My Mom

December 28, 2013 § 20 Comments

DSC00375 “All I ever wanted was to have a wonderful husband and children and take care of them. I had all that and God saved my soul, so I have Heaven thrown in, as well! Remember, I will be in Heaven praising the Lord. What a wonderful life I have had!”Mom, June 1, 2012

This past Thursday, the day after Christmas, my Mom, Marie Khandjian, passed away. I am speaking in the most personal of terms – the ‘she’s-my-mom’ kind of terms. Until your parents are gone you always feel the same, like the child one has been, throughout their entire lives to that point. Even as an adult, when you visit the house you grew up in, nothing feels different. There is your room, your den, your kitchen, etc. It’s all there as it had always been. But then, when they go, it is different. And now it is different. My Mom is gone. On her behalf we are relieved that she is Home and reunited to Dad, but it is different.

My Mom was an amazing woman. She loved life. She loved her family. And she loved Christ and His Church. Her story is of someone who started out with tons of pain and sadness, but ended in healing and joy. Somewhere in her adolescence, at a critical moment when she could easily have spiraled into a life of constant sorrow and trouble, she met Jesus, and her life was miraculously and radically transformed.

She had an incredibly positive outlook. One year, after I was dumped by a girl in college, she sent me the single (yes, a vinyl 45 rpm record!), I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. She was right. I did.

She wasn’t afraid of setbacks, nor impressed with greatness. She had no fear of confrontation, conflict or disagreement. Even if it was with a pastor that might also happen to be her son…

She was relentlessly committed to her family. Out of her painful childhood experiences she resolved to cook hot meals for her family every night – and did. She not only raised us, but loved us, spoke truth into our lives, forgave us much, taught us about Jesus, and blessed us by adoring our Dad, her husband, out loud.

She was tirelessly social – Being Armenian, she loved throwing parties – big parties to the tune of 50-100 people at a time. Armenian Pilaf, salad and veggies, along with London broil that Dad would grill, and of course, Baklava, were the staples. Family would gather. Women would cook and catch up. Men would play backgammon and talk loud. Children would run inside and out. Classmates, church members and neighbors (invited or not) were welcome and constantly stopped in for that famous food and energy.

All to say that my Mom gave to us what she didn’t receive in her hard upbringing, which makes her all the more amazing. God gave her a vision for something better and sweeter and lovelier than the hard life she was born into. He gave her what she most longed for, even when she didn’t have it or quite know what it would look like. And through her and Dad, He gave us Himself.

And now, everything she wanted for us, she has – She is Home, at the Feast, with her beloved husband, with the gathered family of God and in the presence of the One she has always been amazed by – for His rescue and forgiving grace. Jesus.

What good, sweet news.

My Mom was amazing. Right now, in between this moment and that service in a few weeks, I get to be her boy. And that is a good thing…

Marie P. Khandjian – November 1, 1929 – December 26, 2013 – RIP

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”Psalm 116:15


Christmas Dinner - 2005

§ 20 Responses to My Mom

  • palu1889 says:

    “Hey”, “What-cha doing?” Whatever”  “Come over for Grape Leaves” and “Dominoes, anyone?”  These were some of your Mother’s favorite expressions that I’ll always remember. She was a “Force”, a compassionate Bible Teacher, a loving Mother,  and a dear friend, who loved our Family, “warts and all”.  We will miss our “Joy in the Lord,” Marie.   Sosie  


    • Ruth Fountain says:

      I well remember your vibrant Mom and Dad in the earlier days of Wildwood. They were both joyful and present in the best possible ways. I am praying for all of your family as you experience this loss. Ruth Fountain

  • Jim Prevatt says:

    The Lord orchestrated residence in Miami where He had us introduced to Leo and Marie in an arranged bible study by John Reinhold. Right up front Carol accepted Christ and I re-affirmed my faith.

    Leo and Marie lead the study faithfully every Wednesday night at our home. On Fridays all were invited to there home for London Broil or Chicken on the BBQ and of course Khandjians rice. The groups part was to bring a covered dish. Given most of us were youth and in the beginning of our careers this was high value inexpensive entertainment.

