My Sister's Guest Room

My sister’s guest room ranks favorite when I think of best places to stay in Chicago. It’s a cross between a resort and a family guest chamber and I smile when I think of  it.

No one grows African Violets like my sister.  A half dozen of the delicate plants sit proudly in the guest room on racks in front of the room’s north window.   A recliner chair sits alongside them with a small table topped with the kind of books I like to read.  Oh, the delight to rest there!

A large comfy queen bed with a white comforter and pillows galore provide wonderful sleep.  End tables on both sides of the bed hold lovely lamps and delicate collector items.  She makes it personal for me with small framed photos of my family.

A bookcase lines one wall with frames of happy family times as well as photo albums that date back to when we were kids.  Besides a TV, she displays artifacts of trips as well as her accumulated Willow Tree collection.  Next to that, stands a coat rack with a variety of plush bathrobes.

The other side of the room features a vanity and mirror.  Once, she found a new makeup line and liked it so well she purchased two of everything to include me. I felt pampered getting ready every morning at that vanity and excited to try my new makeup.  I like having things that my big sister has, even at my age!

The last time I visited, two years ago, I witnessed her depression. She was diagnosed with cancer twelve years ago and doctors expected her to live for only four years!  I tried, during my three-day stay, to encourage her.  When we sipped our last cup of morning tea together and I gathered my luggage to leave and I wondered if it would be the last time I would see her alive as I kissed her goodbye.

Now I’m the One Depressed
Earlier this year, my niece sent me photos and an update clearly revealing that my sister’s health declined.   My heart feels heavy when I speak to her on the phone.  I wonder how long she will live.

Next Stop, a Mansion
My sister and I share faith in Jesus’ words that promise a place for us where we will dwell forever with Him.

In My Father’s house are many mansions;
If it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.  John 14:2

I enjoy reading stories written by people who have seen heaven by some means.  My husband cautions me.  He reminds me that Scripture doesn’t give us too many details about eternity.  We don’t know if the author really experienced heaven or just ate too much pizza before writing about it. 

My favorite heaven story happened to a teacher who took a nap before a speaking engagement and ended up in another dimension.  The glimpse of glory left him so overwhelmed he could not speak that day.  He radiated.  The audience could not even sit down; everyone knelt worshiping God.  In his book, the teacher described perfection all around and visited his mansion that awaits him.  It was decorated in everything he loved.  It sounds mystical I know, but it was a great read and I felt extremely loved afterwards.

I think about that book these days.  I would bet my last dollar that my sister’s mansion will be decorated in light wispy hues with splashes of colorful accessories.  Would the view from the window feature majestic Red Rocks which she loved on earth?  And I would wager African Violets will stream the window sills in perfect form!  The best is yet to come for her.  I smile when I think there will be no more suffering.  

Only God knows her final day on earth.  As of yet, she still wakes up to the sound of birds chirping in the tree near her deck.  I take comfort knowing that the ultimate healing is on the way!


  1. My current pastor said that death is the ultimate healing; I like that you confirmed his thought about it. We get to go home to Jesus; really is there anything else that is better than that? Absolutely not. I'm sure your sister's mansion will be lovingly decorated by the Creator and will suit her and her talents so wonderfully. I don't take much account with books of people who said they have been in heaven, especially the one that was called "90 minutes in heaven" or something like that for the title. He said he felt the presence perhaps of Jesus (I didn't read the book but read synopses of it and heard about it from friends). I'm thinking if I don't see Jesus within my first few time in eternity (realizing eternity might operate on a different schedule than we do) then I'm not in heaven. My mom did have an interesting experience the night before she passed. She was sick and the doctors didn't give her but a few more days. She rallied a bit when my brother/family came to visit her from California (she was in Washington, DC area with my sister) and we really thought she was turning the corner. The night before she passed, my sister said her my mom's eyes were clearer than they had been in a few days and that she looked beyond them in the room and had a very peaceful expression on her face. She slipped into a coma a few hours later and the doctors recommended comfort measures a few hours later and she passed early afternoon. I like to think she saw Jesus, though I don't know for sure.

