Sep 30 2012

The Day Jesus Called my Husband Home


What I remember…

It was Sunday morning, July 15, 2012.  We had been visiting a church in a town about 45 minutes from our house.  Will and I had attended the same Sunday School class while our boys each attended a class for their age groups.  We both had concerns and mutually decided to leave after class instead of waiting and attending the Worship Service.

I remember the crunch, crunch under each step we took as we walked across the gravel parking lot on that hot summer morning on our way to our car.

I remember listening to the boys talk about their experience in their classes.

I remember the boys getting in the car and how I had leaned in over Michael to double-check his seat belt to make sure it was properly secured and checking with Josh to confirm his was pulled snug across his chest too.  I remember seeing the beads of sweat on their foreheads.

I remember it was hot and the sweat was beginning to trickle down my scalp, dampening my hair and sliding down the back of my neck into my dress.

I remember meeting Will at the rear of our car where he had popped the trunk. I asked him what he thought about the church as we stowed my Bible, the kids’ Bibles, and his backpack with his church things in it.  He had a serious, concerned look on his face.  He told me that he wanted to  tell me something that the Lord had laid on his heart while we were in Sunday School but he didn’t want me to think he was weird.

I laughed, put my arms around his waist…he was six-foot four and I am five foot six…I look up into his eyes with my eyes dancing and told him…”Baby, when was the last time I thought what you said was weird?”  He chuckled and said, “Good point.”

He leaned down over me and with love in his eyes, kissed me hard on the mouth…then said to me in a husky, hushed voice, “That’s one of the many things I love about you.”  He released me from his arms and stood there shifting his foot on the gravel and the crunching sound was a quiet background as he shared his heart with me that morning.

He began sharing with me how he had the strongest impression from God that morning…he said that the reality that we have two homes was more real to him than it had ever been before.  I’ll never forget his words from that morning…

“Mary, this morning, the reality of the fact that we have two homes in two different worlds has never been so real to me as it is this morning.  I mean, we live here in this world and have our home here but this is all temporary.  Our real home…our permanent home is in heaven with our Lord.  My heart is heavy with how so often the church, not just this one but the church in general seems more concerned with fitting into this world and being accepted than it is, that we are, with sharing the reality of our home in heaven with the people in this world.”

He went on to say…“I mean, when Jesus was here he didn’t get himself all distracted with worrying about how what he was teaching and how he was living “looked” to the people in the communities he visited or even how his family felt about all of it. Right?” He said, “What we should be focused on, totally passionate about, as a church and as believers is sharing the incredible gospel Jesus has given to us!  After all, it is good news.  The best news we can ever share with people!  Right?”  I agreed with him.

He told me, “You know how we have taken accepted God’s call to be missionaries in whatever ways in whatever communities and places or conversations God places us?” (Will was ordained with a missionary group the month before.)  I nodded and said, “absolutely.”

Then he said something that I remain committed to, to this day.

He told me that he knew that we had committed to God and each other that everything we do as individuals, a couple and as a family to bringing glory to God.  “But for some reason”, he said to me, “I feel the need for us to recommit to doing that right now.”  “I mean, I want us to seriously, passionately commit everything we do, say, every decision we make to be for the purpose of sharing the gospel.  I feel God impressing on my heart that our focus should be on bringing as many people with us home to heaven as he directs in our paths.  And no matter what we go through as individuals, as a couple or as a family, that we remember that it is an opportunity to draw others closer, and ourselves closer to our Lord.”

We got in the car.  We closed our doors.  He turned on the car and the air conditioning.  He took my hand in his and we bowed our heads and he prayed and asked God to help us to follow through on this commitment and asked God to accept our efforts to further His kingdom and thanked him for the honor of being a part of His bigger plan.

Everyone in our family was hungry so we decided to head to lunch.  Will wanted to take us to a neat little diner that he used to go to when he worked in a town near where we were.  It was on our way home and I was excited to check it out.

