My Mom Is Dying A Tribute to Shirley Koerth

Kurt Koerth Blog 7 Comments

Mom's pic


My mom is dying but it’s not her first death. About 20 years ago my mom was dead to God. She had given up on life. Here are her own words that she shared to our church…


“It’s sad how we can be so hurt and angry that we walk away from God. It’s not that I blamed Him- I didn’t. But my life took some turns that I wasn’t prepared for. And I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t handle it very well. I fell into the pit of depression and couldn’t seem to find a way out. I stopped going to church and even praying. I felt so useless and betrayed. I wouldn’t talk to my pastor when he called or tried to come to my home. I cut my friends out of my life and just kept sinking into that black, never-ending pit.

My five children had grown up and left home starting a life of their own and didn’t seem to need me anymore. My husband was an alcoholic and very hard to live with. In addition, he had an affair with another woman. The first time when he asked for me to forgive him I did. But he continued over and over again. So I made him move out of the home. That was the darkest time in my life. I never left my home after that. I didn’t even sleep in my own bed anymore. I never took a shower or washed my hair. I never changed my clothes and after a while I’m sure I smelled pretty bad, but I didn’t care or even think to care about it.

To enter our home, if you were family, you had to knock on the garage door and I would open it from the inside. If someone knocked on the front door I wouldn’t go to see who it was. I only answered to the knocks on the garage door knowing it was family. Before I allowed anyone to enter, I would turn on the TV and the light so my family wouldn’t know I had been sitting in the dark. The story goes on and doesn’t get any better.

So I will just jump ahead and tell you that my son Kurt, after many times of coming to see me, would sit in his car crying to the LORD in prayer for me. He had other Christians praying for me and indeed God heard their prayers! It was only God’s will that I left my home and moved to Fullerton. This was the beginning of my salvation. He arranged things in such a way that I was persuaded to make Fullerton my permanent home. I started to go back to church where the LORD got a hold of my heart and opened my eyes. I only thought that I knew Him before but this time it was for real. Jesus had saved me!”


My mom literally moved from death to life. I am reminded of Ephesians 2


“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”


She became a new creation in Christ! Her life, since God saved her, has been one of continual service and sacrificial giving. Only God knows how much she has given of herself to others without ever expecting anything in return. She has consistently for years cooked, cleaned, driven, given, served, loved, supported, encouraged, traveled, visited, gifted, spoken, prayed, listened and spent tens of thousands of dollars on others.


One of her favorite things to do has been to host small gatherings in her home. She would spend days cleaning and preparing her small condominium for guests she had thoughtfully invited. She would grocery shop, prep, prepare and serve delectable cuisine that she had mastered over the centuries of cooking. The meal would always be served on a table that had been prepared with care, each item properly put in its place. Great conversation, storytelling, relationship-building, and laughter would always be ever-present guests that seemed to touch all who were fortunate enough to attend. The hospitality she shared was a gift from above that mom exercised with consistency to family and friends alike. In fact, this was often a means for her to make new friends.


Few knew that these wonderful times would often end in physical exhaustion and require days of recuperation for mom. She would literally be unable to function and barely able to breathe after all the cleaning had ended. She would be relegated to her chair with little capacity to do much else than sit. But to her the suffering was always worth it. The joy of serving the LORD by serving others was always a great reward that far outweighed the toll it had on her physically. So, she would eventually recover and plan her next “service of love.”


At the time of this writing Mom lies in a hospital bed racked with pain. She may recover but it’s hard for me to imagine her ever doing anything like what she has done for others again… at least in this life. However, I know my mom is headed into the LORD’s presence, not because of all her work she has done, but because of the work Jesus has accomplished for her with His life, death and resurrection. Her assurance is in Christ alone.


My mom, and her loving service and joyful hospitality, has been a picture of Jesus in this life since she came to faith. Jesus told His disciples, “I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Imagine that! With loving care the LORD Jesus has been preparing a place for my mom! What a place that will be! Mom’s guests were always impressed with her careful preparation and eye for detail. Mom, you haven’t seen anything yet!


Of course this is speculation but I believe the LORD Jesus will allow my mom to be a part of the preparation in heaven for some of us whom are trusting in Jesus. As she precedes us into the glory of God’s presence I can see her, with loving care, a smile on her face and joyful anticipation help the LORD prepare our “place”. Some may see work in heaven as a burden that makes heaven less than happy but my mom has never seen work for others as a burden but as a lasting joy.


One day soon my mom’s joy will be complete. I look forward to that day when Jesus along with my mom will welcome me into the place they have been preparing for me.


“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18


“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” ~ Romans 8:18


I love you mom. Thank you for setting us an example of what true Christian hospitality and service looks like.


Your Son

Comments 7

  1. myrna

    Your words are so true, it is hard to follow such a tribute. The last time my sister and I talked she told me the love she had of the Lord was so deep and true that sometime it hurt. I love her so much and have been praying the when our Lord call her home it will be in her slumber and without pain. Give her hugs and kisses from me, and let her know I have been praying for her day and night.

  2. gracie barragan

    Today, I was blessed to hold her hand and see her smile in the midst of her excruciating pain. She truly is a reflection of Christ. We spoke a little, (mostly me) and cried a little, (again mostly me)
    As I prayed for her and thanked God for this truly amazing woman, I was comforted in knowing that when she leaves us, we will meet again. I love you more Shirley!

  3. Mickey

    What a beautiful tribute from a loving son. My sister has always loved people and opening her heart & home to them always. I’ve always said she’s the First Martha Stewart. We all have our trials to get through in life & Shirley has had many. How we pull ourselves through these times are our way of finding our way back to God. She has worked hard to find her courage & path back home through Jesus. She is always in our prayers and will continue to be so. Please let her know we love her & pray for her. She is blessed to have so much love surrounding her. You all are in our prayers & as her sister I’m thankful she is surrounded by those she loves & those who love her. God Bless you with His love & ours!

  4. Barb lindauer

    Kurt or Shirley….
    Wow…. Needed this!! I can so relate to the struggles your Mom has been through. I have three beautiful Sons (35, 34, 27) I also have been blessed with 10 grandchildren. However, My life has changed so much. I lost my long time career, lost a significant relationship….. Sometimes I feel so lost and alone. I relate to your Moms isolation. I often feel I am not the Mom my Son’s once knew. They are my life, my world. When you feel so alone.. you hide. Thank you for sharing your story. Meds might not be the solution….. perhaps the lack of faith and god is the solution. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. tommy brennan

    Beautiful!! I will always remember the gingerbread houses she would make with us around the holidays when we were kids.

  6. Marty

    My heart feels blessed to know that she is at peace and where she needs to be, she will always be someone special to so many people. I pray that she found peace and love with all five of her children.

  7. Ann Riggs

    Shirley and I were friends through the 60s,70s and 8os as Navy wives and after, somehow losing touch about the time your ministry started. I know she loved her family and God above all. I’ve missed her all these years. Give her my love.

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