wanted to go where they could drink and have no restrictions. Jimbo was only gone a year because he could not live the Christian life at Daddy’s house. But, Kurt never did come home.

Any other heart-breaking experiences?

What broke my heart more than death was seeing the struggles my sons went through with their alcohol addiction. Jimbo would go off for months at a time and my mind thought the worst. But, I know where they are and God has confirmed that to me.

How has grief and loss affected you?

It has made me a better person. It has helped me to know how real God is. He is true to His word. He has made me stronger. There is nothing He will not sustain me in.

Did you ever ask God, “Why me?”

No. Never.

It appears your sorrows were greatly multiplied more than others. Why do you think that happened to you?

I feel like He’s been preparing and using me to help others during their dark times. I encourage others and help them see that what they are going through is not the end. God does not view death the way we do. He wants us to see death through His eyes. I don’t view death as the end.

Prayer During Tough Times

What was your prayer life like during these times?

After each loss, I experienced grief differently. I gained more insight into prayer and how God works with each loss.

I experienced times of fear when Kurt was in a coma before his passing. I could not pray. Words would not come. I just said the name of “Jesus” over and over.

When I was in the hospital with Kurt in 1990, his nurse whispered in my ear and told me to keep praying. She said, “When you aren’t here with him, I am praying for him.” After Kurt passed away, I could not cry. My mom brought me into the hospital bathroom and said, “It’s okay to cry.” But, I couldn’t.

At the time, I was caring for everyone and I felt God was carrying me in his arms. I found my release after the funeral and I grieved properly.

Moving On

What does the phrase “time is short” mean to you?

It means we are allotted so much time. We must make the most of every day. We should see God’s work in all we do. His handiwork is everywhere. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

In 1991, you were impressed that God wanted you to be a “Woman of Faith.” Can you explain that?

When I pray for people, I feel the power of God. I love to read the gospels and life of Jesus. Jesus says in His word that He has given us power and authority on earth to preach the gospel. I’m not a preacher, but we can teach in our everyday lives. We can see people recover when we lay hands on the sick by the power of Jesus has given us. If a child of God does not know about this power and authority, they may live far beneath what God’s purpose is for them.

As you look forward, do you have any goals?

Yes, I want to go to Africa. I just want to touch as many lives as possible. I want to them to be saved, healed, and delivered.

Advice to Others

If you could share one tidbit of wisdom to young women, what would it be?

I would tell young women to let God be the center of their lives. The cry of my heart is that they must pass His name on to the next generation. The greatest gift for children is to pass on a godly heritage. They must guide their children by example. If passing on God stops with us, we will have a lost generation. Another thing I see is people speaking death over their children by talking negatively about them. We must speak life and good things over our children.


After all the grief and loss you have been through, do you have a favorite Scripture passage?

Yes, it is Psalm 91. I would encourage those reading this psalm to substitute their own name in this chapter to make it more personal and meaningful to them.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place,
the Most High, who is my refuge,
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Any last thoughts?

I just want people to know Jesus like I know Him. I don’t want people to live for themselves. I want my life to count for Him. I don’t want to waste my life. I see so many people throwing their lives away and living for the NOW. There is so much more and we need to go deeper with God.

Minnie, thank you so much for sharing the love of Jesus with the readers of Greene Pastures. Through teary eyes you shared your heart and soul.

God Bless,


Bible Verses:

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29:11)

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)

For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. (2 Corinthians 7:11)


Dear Heavenly Father, we don’t know why tragedy and loss come upon some and not others. But, we know that when and if it does come upon us that you are there to see us through. You always know the big picture for our lives. As we seek to understand your will and ways, let us never lose heart that your desire for us is always for our best. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

¹ http://mesotheliomaclaimscenter.info/what-is-mesothelioma

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. [All verses come from the English Standard Bible unless noted otherwise]

If you liked this article and would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe. It is an easy way not to miss any posts in your feed! Moreover, I would love seeing you as part of the Greene Pastures Community.

My Books – Available on Amazon or can be ordered at any retail book store.

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Devotional Prayer Journals by Patti Greene

Awaken Me – 365-day devotional prayer journal for in-depth Bible study; Fun words or phrases from the Old and New Testaments! Perfect for mature believers. ISBN: 978-1490893181 (Paperback)

Anchor Me – 181-day devotional prayer journal for growing individuals; The Bible and social issues. Perfect for new believers. Comes with a group study guide. ISBN: 978-1490893174 (Paperback)

Answer Me – Coming Soon: 90-day devotional prayer journal; All about prayer! Perfect for everyone who wants to deepen their prayer life.

