By ANNIE WESCHE
“Lord, let me live that I may bring You glory!”
These were the beautiful words I witnessed pour out from my Mum’s heart and lips just moments before she was wheeled in for brain surgery. It was early August and her diagnosis of brain cancer had come to us only days before. Her body was battling, but her life was safe in the hands of her loving, trustworthy, mighty God. Her hope was securely confident in His power to heal and also surrendered to His perfect plan, but she cried out to live, and to live for His glory! For six months following her surgery, up until her very final breath here on earth, she did. With every nurse entering her hospital room, every visitor to the rehab facility, every therapist coming into our home, every friend stopping by, every phone call to pray with others, every text, every nightly prayer time, and every precious moment with her family — she brought Him radiant glory through her faith, hope, joy, perseverance, faithful prayers, bold witness, love for the Word of God, and intentional love for people. And above all, she brought Him glory through her ever-steadfast and ever-growing love for her blessed Redeemer, Savior, and Friend — Jesus.
As I lean upon the strong arms of Jesus and live out the days ahead without my beloved Mum — seeing reminders of her all around me, aching for her nearness, longing for her embraces, wishing I could hear her pray again or share her wisdom with me about life, wanting to tell her “I love you” one more time, and missing her in the sweet and significant life-moments yet to come — what I have learned from her will be treasures that remain, planted in my heart and soul, and forever impacting my life and walk with Jesus.
So, dear reader, in this small tribute to my cherished Mum’s life, it would be my great joy and honor to share with you just a few of these rich treasures that speak of her faithful walk with Jesus, her radiant example of His great love, and the beautiful testimony of His life within her.
What’s God’s Phone Number?
Mum believed that if you ever found you had become the first-turn for another person, then you should give them God’s phone number and encourage them to always turn first to Him. She would often ask her friends or those she was discipling, “What’s God’s phone number?” And then follow it with, “Are you turning first to God? Get on your knees and ‘dial’ His phone number: Jeremiah 33:3!”
Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
In God’s World Nothing is Lost
From the time I was very young, I remember this being her confident reply when I would lose something. My face would be wet with tears or marked by anxiety, but her face would light up and she would enthusiastically say, “In God’s world, nothing is lost! He sees right now where it is. Let’s pray, and He can show us just where to look!” How many times she would remind me of this, and each time, after we prayed, God would lead us to that which had been lost.
You Can Never Out-Give God
One of my favorite quotes from my dad in regards to Mum, was when he lovingly said with a smile, “Even if we had money, we’d have no money.” Because Mum simply delighted in giving all she could to bless and enrich the lives of others. If she had it, she gave it. If there was a need, she’d find a way to give something. She would tell me, “Annie, you can never out-give the Lord. Every time you have an opportunity to give something, do it! Because anything you give away to bless others in the name of Jesus, God will always give you more in return!” We were witnesses to this beautiful practice time and time again in her life. And it was just as true for the giving of her time and love as it was for things or money. “Give, and it shall be given unto you” (Luk. 6:38).
Pray About Everything
Nothing is too big or too small to bring to God in prayer — a parking spot, my name drawn in a raffle for the puppy I earnestly wanted, good weather for a friend’s outdoor wedding, a modest dress for an upcoming event, finding a bargain on something we needed … a life-changing decision, a struggling marriage, a broken relationship, a house to live in when we had nowhere to go, getting out of debt … I will remember her continually saying, “Let’s pray!” and before you could answer, she’d already started praying.
Pray With People
When someone asks you to pray for them, “Don’t just say you will pray. Stop right then and pray with them.” Mum knew how easy it was to forget that you said you would pray, so countless times, I witnessed her take the hand of someone and pray for them on the spot — in a grocery store, a parking lot, while at work, in the lobby of an event center, or in our living room. Lives were impacted by this expression of sincere faithfulness, confidence in God, and her genuine love to take the time right in that moment to pray for them.
Pray When You Say You Will Pray
Over the past six months, nearly every night, we gathered as a family to pray. And while we were praying for Mum’s sleep, her weak left side, her headaches, her healing from cancer, and any other need that was upon her, Mum was praying for those who had asked her for prayer. Night after night, no matter how weak she was, she’d faithfully bring before the Father the names and needs of those she loved, family members, others who were sick, those who were praying for children, those facing new life challenges, and those who did not yet know Jesus.
Mum had a burning passion for prayer. It came from her confidence that God hears when we call to Him, and that our own hearts are transformed when we sincerely and faithfully come to God in prayer. And that faith was coupled with a genuine, God-given love for people. She wanted everyone to know how real God is!
Memorize the Word
Mum loved the Word of God, and delighted in diligently memorizing it. She would ask you, “What verse are you memorizing?” If you weren’t actively memorizing a verse, she’d exhort you to pick one right away, saying that she’d keep you accountable and even memorize it with you! And if you told her you couldn’t memorize she’d quickly say with an eager, warm smile, “Of course you can! What’s your phone number? What’s your address?”
She was always ready to share His Word and rarely did you have an encounter with her where she didn’t quote it from memory. She knew that the Word of God is powerful. She experienced its power in her own life and was a champion for others to hide His Word forever in their heart. “…that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4 ESV).
Relationships are What Matter
She embodied genuine love for people and was always sweetly reminding me, “Relationships are what matter, Annie.” Because she was so filled with the love of Jesus, she could speak boldly and courageously. That was her secret to her boldness and her love — to be filled up first with Jesus. She remembered people, the special occasions in their lives, or the needs that they had. She could confront sin, but even in the sting of that confrontation, you knew you were loved. She was intentional and pursued people. She championed righteousness and kept people accountable to faithfulness. She loved to laugh, make memories, celebrate big, and make simple things special. She poured into people out of the wellspring of her deep love for Jesus.
. . .
He has made everything beautiful in His time. Mum entered eternity and into the arms of her Beloved Savior in the early morning hours of February 5th, 2018. She ran her earthly race unto the glory of her God, and ran it with a radiant smile for her First Love, Jesus.
As painful as it is for us to say goodbye to Mum this side of Heaven, as much as I feel an indescribable ache at the loss of her presence here in our lives, I have seen the incredible love and grace of our God as we’ve walked through these past months with Mum’s surgery, stroke, rehab, caregiving, hospice, and her death. I can say with full confidence in His goodness that He has made even this beautiful. He was with us every step of the way as our hope, strength, and deep comfort. And in our last days with Mum, the Lord gave us a few more precious treasures to hold within our heart’s memory of her Christ-filled, beautiful life. Her last verse committed to memory was John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” I watched as she wrote for the last time in her well-loved Bible: “Fullness of joy!!” above Psalm 16:11 about the presence of God. And her last words spoken on this earth were so fitting to the great longing of her heart. While we were sitting talking beside her bed, she overheard us say the name of Jesus, and she reached out her hand and sweetly responded, “Welcome His presence.”
The earthly impact of Sunday Wesche’s faithful life and her love for Jesus is impossible to measure. To me, she was the most exceptional, wonderful mother, and an unforgettable example of a woman after God’s heart. It is one of the greatest honors and richest joys of my life that I am her daughter. But my beloved Mum was always quick to say, “It isn’t about us or our great faith, but about our great God! He does the work!” She was simply a woman who beheld the Cross, saw her sin, believed in her Savior, fell deeply in love with Jesus, and yielded her life up to Him for whatever He wanted to do through her. And because it was His life living within her, she truly lived and she lived for His glory!
Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates.
– Samuel Chadwick
You will show me the path of life, in your Presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand Are pleasures forevermore.