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Raynee Kremer

Raynee had not spoken to her parents in five years. After a terrible fight, anger fueled their long separation. But when both parents became terminally ill, with no one to care for them, Raynee was forced to tend to their physical needs. Together with Christ, forgiveness and love, something Raynee calls "the unbeatable trio," God performed an amazing work—a complete reconciliation in each of their hearts.

You know, I realize that Jesus doesn't make terrible things happen, but he does allow difficult times for a reason. A great example of this is what I just went through with my parents. I'd like to share it with you.

The last two years have been a horrible time of pain—a time of a falling away from God and a time of renewal—for myself, my husband, my children and my parents.

Prior to this, I had not spoken to my parents for over five years due to a very wicked argument. But suddenly both parents were terminally ill, and there was nobody willing to take care of them in their final days. My oldest brother took care of their finances, thank God, because I'm terrible with money! He did his work well and my parents would have been proud of him.
Anyway, I took on their health care needs. It was a difficult decision at best. In no way do I mean to sound like a martyr, because I took on the task with great trepidation. I knew it was not going to be easy for me, and especially for my husband and children. And I was mad over it!

For two years we watched my parents die slowly, and a very strange thing began to happen. The anger I had began to melt away. When I felt angry at them, it was a comfortable place to be. I had always wanted them to suffer someday for the injustices they had done to me and my family. Up until this point, it had made me numb to the pain and sorrow of not seeing my parents. It justified everything!

Christ, Forgiveness and Love
Now, however, something was different, and I was confused! I didn't know it was forgiveness at work. One of the strongest enemies of the devil, next to Christ himself, is forgiveness. Christ, forgiveness and love—they walk hand in hand. I call them "the unbeatable trio."

As time passed, my husband and I began to pray with Mom and Dad. We brought them pies and their favorite Burger King milk shakes and Hawaiian foods. Every Monday night my husband would go sit by my father's bed and watch football with him (not that Dad was really interested in the game anymore). I think he just enjoyed Mike being there and talking with him.
Still, at times it was a very difficult situation. I would get consumed with guilt for not speaking to them for so long. I would cry out to God, "Now, when they are dying, here I am taking care of their most private needs and watching them suffer so horribly. I'm too late. I'm a terrible person and I'm being punished. How can I ever go to heaven? God could never love me!"
As a matter of fact, I was pretty angry at God for all that was happening. I was angry for being put in this position! Pretty selfish, huh? After all, it was my parents who were in a rotten position. My father, always a hard working man, had been given the nick name "Dirty Ernie," because of his work ethic. He was never afraid to get down in the dirt. He had been a man of great energy. But now he desperately worked for every breath he took, as emphysema ate away at his lungs.
Then there was my mother—a woman who, by her very nature, loved to talk. And she did it so well, and so loud! She also could out walk and out run us kids, when we were supposed to be faster than her! Now each day she lost her ability to move and speak, or feed herself, until finally she was trapped in a body that no longer would work. All she could do was stare out from her frozen body. A nurse would turn her every hour to keep her body from bed sores, or I would massage her feet and neck as they grew stiff from the ravages of Parkinson's disease.

There was one solace. There was peace. Jesus was able to take all my selfish anger, which had caused so many years of pain, and change my heart. He changed my parents' hearts as well. They too came to Christ, and we all accepted him as Savior. You see, through all that suffering we were learning together. We learned that love was the only thing that could get us through. We could not get away from the loving Holy Spirit that was guiding us. We could feel God's love around us, his unmistakable presence.

The night before my father passed away, he was talking to someone, although there was no one physically there for us to see. We heard him ask, "Are you sure you want to take me before her?" Then he said, "Okay, okay," very calmly in agreement. From that hour on, my father did not need his oxygen mask anymore. His breathing was calm and he slept. It was a miracle. He was at peace. He went to be with Jesus the next day wearing his very favorite t-shirt—the one that said "Got Jesus?"

As I look back I remember that as he got closer to the end, he had no concern for himself. All he asked was that I take care of Mom. He loved her very much. I never saw that concern growing up. They were always at odds with each other. But God can do awesome things in peoples lives, even at the end.

Blessings Beyond the Sadness
My mother survived one year beyond my father's death. She missed my father deeply and the Parkinson's moved rapidly. The sadness was there, however, the blessings kept coming to get us all through! We moved Mom to a wonderful Assisted Living home. She felt it was like a little family. One lady would come every week to pray with her and read the Bible. Mom loved that. Hospice came in to take care of her other health needs. These were angels of mercy in a sense. God doesn't just use heavenly angels to minister to us, this I now know.

In the end she was heavily medicated for most of her final weeks. Yet on that last morning at 2:10 a.m., she opened her eyes and began to form words with no sound. I could read her lips. She was saying, "I'm going to die. I love you." She repeated this three times.

I could feel another presence in the room, and so I whispered to her, "Mom, I know what you are saying and I love you too. I'll see you again. You can go in peace now. Do you see the angels? They are here." Her eyes then fixed on something that was behind me and she never looked at me again. I went on to tell her, "You go with them because Jesus is waiting for you at the gates of heaven with his arms open. Everyone else is waiting there for you too." Then she turned a bit, held on to the side bar of the bed like she was holding on to a roller coaster ride. She closed her eyes, then peacefully left.

Facing Death Without Fear
You would think that after all I had seen with my dad, that I would not be surprised. But I guess God's works are always a wonder to his children. My mom, before she accepted Christ, had always been greatly fearful of death. But in the end she faced death without fear. She just went home to be with the King.

When Mom left this world I didn't fall apart—at least not completely. I always thought I would. You see, I always put my mother up on a pedestal. I made her my god. What a horrible sin. That is what kept me from accepting the true and only God. The night my mom passed, I felt a strange and great peace. I remember saying, "Goodbye, Mom. I'll see you again." Now that's not to say I didn't do my share of crying. I have cried a lot. I'm human. But I've never felt alone along the way, and I never will be alone again!

I realize now that had it not been for everything that happened, we may never have seen the wonderful love of Christ and how forgiving he really is. My anger alone was what had put me in my situation. Love was the only thing that could get both myself and my parents out of that bondage. The amazing love that comes only from Christ did just that! What a mighty work!

Now I fully believe all things are possible. I will see my parents in heaven when God calls me home. The greatest gift is that I'll be there with the Father to glorify and praise his name!

I believe this gift of forgiveness that God gave me, my parents and my family, can happen for all of us. All we need to do is ask for it. His grace is truly sufficient for all of us. Brothers and sisters in Christ, family of God, you are all in my prayers!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!


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