My Mother, Elizabeth A. Peacher (Hilliard) went to be with the LORD September of last year (2008). He battle was long and difficult. I am reminded of the admonition to serve the LORD in the days of our youth, before the evil days come upon us; when one rises before the dawn, before the silver cord is loosened, before the golden cord is broken.
As a young girl, around 18 years of age or there abouts, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After treatments and medication her cancer went into remission. After graduation she met my Father and they married and had four sons.
During a revival at the Assembly of God church we attended my father and mother entered into the ministry. During this busy season of raising four sons and helping Dad start a church, Mom also attended a local college to receive a teaching degree. She became a substitute school teacher. With the help of faithful Believers in the local community and Mom's family member's who realized the need for a full gospel church in the area, acreage was purchased and a beautiful small church came into being.
While the church was under construction, meetings were held in the basement of a building that was going to be a church, but it was never completed. This building had an old kerosene stove that sometimes worked, but most of the time did not! I remember Dad's face getting black with soot, or something, as he tried to start the stove before service. Quite a few evenings, we all went back home smelling of kerosene.
* The two people in the foreground of this photo are Mom's father and mother who in my opinion were the Abraham and Sarah for their children and grandchildren. I miss them greatly and look forward with great anticipation to see them once again in the place God has prepared for those who love Him.
* The new church was taking shape and finally completed. The first Sunday School program was held and services were held in a new, warm and beautiful building.
* One of the first Sunday School classes at the new Berean Assembly of God Church in Shepherdstown, WV. (1966)
After several years, as most Assembly of God pastors do, our family moved to Orange Virginia, and settled in at a nice church in this sleepy little town. My three brothers and I adjusted to a new school, in a new area, making new friends. There was a great need for child care for disadvantaged, mostly minority families in the area at the time. Mom joined a Community Action Committee and became the coordinator for a local daycare center being operated at the local Catholic church. Not necessarily a popular thing to do in southern Virginia in the late 1960's and early 1970's. But Mom saw a need and she found a way to minister to this need in any way she could.
Again, after several years we moved to the Frederick, Maryland area and Dad and Mom settled into a beautiful church in this area. Some of her children, including myself, had started to move away and start out on their own. Additional pastorates of which Mom was a major factor in each were also in Catlett Virginia, Florida and again in West Virginia.
During this time, Mom's cancer returned. She was operated on at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD where her thyroid was removed. She recovered from the operation but was required to take medication for the rest of her life.
Due to various reasons my Mother and Father parted ways. Mom remarried after moving to Florida and her new husband died shortly thereafter. She remarried after a season and spent her time caring for her husband who was in very bad health. She had a nurses heart. She was truly born a caregiver. She saw the death of two of her four sons. She took one into her home in Florida so could care for him in his time of anguish. He second son died in WV while she was in Florida. My Father died several years later. Mom and Dad separated several years prior to this and the trauma of separation and divorce after raising children took its toll on her spirit and her body. Nevertheless, she still held to her strong convictions in the faithfulness of God.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a very serious operation in that regard. Parkinson Disease set in and took a terrible toll in a very few short years. What was once a vibrant, intelligent and stable human being became totally dependent upon others for her care.
The end of Mom's life was a not pleasant time; as it is not for most. The LORD has promised that He would be with us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He has said that He would never leave us or forsake us; it does not say that He will not leave us if we feel that He has or has not; He said He WILL NEVER leave us. He is always by our side.
My remaining brother and I did what we could in this situation but our efforts fell very short of what she deserved. We could not have possibly repaid her for what she had done for the both of us. Mom was always ready with a prayer of support, intercession and she always gave wise advice.
We take great comfort in knowing without a doubt where she is this day. The Bible says that when we pass that the spirit goes back to God - because God gave it to us. The evening she passed away a Hospice Nurse, who was minister's daughter herself, sat by Mom's bedside and read from Mom's bible verses that Mom had underlined throughout her life.
A tape player was softly playing old gospel music in Mom's room. The Hospice Nurse called my home as soon as Mom went to be with the LORD. She cried, but was glad that Mom was out of her pain. The Nurse said what was amazing in Mom's passing is that when the last song played on the tape, and the tape cut off, the song that was sung was "I Am Going To Wear A Robe And A Crown!"
The mercies of God are beyond comparison. He is the Great God that has said that the passing of His saints is precious in His eyes. I believe that angels stood by Mom's bedside waiting for the song to finish playing before they escorted her to Heaven.
Mom's way was often fraught with heartache and pain. But she knew where to go for comfort; God was always there. Many rock and hard place awaited her in her life. If she would have known when she was younger she may have made different decisions. We are all the same. But Believers and children of God can take great comfort in the fact that He is our Father and we are His. He holds us in the palm of His hand and He goes with us through all tough places.
I am confident on the Sunday evening as Angel's escorted Mom to heaven at sunset, she remembered her life on earth and smiled as she remembered a song she used to play on the piano and sing many years ago: " It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus, life's trials will seem so small, when we see Him, one look at His dear face, all sorrow will erase, so gladly run the race, til we see Christ. "
Dear Mother, know that the rest of us are not to far behind you. As His coming, or our going draws nigh, we will also join you in that great eternal city not made with hands. Where peace, righteousness, and holiness resides. It will truly be worth it all to see Jesus!
Randy --- Mom ---- Steve (1998)