When You’re Looking for Life After the Death of Someone You Love

When You’re Looking for Life After the Death of Someone You Love

It was a simple gift of a hibiscus plant from a friend …to bring God’s comfort “when I miss my Mama’s voice”.  It seems the voice of the Holy Spirit would  be the voice I would hear whispering to me –unfolding a bit of a story through this God-created-visual of life and death.

hibiscus fotor

Every day it seems there is an ever flowing cycle in this plant.  It’s as if when one is gently laid to rest, another one blooms …and still others are beginning the budding process–preparing for their big entrance under the sun. And the seed planted has given birth and rooted and the nutrients are strong and pushing up through the stems into the miraculous budding and blooming of new flowers.  The cycle continues.  Life. Death. Life…

There is still more life to come …more unfolding of His grace for others to see.  There’s beauty in the process that results in quite the brilliant display of His splendor …but the birth of life is not easy.  

I experienced that pain on December 5, 2000 when my Dad breathed his last breath here on earth and was birthed into heaven’s glory.  His solid-and-secure presence was the strong structure for our family.  I had never lost a parent before.  It was terribly painful.  

We grieved deeply and yet  we were also relieved that his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease was over — his struggle with the shell of this earthly  tent that had begun to wear extremely thin …no longer able  to give the healthy protection and covering that was needed.  Just as creation groans in expectation, we also groan in the waiting for the redemption of our bodies.  {Romans 8:18-27, NIV}


But  a gift from God came during that season of grieving death …a promise of hope … a phrase I’ve hung on to since that day.  

You see, our youngest son had evidently been  listening  as the stories continued to be shared of the hope we have that his Papa was secure in the arms of Jesus in heaven because of his personal decision to receive the Savior’s gift of love and forgiveness.  On one average-normal-ordinary-kind-of-day about two weeks after my Dad’s funeral, Ben came into the kitchen and asked how he could know he was going to heaven …like Papa.  We weren’t having any kind of “spiritual” conversation at the moment –no devotions …no intentional prayer time — just  walking together throughout the day.

In a very matter-of-fact-kind-of -way,  I tried to simply explain  the beautiful story of how Jesus loves us …how He died on the cross for us to  save us from our sins and give us hope and life with Him both now and forever–including the promise of heaven one day …just like Papa had experienced.  I’m not sure all of the words I spoke but I think it included something about praying to Jesus to accept Him …personally making that decision to trust Him.  I’m not even sure my words were very clear but obviously there was something going on that the Holy Spirit was doing that was speaking in ways I could not.  

He ran to his room, laid face-down on his bed and began having his own personal prayer time with Jesus to invite Him into his life!  The Holy Spirit spoke life into his life  and life into mine as well with this truth…

God always gives life after death.

The impact of these words were so strong that I found myself in later situations  looking for the “life” after any “death” that had come.   Seeing this new life in Jesus that our son was beginning was the LIFE after the death of my dad.   One life passed; another  life was beginning.


On  June 9, 2016 I experienced another deep loss.  My sweet and precious Mama went home to be with Jesus.  It seemed she had been hovering between here and eternity for the last few months and just one day shy of her 93rd birthday, it was her turn to breath heaven’s air along with my Dad.  We sang her into heaven …loving on her and kissing her while she passed peacefully from one shore to the next.  The hundreds of little notes she had written and stuffed in every book and note pad within reach speaking volumes about her love for Jesus and her longing to be with Him was now written in stone.


Her life always pointed to Jesus …the Author and Finisher of her faith–and her life was written on our hearts with a love that will endure for all time and eternity.  

While I am so happy for her and the final freedom and peace she is enjoying, my heart has a pain so deep I can hardly breath at times.  I keep trying to find encouragement by reading the  little “book” she wrote –her thoughts and prayers penned on hundreds of little scraps of paper …


As the days after her passing seem to pass so slowly and the plodding through life here seems to be painstakingly slow, I found myself looking for the LIFE!  Hadn’t Jesus promised me He always gives life after any death?  The truth is, when you hurt so deeply it’s hard to see any life.  Your world gets wrapped up in the grieving and the pain and the heaviness of heart that seems to be sinking you deeper by the day.  

But there’s always life …

And on June 23rd, ironically just two weeks after Mom’s death, God brought life through her granddaughter–our oldest daughter, Carrye–in the form of her first published book, Gray Faith…God using her own little scraps of thoughts and life experiences scribbled out in journals over the years to bring life and hope to others who might be wrestling with their own faith.  

And the love of Jesus my Mom and Dad walked out in this life would  filter down through the generations to their children and grand-children and great-grandchildren and Jesus would birth LIFE from the seed planted … to produce many seeds for His glory. (John 12:24, NIV)

And my brother had prayed it …had prayed that as Mom passed from this earth that her “mantle” and a “double portion of her spirit” would fall  on her family left here on earth–just like God did for Elisha as he watched Elijah cross over. (See II Kings 2, KJV) And I began to see the birthing of life after this death that  completely crumbled  my world and left me feeling “life-less”.  God was continuing the beautiful work that He had started  and was not leaving us without a blessing and a hope.  

With this hope–even in the deep pain of our grief– we carry on until all of us who are born of the Spirit are forever with the Great Shepherd and Keeper of our souls — Jesus Christ.

*You can order your own copy of the life-giving book “Gray Faith” HERE  🙂

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Kimberly Buffington

    The spiritual examples of life you shared here are so powerful Joy. Our spiritual lives have so much impact both in real time and in the spiritual realm. Our whole life is a spiritual creation that is creating spiritual realities. Don’t you know that your Father watched from heaven with complete joy as Ben responded to the Spirit’s leading to follow Grandpa’s footsteps into the Kingdom of Heaven. All of the sorrows and difficulties in earthly ministry melted away for your Father in that moment. There is only joy when you realize that your life and spiritual path created the opportunity for your children and grandchildren’s spiritual path. It doesn’t get any better than that on earth!!!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Thanks Kim …that made me cry …good tears, of course. 🙂 I so appreciate your investment of life into our girl, Carrye, as well.

  2. flt

    …yes, my friend. …yes.

  3. mariegriffith

    Oh Joy, how beautiful. Thank you for sharing how the love for Jesus has passed on and on through generations. Love you sweet friend!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Love you too …comforting to know you understand this grieving as well!

  4. dawn aldrich

    Beautiful, Joy. Thanks for expressing your experiences so wonderfully. Life after death in tangible expressions. May God continue to restore life in you with each passing day.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Thank you, Dawn. Coming your way in August for some life-giving time with our kids and grands 😊

  5. joy3

    Reading back over this a few times… I’m so thankful for you! As I read through this again God is bringing so many times to memory of when the feeling of death overwhelmed my heart but then…. LIFE! Praying for you, that God would continue to breathe new life in you!!! love you

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Joy3 …thank you. Thank you for joining in by reading…thank you for praying us through…thank you for “going with” and “being with”. It means so much to me that you got to meet and be with my sweet mama. Love you.

Go for it! Leave a comment. :-)