To order Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here.

To order Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here.

Comments are always welcome. And, I would love to see you subscribe to my blog. To sign up for Newsletter and/or blog, click here.

On my blog, I want to write about topics that serve your needs and about what matters to you. I strive to help you with your needs and interests. Therefore, I am inviting you to share your interests with me so the content I write about will be more relevant to you. Please comment on this blog or email me at Patti@GreenePastures.org for confidentiality.

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Readers: If you have lived through grief and loss, Greene Pastures would love to hear your story in the comment section. Your words may be just what others might need to hear. Scroll down to the Comment Section.

Do You Fear Death?

Do You Fear Death? [From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

Why do so many people fear death? If you are one of them, you are not alone. Even the most sincere Bible-believing Christian fears death at some point. We might be fearful about diseases, aging, caretaking concerns, pain, disabilities, our earthly possessions, separation from our loved ones, and more. No matter whom we are, we can are assured of one thing — we will all die. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.” Do you fear death?

Last week I visited an upscale retirement community seminar with my mother. As I sat there listening to the presentation, the thought that came to my mind was, “How often do we plan for our retirement and our eldercare years, but give little or no thought to our eternity?” On a material note, our concerns include our IRA’s, our taxes, our stocks, and our possessions. We make wills and wonder how can we pass our money and possessions on to our heirs? If we are financially able, we may decide to live in a senior care community. In planning that stage of aging, we might be concerned if the facility has social activities, housekeeping, meals, pools, beauty shops, clubhouses, medical care, security, or step-up care when we might need nursing or full-time care.

In Japan, there is a new trend where people prepare for their death before it actually occurs. They have their funeral portraits made; they decide on a coffin and are fit for their burial outfit. There is even a funeral business fair called SKUKATSU FESTA to help with the entire process before you die.¹

It is important to make earthly decisions. However, planning for our eternal life is equally important. [Actually, it is 100% MORE important!] When we die, we cannot take our money or possessions with us. Things of the world will give us happiness on earth, but they cannot buy our eternal life. The Bible say, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-22. Our spirits will not die. Ecclesiastes 8:8 says, “No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.”  Our spirits are forever, so we should show an interest in where our spirits will go after we die. We will go either to heaven or to hell. That is a hard concept to understand. It can only be understood in the light of the word of God – The Bible.

What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?

When the fear of the afterlife hits us, let us seize the opportunity to learn what the Bible tells us about death. Jesus wants to help us alleviate those fears. He died on the cross for our sins. We must confess our sins and go to Him in faith. Christ’s answer to the man who came running to him uttering, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” comes in John 6:47 (NKJV) when He says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. When we have confessed our sins and trusted Jesus Christ, assurance of an eternal life in heaven is granted. In addition, the best part of heaven will be the presence of the Lord. We will see him face to face and enjoy all the blessings of heaven.

There is a website that helps people prepare for the afterlife. They help people rent or buy a tomb, schedule mummifications, guide people in a purchase of mummy care. People can purchase statuettes and canopic jars (containers for storing vital organs). This organization will allow you to pick out a basket of food and wine to be placed in your tomb for eternity. They will even hire mourners who will weep and cry as your mummy is brought to the tomb.²

Believe me, that is NOT how to prepare for eternity. We will always be distracted from eternity. That is how Satan wants it. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit, our hearts and minds can be drawn to our Lord and Savior. Moreover, through confession, faith, and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, our eternity can be secure.

Today, why not make a decision regarding your eternal life? In addition, if you have already made that decision to follow Christ, I challenge you to share this post with someone else – maybe a relative, someone who you have been praying for, or just a random post.

One day, my mother and I were driving in South Houston. There were three vehicles in a row. There was a city truck, a car, and then my car — all in a row all and all in the same lane. Within seconds, the middle car crashed into the city truck which stopped abruptly. Hanging on to the back of the truck was a government employee ready to jump off the truck to pick up tree clippings. Unfortunately, when the truck stopped, the middle vehicle kept going. The city employee’s body flew over a lane and his body ended up face down on a hard cement sidewalk. It was an awful site to witness. I wish I had never seen it. He died instantly.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, no matter whom we are, we can are assured of one thing — we will all die. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.”