    I'm so sorry for your sister's decline in health. It is comforting though you will see her again for all of eternity.


  2. Faith in God strenghtens the sick person and his family, and does miracles. Your sister has lived eight years more than predicted by doctors and she will go on living more years. She should just keep praying to God and having faith in Him.

  3. Beautiful post. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow and I pray that the days your sister is now living are comforting and peaceful until she wakes up in Jesus' arms. African violets are tricky. I did have luck with one plant one in the perfect window sunlight but it eventually got sick and was no more. I too love to read about those who have encountered heaven. So uplifting and I take great comfort in them. Have a blessed day.

  4. This is so beautiful! Like Melanie said, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Faith in God is so important and God listens, comforts, and loves us.

  5. What a lovely share! Your description of your sister's guest room positively came alive in my mind. In particular, I love her thoughtful inclusion of olden photographs and fluffy bathrobes. (ahhh ...)

    Like you, I'm comforted by her faith. When my mind grows weary and confused - desperately trying to 'figure' a vision of eternity - ultimately, I have to caution myself, not to lean on my own understanding.

  6. You write so eloquently about your sister and your thoughts.

    It sounds like the smell and sight of violets will always be a way that your sister will show you that she is home in her mansion built by the Lord.

    I pray that the Lord grants you both time to reflect on precious memories and to share His love with one another.

    God Bless you and your sister.


  7. Hi Mary! My heart goes out to you and your sister. What a hard thing to face...we all know we are going to the Lord one day, but to know it's soon... That's hard.
    What a thoughtful, loving person she is! I'm not surprised though, because so are you. Your description of the guest room made me sigh with peace. She truly has the heart of a servant.
    I'll keep you all in my prayers, and ask for peace and faith in the plans of the Lord.
    Blessings always,

  8. I love your description of the guest room at your sister's home. I agree, Jesus is getting a room ready for her that will surpass even that lovingly decorated place she prepared for you! So good to know she is ready for that room; so sad to realize that "good-bye" must be said first.

  9. Dear sweet friend, praying right now for your sister and for your sweet spirit. So thankful that you are so real to with us. To reveal your joy and your sadness. Your strengths and your weaknesses. I love how you described your sister's guest room. Oh may our Lord give her even more in Heaven that she could have ever imagined to have here on earth. Love you lady. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  10. That's awesome to hear but i am more moved about your relationship as sibies. Just continue on with that faith you guys and we know that Jesus will always be there with us. I'll keep you in my prayers and your sister.

    I missed your blog too! I'm back!


  11. Oh, I am SO sorry....I just can't imagine your pain and the dread of losing your beloved sister. I trust God will comfort all of your hearts. Sending love and hugs to you!

  12. I had no idea where you were heading with this post, but you tied it up together with a wonderful summary lesson and reminder; we enjoy the gifts of this world, but they are so temporary.

    I'm praying for your sister and your entire family. May all have peace until we cross over into perfection the way it was designed for us in the first place.

  13. Hi. Beautiful words, describe the love for his sister.

  14. Oh Mary, I'm so sorry to read of your deep sorrow at losing your sister here on earth, but yet deep joy knowing that eternity holds beautiful and amazing things that we can only imagine. I imagined your sister's home, and the guest room as you pictured it, and felt the love and care she had for you when you visited her. There is nothing quite like the bond of sisters. I will be praying for you and her that there will be peace in your hearts throughout this difficult time.

  15. I am so sorry to learn of your sister's declining health. We just never know, do we? I have a brother whom I feel the same way about...and he is not a Christian. I am so thankful, Mary, that you have the promise of knowing that when the time comes for your sister to go to her mansion you will be with her again one day. Great source of comfort and hope.

  16. Such a heartfelt post and lovely thoughts of your sister. So sorry her health is in decline. Oh, what would we do without hope!


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