That is all I remember until twenty minutes later, when I woke up and heard confusion. I heard Josh screaming and talking to a man.  I remember blackness around me and feeling completely pinned in.  I struggled to move and couldn’t move my body.  I remember feeling my chest feeling crushed.  But I could breathe.

My mind was swimming.  What had happened?  I had no idea.

I remember yelling over loudness to Josh that everything would be OK and hearing a man’s voice whom I didn’t recognize praying with him.

Then the reality of Will’s weakening presence filled me.  I couldn’t see anything…not that I remember at that point.  But I knew he was weak and I knew he was pinned over me. (Our car was on its side and I was on the bottom on the ground.)

I remember yelling to Will…”Will!  Are you alright baby?”

There was no answer only guttural sounds.

Then I knew with everything in me that he was dying.  God was calling him home and he was worried about leaving us.  He couldn’t speak or at least loud enough over the noise for me to hear him.  I knew I didn’t have a lot of time so I prayed and as tears flowed down my face I said this to my amazing husband…

“Will, baby!  I want you to know that I will love you forever!!!!  Will, sweetheart, I want you to know that I will be OK and the kids will be OK.  You don’t need to worry about us.  Honey, here’s what I want you to do, can you hear me?”  I could feel that he could.

Then I told him what my heart told me I needed to…it was the very hardest thing I have ever done…but it was all I could do.  I could feel him fighting to breathe.

It was then that I told him, “Will, baby, if Jesus calls you home I want you to go with Him.  Do you understand me, baby?  I want you to go with him when He calls you.”

“I am telling you we will be OK.  You don’t need to worry about us.  I love you forever and if Jesus calls you home you need to go.”

A few moment later, in my spirit, I felt him go home with Jesus.

The tears streamed down my face and I prayed harder than I have prayed before.  I was completely in my own world with the Lord and could feel God present with me. I thanked Him for taking my husband home with Him.  I knew in my heart he was hurt really badly and with Jesus in his real home…the home he had just finished telling me about before this moment turned our lives completely upside down…and he would be OK.

I remember the overwhelming sense that I wanted to live to take care our sons, one or both if they survived, be there for Annie, and a passion bigger than I had ever known before rose up inside me to live in order to share the good news of Jesus’ grace and love with our children and to share the testimony of what God had done in Will’s life and his death…and what God has done and would do each day after that as a testimony to His power, His grace, His everlasting love.  I remember knowing that God would not leave me alone in this.  He would be with me through all of it and I would make it…He would carry me and guide me on this rocky road I was going down.  My heart was breaking at the thought of living this life without my Will, but at the same time I was at complete peace as I faded into darkness once again.

This is just the beginning of the new life journey that God is taking me on.  It was not easy to share with all of you…in fact I didn’t think I was ready to share all of this quite yet…but God has been leading me and whispering that it is time.  I pray that it touches your heart and draws you closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…and draws you closer to the people you love in this world…and increases your passion for sharing His good news with those you know and meet.

We do not know the day or the hour in which Jesus will call us home.  And I know I don’t want anyone I know to miss the chance to go home with Jesus when their time comes…


Unwrapping His Grace,

Mary Joy

**photos by Gina Weeks, June 2012.

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/2012/09/30/the-day-he-went-home-to-heaven/

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracey.causer Tracey Causer

    Oh Mary Joy, I know that this was very hard for you to share.  But thank you so much for sharing it.  I, too, know that my husband, Dan, is home with our Lord.  I miss him so much.  Your story was a blessing to me.  Love ya.

  • mommaraff

    :( I don’t even know what to say.  Strength, courage, love, and faith come to mind.  I’m still praying for you all.

  • Ginny

    Mary Joy, I pray that this finds you looking up towards Heaven!!  I can truly understand that it’s hard sharing such a personal emotional story with others!!  God will use you to point others towards Him as you share all that He’s doing in your lives!