We never know when our last moment on this earth will be. Decide for Christ now.

God Bless,


Bible Verses:

And being made perfect, he [Jesus] became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. Hebrews 5:9

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2

Prayer: O Heavenly Father, with fear and trembling, I come to you. Fearing death is not fun. I admit I am too concerned with things of this world. Grant me the grace to approach eternity knowing that I will meet you in Heaven someday. Give me the courage to accept your free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. I confess my sins and mistakes and I desire you to come to me. Let me hold your hand Jesus as I move forward every day just a little bit closer to you and eternity. Amen.

¹ Moodley, Kiran. Japanese Prepare for the Afterlife by Testing Out Coffins.26 Nov. 2014. Web. 7 July 2016.

² Book Your Afterlife Now. Museum of Science, Boston. Web. 7 July 2016 Eternitytravel.com.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. [All verses come from the English Standard Bible unless noted otherwise]

If you liked this article and would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe. It is an easy way not to miss any posts in your feed! Moreover, I would love seeing you as part of the Greene Pastures Community.

My Books – Available on Amazon or can be ordered at any retail book store.

devotional prayer journals
Devotional Prayer Journals by Patti Greene

Awaken Me – 365-day devotional prayer journal for in-depth Bible study; Fun words or phrases from the Old and New Testaments! Perfect for mature believers.

Anchor Me – 181-day devotional prayer journal for growing individuals; The Bible and social issues. Perfect for new believers. Comes with a group study guide.

Answer Me – Coming Soon: 90-day devotional prayer journal; All about prayer! Perfect for everyone who wants to deepen their prayer life.

To order Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here.

To order Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here.

Comments are always welcome. And, I would love to see you subscribe to my blog. To sign up for Newsletter and/or blog, click here.

On my blog, I want to write about topics that serve your needs and about what matters to you. I strive to help you with your needs and interests. Therefore, I am inviting you to share your interests with me so the content I write about will be more relevant to you. Please comment on this blog or email me at Patti@GreenePastures.org for confidentiality.

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Death, Dying & the Terminally Ill

Death, Dying & the Terminally Ill

[From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about death, dying, and the terminally ill. Many times we are forced into these thoughts by an event in our own personal life. That is why I am experiencing thoughts of death right now. However, it is not time yet to organize my thoughts to give a well-thought-out essay on the process of dying or how to care for a loved one at the end of their life. But I have thought about how prayer and God’s Word can strengthen those who are grieving over the anticipated loss of a loved one or those dealing with their own last days. Below you will find some meaningful Bible verses relating to the terminally ill and those soon expecting the death of a loved one.

Verses for the Terminally Ill

But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Psalm 49:15

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. Ecclesiastes 8:8

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.Isaiah 43:2

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live”,  John 11:25

She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:27

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:8

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:1-6

One thing have I asked of the Lordthat will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5

Verses for those expecting a Loved One’s Death

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

Cast your burden on the Lordand he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1

No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. Ecclesiastes 8:8

and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah41:10

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:28-29

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” John 13:7

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

God Bless.



Dear Heavenly Father, be with all of us who dealing with the death of loved one or friend or the impending loss of someone dear. Give us your comfort. Give peace to those in the midst of a terminal illness. Let them accept your gift of grace and love to get through this difficult time in their lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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My Friend Tamara: Life, God, Cancer, and Death

Tamara, my good friend passed away this month from cancer. She was only 40 years old. Thirteen months earlier she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer that had metastasized to her brain, bones, liver, and stomach. She fought a valiant fight to survive. She did not want to leave her 4 children. I was honored to be asked to speak at her funeral service. I want to share my thoughts on my friend who passed away way before her time. The following are the words I spoke at her funeral service. We all know someone who either has or had cancer; thus, this disease affects us all. Please, let me take this opportunity to encourage every women to have their annual mammogram.
The name of the church and the family names have been changed for privacy sake.

Thank you all for coming to Tamara’s service. My name is Patricia, and Tamara and I were very good friends.­­­­­ Today, I have two “notes” to share with you – one from me and then one from my husband Joe. But, first, I will like to share my remembrances of a lovely lady.

