In Our Father’s House

Praise at sunset

My dear cousin Ellen passed away yesterday. Ellen responded to an altar call many years back, after a performance by my old Christian comedy act Isaac Air Freight. And so did our mutual grandmother, by the way (Grandma died a few years later).

Ellen was quirky, feisty, and fiercely loving—traits she shared with our grandmother. So, are she and Grandma in heaven now, because they “got saved”? Only God can answer that. But I will say this: something real happened to their hearts.

It’s not what we know, after all, neither is it the words we say nor the rituals we observe, that reserve a place for us in our Father’s house (2 Corinthians 5:1). It’s the condition of our hearts. We’re in this world to learn to love God and others (the two inseparable commandments upon which hang all the law and prophets—Matthew 22:40). That means, conversely, that at some point we must learn we’re not here to merely fulfill the demands of these temporal bodies before all the juice runs out of them. Anyone can understand this. It’s not an intellectual struggle, it’s a child’s struggle, a struggle of the will. Who will win, me or God? If I win, I lose, if God wins, I win. It’s the paradox of pride.

So, why would God leave us in a broken world with finite brains and faulty sensory gear to make such infinite, weighty choices? I can’t conclusively answer that, but I will say that there seems to be a certain efficacy to it. After all, if it’s not about what we know, but how we love, then a broken world full of contentious, hard-to-love creatures like ourselves might just be the best place to learn it.

I choose to believe my cousin Ellen learned it, and that even as I type this she and Grandma are whole and complete…

In our Father’s house.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to In Our Father’s House

  1. trE says:

    Peace, Mitch. You have my sincere condolences. Just reading this, I am moved to believe the same.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m thankful that I believe in God and heaven. It brings peace when someone we love moves there. Blessings to you Mitch 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. TEP336 says:

    Oh, but imagine how well they can now run, and laugh, and LIVE in the Lord’s house, Mitch. While the loss of loved ones will always bring about a certain sorrow, we can always take comfort in the fact that it is but a temporary separation. My Cherokee ancestors understood this concept well. There is no word for “goodbye” in their language. Instead, they say, “Donadago”, “We will see one another again”. I’ve bid farewell to many loved ones, and there are only a few whose eternal fate I’ve questioned. The rest I will see again when the Lord finally gets around to calling me home. May the Lord bring you comfort, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is a beautiful post. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. joyroses13 says:

    Sorry to hear about your cousin, but yes it sounds to me that she is rejoicing with your Grandma in Heaven and amidst sorrow that does help to bring peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sad news and well said sir. Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. numrhood says:

    matthew 47:15 clap n shout o heavens

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My condolences. Your cousin watches you from Heaven.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. In our Father’s house, there are many rooms, and Ellen is in hers! She is experiencing Joy without measure. Blessings as you remember your dear relative. She is now in your future instead of your present or past!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well put my friend, caring thoughts are with you and your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. themeonnblog says:

    My sincere condolences to you and your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So very sorry for your loss, Mitch! Prayers for you all!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Vince700 says:

    Titus 3:5 One of my favorite verses

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Vince700 says:

    Sorry for your loss too. Lost my dad in March of last year. I miss him as we had a very close relationship. He dependent on me for most everything. He heard me sharing the Gospel with a computer tech who was calling from the Philippines. The Lord even allowed me to pray with her as she asked Jesus to forgive her of all sins on the phone in front of him. He was so pleased. I know he loved Jesus so I will see him again. Still miss him for now though. God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Jon says:

    Sorry for your loss Mitch, yet grateful for the hope we share with Ellen.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. May God’s peace be with you and her family. Sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. D Everyday Resale says:

    condolences to you and your family may god give you all strength

    Liked by 2 people

  19. karanoel says:

    This is a profound post, Mitch. So sorry for your loss but so grateful for your hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. smzang says:


    I am sorry for your loss and joyful for Ellen’s arrival in her Father’s house.

    I much appreciate how you use personal experience to teach. It has a great

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Thankful for a post like this when the message is always hard. Beautiful.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Lovely post….Really Sad news for you…. Hope she will find peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. We will not want to live this post. However, there is in every life a similar situation. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ann Coleman says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Mitch. Personally, I believe she and your grandmother are with God, who knows our hearts so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Jennie says:

    I always understand, agree, and support what you say, Mitch. I don’t understand what “responding to an altar call” means. The way you write the post, it obviously doesn’t mean understanding and therefore following God. If you can explain this to me, I would appreciate it. And, my sincere condolences to you, Mitch. Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Jennie, many people have responded to a public opportunity to accept Christ as savior and Lord (often referred to as an “altar call”). That is, as a rule, a good thing, I think, but follow-up stats have shown that many of those people later ceased to follow Him. This is what Jesus spoke about in his parable of the sower and the seeds (Matthew 13:3-9). So I don’t assume that everyone who came forward on such occasions truly and permanently placed their lives in His hands; and I find the saying that everyone who did “got saved” a bit simplistic. Only God knows what’s in each person’s heart.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jennie says:

        Now I know what an ‘altar call’ is. Common sense tells me while it’s a good thing, it isn’t necessarily the call that is true and personal, one that will stick. Thank you, Mitch.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m so sorry for your loss, Mitch! My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. In your grief, you have written a wonderful post! I’m sure your cousin and grandma are cheering you on from heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Wally Fry says:

    I missed this. Sorry for it. Cousins can be very special. Sure glad she responded to that altar call though.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Janet T Oldfield says:

    Lovely post Mitch. So sorry for your loss but happy for your cousin and Grandma. You will have a wonderful reunion in heaven one day!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Garfield Hug says:

    Sorry for your loss. Blessings💕

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Bill Sweeney says:

    So sorry for your loss, Mitch. It’s so good to hear that Ellen and grandma invited Christ into their life. They’ll be waiting for you in our Father’s House.

    Liked by 1 person

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