Published Sunday, March 03, 2013

Life with Josie

My sweet mom-in law-Josie Bohannon Gordon passed away Friday, Feb. 22.

Just days before her death, Josie told her son John that she vividly remembered the day he said he was going to ask me to marry him. And when she recounted the memory, there was a smile in her voice.

I am truly blessed to say, that in the 36 years I have been a part of this wonderful family, Josie became a second mom to me. When we were together there was almost always something to learn from her, especially when I wasn’t trying to. She was practical and applied her practical nature to every aspect of life. I realized most of her lessons weren’t intentional, and as I grew from a girlfriend to a wife to a mom and finally as a grandmother, I would discover many rich gifts of Josie’s instructional Life 101.

Her saying, “It’s all over but the shouting” made no sense until I had a baby. When packing for a trip, I remembered that Josie kept a list of common items one would always need when traveling. It was so helpful I laminated mine.

But one lesson was very evident. Our firstborn was acting out at church every single Sunday. I asked Josie what to do. Her reply was so poignant I have shared this same advice at least a hundred times. “Don’t put a child in an adult situation and expect them to thrive,” she said. Practical. No nonsense. Of course, she was absolutely right.

Josie was a good sport. She was probably the best good sport I’ve ever known. She laughed at jokes. She laughed at my hair. If I stumbled or fell or spilled something or did something else that annoyed the stew out of me, Josie would crack up. Her laugh was infectious; she would throw her head back, arms in air and bellow a laugh that made everyone laugh with her. She then would point out the obvious; “you just fell right over that laundry basket!” I’d glare back, “Ya think?” It didn’t deter her; she would keep laughing and eagerly recount the moment for everyone entering the room.

Around Thanksgiving last year, Josie asked me a question. She asked if I thought we would really know one another once we get to Heaven. “Absolutely,” I replied, without hesitation. Her eyes lit up and she smiled that Josie smile. “Really?” she asked. “God Himself promises it,” I assured her.

I Corinthians 13:12 says “now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Dr. Ray Pritchard who has ministered all over the world for over 40 years, explains it like this: “Today we see each other dimly. Our vision is blocked by our human limitations. In heaven, the imperfections of age, sickness, weakness, disease and disaster will all be removed. So will the taint and mark of sin. The result will be that those in heaven, while retaining the essential core of their personality, will shed all marks of human weakness. Will we know each other in heaven? Yes, of course. How else could it be heaven if we wandered throughout eternity not recognizing those we have loved in this life? We will be the same, yet strangely and wonderfully different, transformed by the grace of God.”

Pritchard adds: “One other small hint helps us. When Jesus was transfigured, Moses and Elijah appeared with him on the mountain.That’s amazing, considering Moses died and Elijah was taken directly to heaven hundreds of years earlier. But James, Peter and John immediately recognized them. Heaven does not abolish human personality; it perfects it in ways that we can hardly imagine. In that day we will know each other completely, far beyond our limited knowing in this life. In the same way that a mother recognizes her daughter’s cry in a crowded room, even so we will recognize our loved ones although we have been separated for years. Age will not matter. The passage of time will not matter. The mother will know her daughter and the daughter will know her mother.”

Josie is reunited now with her loved ones and Christ, who loves us wholly and eternally. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

I thank God for this promise and I truly, from my very core, thank God for putting Josie in my life.

Kathy Bohannon is a weekly contributor to the Newnan Times-Herald. She can be reached at

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