    My precious daughter Joy Rose passed away at 14yrs, 3 mos and 10 days old on 12-12-05 after an 11 mo battle with cancer.  I know that I know that I know she’s in Heaven with our Lord!  I reassured Joy Rose “that I would be okay and that if Jesus came to take her Home she should go with him ’cause no matter what it took I would see her again”.  God is GOOD all the time and He never makes mistakes!!! 

    May God continue to use you to draw others to Him and His kingdom!!!

    In His Service,

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Mary Joy, I am sitting here in tears.  Thank you for sharing your story.  I am sure it was very painful but it is full of hope and healing.  I am continually amazed at your grace and strength.  But I know it’s only through JESUS that you have been able to go on.  You are such a strong woman, full of life giving words for others.  You truly inspire!

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      I am so glad that you were blessed. It is God who carries me through every day of this new life with Will in heaven. I am weak but I have complete faith in God who is so strong! May God bless you, my friend!

      Unwrapping His Grace for His Glory,

      Mary Joy

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1147326055 Lisa Singleton Sakon

    Trying so hard to use my word for this comment…. and not doing a very good job. I’ve never met you, precious heart, but I feel as if I’ve known you all my life.
     My heart is so overwhelmed right now.  My spirit has been so blessed by your blog.  My friend and sister— I join with you in prayer for your healing and for your journey.  I know that the Lord is going to do a mighty work thru this …..He already has .  Always here for you —God bless you and yours.

  • http://www.everydaytruth.net/ Lori @ Everyday Truth

    Mary Joy,
    Thank you for sharing that with us. What an amazing reminder that God is with us in every moment, even the impossible ones. Continuing to pray for you and your dear family.

  • paparazzimom

    what a beautiful testament of the love of God being all encompassing and surpassing all understanding. Thank you for sharing. I hope that writing this, and sharing it as the Lord has prompting you to do, will bring you peace and joy in your obedience.

  • Sandy Dykes

    What a journey God has brought you through and will continue to do so.   Thank you so much for sharing this part of your journey with all of us.  We may never meet on this earth but we will in our new home what a joyful time it will be to meet Will, you and him have touched our lives.  May God continue to Bless you and your family.

  • http://www.theresaathome.blogspot.com/ Theresa

    Mary Joy,

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.  I am sure it was very hard.  What a special conversation and prayer time you had with Will before the accident – Will shared a vision for his family for you to carry forward.  You, the boys and Annie are in my prayers. 

  • Virginia Revoir

    Oh my… I read every word and my heart broke with you.  We don’t know when it’s our time or for anyone else.  Your husband was so right, this is not our home and we don’t need to worry about offending the world.  We just need to share the gospel exactly as it was written.  


  • http://www.facebook.com/tiffanytmatthews Tiffany Thomas Matthews

    (((tears)))  I am so glad you shared your life & your heart with us today.  What a wonderful, encouraging testimony to God.  All of those words that Will shared with you we ALL need to hear!!  We should be on fire for God like that & we should be all about bringing as many people to Heaven as we possibly can…and through your testimony God will put those people in your path.  I do believe that your husband absolutely was hearing from the Lord that morning & that He was giving you the pep talk before the big game!!  God was talking to you through Will & telling you what He wanted you to do.  What a blessing that your husband was so intune with God!  I continue to pray for you & your family & am so excited to see what all God has instore for you & your lives.  Thank you again for sharing!  Blessings,

  • Jessica Fox

    Oh Mary Joy, my heart feels so much for you in reading this beautiful post. Hurt, for what a difficult thing to endure….joy, for what a beautiful thing you two had and what a glorious vision he left with you for your future, and what a promise of his his homegoing….what a beautiful story. I am praying for your sweet family, and am encouraged by your faith and your peace. God is all in all! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/cindyhannon Cindy Hyson Hannon

    Beautiful sharing with us! Mary Joy, I had not known this, God Bless you as you are preparing for Will’s Celebration of Life. Truly, the Lord used him in his time here and will continue to use you in the lives of your boys, step-daughter and others that you influence. You have many memories and joys to reflect on; may you be blessed in a mighty way as you serve him and walk in his grace! <3

  • Aylin

    I didn’t expect to read something so touching and amazing while looking around online to read about Heart of Dakota. What a loving and unforgettable story. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Art Pederson

    I suspect many of William’s friends from the PK Group will find their way here, or to Facebook or Twitter. I thank God for your testimony. You are a gifted writer. May you continue to be strengthened and gifted with the Lord’s Presence and Love as you share your testimony to so many.
    Art Pederson
    Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
    Member of the Promise-Keeping_Men Email List.

