My dear mother, Janice Via, affectionately known as Nena, went home to be with the Lord at age 87 on Sunday night, February 11th. How can I begin to describe to you the wonderful woman of God that she was!
She was saved at the age of 12 and lived the rest of her life to honor her Lord Jesus Christ. She was our prayer warrior, supporter and greatest fan. She always had a verse of Scripture to share and words of encouragement to bestow on everyone who met. Her vivacious personality and deep love for people endeared her to young and old alike. It became her habit to pray over me with her hands placed on my head before every mission trip. As soon as I returned, she would breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for another mission completed and more souls added to the Kingdom of God.
She has left us a great legacy of deep faith in God and an unshakeable confidence in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was our comforter, helper, inspiration and spiritual rock. Her prayers have become wings to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth through her family. What a glorious truth to know that she is forever in the presence of the Lord that she loved and served so well. And bless God, one day we will meet again at the feet of our King. Hallelujah what a Savior.
Realign My Heart (by Josh Via)
As the final service ended at Journey Church, I checked my phone as I typically do to see what messages had come in that morning. I noticed a text from my sister stating that our sweet grandmother, Nena, had just a few hours left to live. I hopped in the car and made the four-hour drive to Roanoke, Virginia not knowing if I would make it in time. In God’s providence I had two hours with her before she took her last breath and entered the presence of Jesus. Surrounding her in song and prayer, our family committed her into the hands of Jesus.
For 87 years, Nena was a committed disciple of Jesus who served Him faithfully and never wasted an opportunity to bring honor to Him. Her homecoming has reminded me of the brevity of life and the importance of making every moment count for Jesus and His Kingdom. I’ve had some sobering, yet incredibly healing moments with Jesus over the past week. One of the themes that the Lord continues to remind me of is this: “Keep first things first.”
As I made the drive to Virginia, I kept Cory Asbury’s new album Reckless Love on repeat. In his song, Born Again, he says:
Realign my heart and help me keep the first things first
Let me hear Your whisper and God, I hang on every word
When we realign our hearts to Jesus, the Holy Spirit exposes our proclivities to prioritize trivial matters. By keeping first things first, eternal things begin to matter far more to us than temporal things. As we keep first things first, we commit to follow Jesus in submission to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission—to love God, love people, and make disciples. So hug the ones you love today, spend time with Jesus, and tell the lost about the Savior who loves them. That’s keeping first things first. That’s the legacy that Nena left.