Tamara was a praying woman. She shared with me about how scared she was when she moved to Houston from Pennsylvania. But, she said that her parents always told her to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. She wasn’t going to church, but her mom said, “Tamara, you were raised in church – you need to take the children to church.” Her mom gave her the idea to go to the closest church. That was this church – Fruits Baptist Church. She told me she remembers the pastor saying one day that, “You don’t have to feel lonely!” The next day Tamara she attended a Sunday School Class. She claimed she used to be shy, but she prayed, “God, who can I talk to?” It was in that Sunday School class that she told me once that God provided and it was through that class that she was able to share her life with other people and was where I became friends with Tamara. One day, Tamara  and I were talking and I said, “Do you have anything special I can pray for you?” She just looked at me in unbelief that I asked her that. I didn’t understand. Then, she proceeded to tell me that I asked her those exact same words after a Sunday School class one day, and those words were the catalyst that started our friendship. Tamara became an active participant in our Saturday mornings fellowship luncheon which we had once a month too.

One day, I saw Tamara the happiest I had ever seen her. You see, in May, 2013, we threw her a surprise 39thbirthday party. And believe me SHE WAS TOTALLY SURPRISED. We had balloons, cards, presents, and birthday cake. We sang happy birthday to her. She was so overwhelmed with love that her joy went from laughter to tears. It was at this party that Tamara shared the story of her life with us. The Holy Spirit filled the home and filled all of our hearts. While she was blessed, I think everyone who attended her birthday party left more filled and inspired than even she was.

She shared about how her mom sold tomatoes to help her attend a school where she could learn English. She shared about the beautiful furniture her dad made as a carpenter.  In Tamara’s own words, she said the following about her parents.

“My parents raised all of their children to believe in God. My mum taught us that God is the only one you can depend on in life. My dad taught us how to pray for our food and for our sicknesses. My parents raised us well. In Zambia, where most of the people they knew died of AIDS, we had parents that took good care of us. We grew up in bad neighborhoods, but my parents were strict. They were always asking us if we prayed for this or prayed for that.”


Tamara loved Skyping with her family in Africa. She used to tell me about how her dad was quiet, but sometimes she would share something with them and they would get so excited praising God and dancing around. One time Tamara was at my house and I told her I prayed for her often. She said, “You do?” Then, I proceeded to show her in my prayer journal how she was on almost every day. In a sneaky Tamara kind of way, she tried to read the lines in my “personal journal.” She wanted to know EXACTLY what I was praying for her.

Before she was diagnosed with cancer, I prayed for her peace, for hope, for a place to live, for a job, for a car wreck she was in, for Sunday to get a job, for her children and more. Joe and I’s lives became totally intertwined with the family. One time our son Joseph took Sunday, her oldest son, with him to a park in Houston. They went walking on a path while Joseph taught an exercise class. When the class was over, Joseph couldn’t find Sunday anywhere. After waiting about 2 hours (and having many conversations with Tamara about Sunday’s whereabouts, Joseph called the police. Thursday night must be a low crime night because about 5 patrol cars were out searching for Sunday. Finally, one of the policemen found Sunday around 9 at night (in the dark) in the Bayou near the Beltway. The police picked up Sunday and drove him to Joseph’s car quite a few miles away. Tamara and I laughed so hard many times about how Sunday was able to get such special treatment and how he got to ride in a police car and he didn’t even do anything wrong. That is just one example of the laughter we shared on many occasions.

Tamara’s love for her children was so strong. If I had to sum up what Tamara felt about each child, it would be this:
Victor [5th Grade]: Your mom fell in love with your tender and sweet spirit; keep smiling for her. You are any mom’s dream. Devon [7th Grade] : Your mom was so proud of your musical talent and fun-loving spirit; When you play your music, play well for your mom! And remember Luka, your mom thinks you are the best cleaner in the family.
Faith [11th Grade]: Your mom was so happy to have a little girl; she was thrilled with your dancing ability and your strong desire to do well in school; keep it up for her, and keep dancing.

Sunday [2013 High School Graduate]: What you have done for your family this past year has been unbelievable. You were the man of the house for the three kids; you nurtured them; you made sure they were fed; you saw that all their school papers were signed; you got them to and from school; you took your mom to her doctor appointments; you cared for her. You gave up a year of working and going to school to help your family. You will be blessed. Tamara depended on you and God allowed you the privilege of caring for her through her diagnosis and treatment. You will be blessed. And, your mom DID notice your responsible behavior.