  • James Pepin

    Mary Joy, thank you for sharing this moment. I only knew Bill through the Promise-Keeping email group and always enjoyed hearing from him. Two weeks after your loss I had a heart attack from which the doctors said by all rights I shouldn’t be alive but God had other plans. Perhaps, with your permission, a part of that plan is to carry Bill’s story to other’s so that they might understand the importance of knowing Jesus personally.

    Jim Pepin

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing


      I am so sorry that you had to go through such a scary and painful experience. But what a blessing that has move plans for you here on this earth. I would be SO honored if you carried Bill’s story to others so that they can have a better understanding of the importance and amazing blessing of knowing Jesus personally. Thank you SO much for doing that. Having his legacy of faith in Jesus shared blesses our hearts so much. God bless you! Thank you for your prayers and I will pray for you as well. I know you all were such a huge blessing to Will through the promise keepers email group.

      Unwrapping His Grace for His Glory,

      Mary Joy

  • Mrs. Sarah Coller

    This is amazing, Mary Joy. I had no idea that you’d lost your sweet husband and I’m so so sorry. However, what an amazing testimony and attitude the Lord has given you through this! Thank you for sharing your story…what a blessing you are!

    Mrs. Sarah Coller

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing


      I am glad you were blessed. Everyday I am awed and amazed at how He carries me through each challenge and provides for our every need and continues to heal us inside and out. I give all glory to Him as He is the one carrying us through every day. It is an honor to share the testimony that God has given us. All for His Glory!

      Unwrapping His Grace for His Glory,

      Mary Joy

  • DonnaJ

    I just read this message. My heart goes out to you and your family. Yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of my first husbands death. I will be praying that the Lord will give you and your family strength and peace & that you will feel HIS love in a mighty way. The first year of everything is the worst but it will get continually better. The Lord will be there and uphold you when you are feeling weak, afraid or alone. Homeschooling your boys will be a special bonding time in your lives. My children were 12, 7, and 7 months when our tragedy stuck (during our 1st year of homeschooling) they are now 28, 24 and 16. I wouldn’t trade the closeness and bonding of our homeschooling for anything. Prayers to you!

    • Mary Joy


      I missed your comment, I am so sorry. I am so sorry for your loss. I really appreciate you telling me that it will continually get better after this year. Most people tell me that it won’t. I am very glad that we are homeschooling. This time we have together is even more special to me now and on the days when I just want to stay in bed and cry, caring for them every day keeps me motivated to get up and function. The fog of depression is beginning to lift which is a blessing. Our first Christmas season without him is very painful, but God is holding me tightly and carrying me through and teaching me so much through this painful time. I really, really appreciate you sharing your story with me. You have blessed me more than you know. Thank you! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

      Mary Joy

  • http://twitter.com/thelegacyofhome The Legacy of Home

    Mary Joy, I am just now finding out about this. I am so sorry for your loss. I remember how you would talk about how you were both working on your blogs together and how Will would help you with it. And I always loved how committed you both were to each other and to the work of the Lord. This testimony is very precious and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Carol D.

    I am sitting here on my daughter’s couch numb. The Lord saw fit to call my husband home about 8 hours ago. He’s been battling the evils of this world for a long while. My daughter and family are trying to get a little sleep. It has been a traumatic night. I typed in “God took my husband home tonight” and your story came up. I’m sorry for your loss. I know my life will never be the same and I have asked God to see me through this.. Of course, He is the only one who can. I believe that but it’s going to take a while for it to sink in………..