Beverly Singleton: April 15, 1944 – June 28, 2021
“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”
Mom sang all the time.
Mom sang worship songs to the Lord from her heart. His praise was literally on her lips all day long. Those of us around her had the privilege of having our own hearts dialed in to praise right alongside her.
One time Dad was waiting for Mom at a hotel and when she came down the stairs, humming all the way, a woman standing next to Dad said, “Oh, she’s a hummer! Aren’t you lucky?” Dad’s chest swelled with pride. He was lucky.
When we kids would wonder, “Where’s Mom?” we’d stop for a moment and listen. Oh, she’s over there. Listening for her was the best way to find her.
Mom would even sing when she was upset. I can remember as a child when Mom got overwhelmed or upset with us kids she’d be standing at the kitchen sink, still humming, but humming more intensely. Angry humming. Teeth clenched: “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love; yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love!”
Oh how I’ll miss her sing-song greetings when we walked into the house. I’ll miss the way she sang her nickname for Dad, “James Darling!” I’ll miss her high soprano way of raising her voice above the sounds of a crowd.
“Let us not grow weary in doing good.”
As I child I would watch Mom’s cheerful, seemingly endless work and wonder, “How will I ever do that?” (She always said, “A woman’s work is never done!”)
Mom would come home from a full day of work and if she was tired she would tell me, “Kendra I’m going to set the timer for a 10-minute nap. After that I’ll start dinner.” That’s exactly what she would do. She’d come back downstairs refreshed and energetic, ready to tackle dinner, laundry, or whatever chores our family of five created.
One time when I was sick I took some medicine that messed with my sleep cycle. Mom was sympathetic (she always hated medicine) and she stayed up with me, playing board games all night.
Another time I was particularly grumpy. I’d had a terrible couple of days, crying, arguing with my parents. Mom had the kindness to understand that what I needed was attention. She took me out and spent the day with me. I honestly don’t remember what we did. But I remember that she was with me.
About a month before her diagnosis of brain cancer, Mom spent the weekend cooking for others. Along with her friends in the Koinonians community, she prepared a meal for over a hundred people for Mercy’s Gate. She was so exhausted at the end of that weekend, that looking back I think we were seeing the beginning of Mom’s disease.
Mom was an incredibly hard worker. She served diligently and cheerfully.
Trust me, my kids noticed. My older boys once said, “We wish we could just live with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma never says no!”
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
Mom taught me to smile. When I walked to the front of the classroom for my Kindergarten program, Mom said, “Don’t forget to smile!” When I was getting dressed for my choir concert in high school, she said, “Don’t forget to smile” I used to say, “How do I smile when I have to speak?” And she said, “You’ll figure it out,” with a smile on her face.
Thing is, even when my boyfriend broke up with me, she said, “Don’t forget to smile!” I have to admit, I hated that.
But I get what she was saying. She used to say, “You have to choose to be happy.”
That was how Mom lived her life. She chose joy.
Even as the cancer pushed in, she chose joy. She laughed at herself.
She had a terrible time finding the words she wanted to say when the cancer was growing. But she laughed at herself, and allowed us to laugh. And she gave us lots of funny opportunities to laugh, like the time my brother Clay and his wife Rita came back to the house after a trip to Costco and Mom said, “Oh! That place! They’re such a good slappy dorf!”
I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to walk through the hard things alongside someone with that attitude.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights”
Mom loved the gifts God gave her in this world.
She relished every lovely and tasty thing.
Walking through Barcelona with Steve and Dad and I several years ago, Mom was taking it all in. She kept asking, “What flower is that, Kendra? Are they always in bloom?” “What’s the name of this type of architecture?” “Why are the sidewalks shaped like this?” Whoops, I should have done more research before her arrival. Or arranged a professional tour or something!
Mom loved good food. Berries with vanilla cream sauce from the Broadmoor. Chocolate in every form. Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls. She wasn’t picky, though. I even remember her going through a McDonald’s phase.
Mom loved sunshine. She soaked it up like a battery charger.
Mom loved taking care of her flowers, maybe especially her geraniums, which she shared with me every summer.
Mom loved playing games. And she always won!
Mom loved her family and her friends so well!
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.'”
Mom is finally alive. Yes, she died, but now she knows what it feels like to truly live.
I hate to admit this out loud for the world to hear, but Mom wasn’t perfect. Honestly she would have been the first to admit it. She didn’t count on her joyful attitude or her energetic service or her charm to get her right with God. Her joy came from the knowledge that God loved her and accepted her even when she didn’t “choose to be happy.” He sent his Son to pay for her sins so she could live true life with Him in Heaven.
“To all who received him – to those who believed in his name – he gave the right to become children of God.”
And in John 3:16, God tells us that he loved us so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die the death we deserved so if we believe in him, we can have eternal life – true life! – with Him in Heaven.
So we have total confidence that Mom is alive. She is singing with the angels in Heaven. She is serving the King of Kings – and never growing weary! – in Heaven. She is smiling at the greatest delights Heaven has to offer. She is loving with the most perfect love. And she’s waiting (patiently) for us to join her there.
I’ll be seein’ ya, Mom.