And myself, I have been blessed by knowing Tamara and her family. She taught me how to love unconditionally; she taught me to always be faithful; she taught me so much about the African culture so when I moved to Nigeria 1 ½ years ago, I felt ready to face the challenge. But, one thing she didn’t get around to teaching me (and she kept promising me she would teach me is to how to tie those African scarves around my head) – So, the first thing I will do when I see her in heaven with be to get her to show me that.

In conclusion, I would like to share some of Tamara’s words. In May, 2014, Tamara asked me to write this down for her and to keep it and today I would like to share them with you.

These are her exact words written 5 months before her passing.

“In August, 2013, I was diagnosed with cancer.  God is my help through all this. He has helped me in this sickness. People I don’t even know are standing in prayer for me. The doctors are standing with me too. My parents always taught me that God is always able, and I believe that. My encouragement to you is this: Whatever is going on in your life, remember, as my mom has always told me, that “God will always have his angels around you, taking your hand, and Jesus will deliver you in due time.” Matthew 4:6.

Rest in Peace

 [Tamara passed away in October, 2014.]
[Tamara passed away in October, 2014.]
Blogger Badge - White background 100x100Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²) is an international network of independent bloggers who meaningfully blog—and who are serious—about matters relating to the Bible. Follow the members on Twitter using our BG² List.www.PattiGreene.com

A Biblical How-To File

I created a folder on my computer called, “HOW-TO.” This is the most important folder I have. It saves me the most time and alleviates more frustration than any other folder I have made. All articles, tips, and important documents that I don’t want to spend time looking for again are stored in this HOW-TO folder. I refer to this folder almost every day for one thing or another.

Some of the document titles are:

– How to do a Quick Book entry;

– How to get rid of millipedes;

– How to give a wedding toast;

– How to make a Facebook banner;

– How to make a good tradeshow display;

– How to make an adult bib;

– How to mentor;

– How to potty train a toddler;

– How to resize images;

– How to write a book.

But, what if we had a Biblical “HOW-TO” folder? Well, we do. It is the Bible. It is in this book that we can find stories, encouragement, and important words from God on how to live our lives according to His purpose. All through the Bible, people spoke or pondered the HOW-TO’s of life just like we do today.

[Jeremiah] Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” Jeremiah 1:6

[Ezekiel] Show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. Ezekiel 44:23b

[Job] For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away. Job 32:22

In this blog, I want to just take a minut portion of some of the HOW TO questions that people ask God about and give a short answer through the Word of God. It is my prayer that maybe one or more of these alphabetically listed HOW TO questions will speak to you today.

A – How to deal with ANGER

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

B – How to be your BEST for God

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

C – How to accept CHRIST

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Romans 10:9-10

D – How to view DEATH

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

E – How to handle EVIL

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17, 21

F – How to understand your FUTURE

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

G – How to deal with GREED

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Luke 12:15

H – How to understand HOLINESS

For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Leviticus 11:44-45

I – How to be an INTERCESSOR

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

J – How to deal with JEALOUSY

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

K – How to become KIND

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2 Peter 1:5-7

L – How to handle LONELINESS

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

M – How to view MONEY

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

N – How to love your NEIGHBOR

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
James 2:8

O – How to be OBEDIENT

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
James 1:22-25

P – How to PRAY

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:6-8

Q – How to live a QUIET life

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1Timothy 2:1-2

R – How to deal with RESENTMENT

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
Hebrews 12:14-15


S – How to understand SUFFERING

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:2-3, 12

T – How to resist TEMPTATION

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
Proverbs 3:5-7

V – How to handle VOWS

It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
Ecclesiastes 5:5

W – How to deal with WORRY

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

X – How to be an EXAMPLE to others

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:2-3

Y – How should we view YEARS from God’s perspective

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2 Peter 3:8

Z – How to be ZEALOUS for God

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Titus 2:11-14

Bible Verses: Above


My heavenly Father, I love you. Let me seek you for all the questions I have in life. Assure me that you know what is best for me at all times and in all circumstances. Let your Holy Word be my guide and comfort every day of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

May the Lord our God bless you as you walk with Him. Have a great weekend!



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Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²) is an international network of independent bloggers who meaningfully blog—and who are serious—about matters relating to the Bible. Follow the members on Twitter using the BG² List.