    Leo would always start with how was your week. He had a gentle way of letting you know your view of life was not healthy or God honoring. What an mentor. If we did not get the gentle approach from Leo then Marie would drive the point home. Marie could always be counted on to tell it like it was for my own best good (like it or not). The evening was honoring to our Lord and Savior in every regard.

    We got to see how a Christ filled life should be lived out by watching Leo and Marie. These lessons continue to serve Carol and myself. We praise God for putting us in there presence to grow us up in Christ. Carol now is starting her 24th year with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I have served as an Elder at Old Cutler and recently at First Presbyterian. This is stated not to brag but to honor Leo, Marie and our Savior as I often wonder how many live have been changed originating from the ever faithful witness of Leo and Marie. The Word of God is the most valuable treasure I have and the recognition of this started at the Khandjians.

    Leo and Marie were faithful servants of our Lord to the end. Today they share the the reality of there un-wavering hope of living in His presence. There wish was for all to know joy of a relationship with the Lord.

    Good and well done Faithful Servants of he most High God.

    Jim and Carol Prevatt
    Lakeland, Florida

  • Wow. Love her and this and you guys! Praying that God comforts you and your family as your grieve this. Love you guys! Olivia

  • George Umanah says:

    One word to describe your mom, Amazing!! I am sure she is more happier than ever before. May the Lord comfort you and the rest of the family!!

  • Freda Sames says:

    Oh, Mike, that is so beautiful. I am truly sorry for your loss and I know how difficult it is to lost a parent. (both my parents are gone ). Sounds like your parents left you a Godly legacy and that is truly a blessing.

  • Cookie Frederick Meireles says:

    part of ur mom still goes on in u. thats why u r so amazing!
    praying that u feel our Lord’s strength.
    love u hermanito!

  • Neil Bard says:

    Good college days with Mike at 14601! Marie and Leo were so much help to me after loosing my folks back in the 80s they both are truly missed!

  • Pat Cook says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss but know that you are rejoicing that she is in Heaven with Leo and the Christ she loved so much.

  • Dori Drown says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom! And what a legacy she left!
    Praying for you all as you grieve her loss, and yet rejoicing with you as you celebrate her life, well lived, and her arrival Home with our Lord!

  • Brooks & Barbara McCrorey says:

    “Well done, good and faithful” are just a few of the words that come to mind as I think of your Mom entering heaven. Both she and your Dad were such a blessing and joy to be with throughout the years. We’ll miss her as we have Leo, but are so thankful for all the wonderful and fun memories we shared after our son, Tom, married Venus. Truly they were a couple of faith to let their only daughter marry into a family who brought a wild baby squirrel to the wedding!

  • Bonnie Indgin says:

    Oh, MIke, you have SOOooo captured her! I can see her hands on her hips as she would “speak” with you before a WOW mtg, taste her fabulous grapeleaves, which she always said were not your favorite and which Marilyn Brown and I would be sure and share the leftovers! The infamous stone…….Her, “if a verse jumps out and means something to you, that means you should memorize the address” So, “Memorize the address!!” Her wonderful teaching for the WOW, how she began game night, Sidney sitting behind the wheel of the car afterward “you Christians sure do have a lot of fun”, Primetimers, the Caregivers support group, her appreciation for and of the night time visits to get your dad in bed, or in our case to help with skin problems. Her WONDERFUL smile, her love for her children at all times. Her love and total trust in the Lord.
    What an incredible legacy she has left for us all!! Her legacy continues on, one of love and faith always.

  • Al Scaletti says:

    All I can say is Mrs. Khandjian was always nice to me since the day I met her in June of 1976. She was always quick to make me a sandwich or to tell me to behave at church. Of course Im sorry to see her go, but at least I know in my heart she is happy. I just hope Im able to see her and Leo one day myself.

  • Robin Valdes says:

    Wow, what a testimony! Thanks for sharing, Mike, and for being our pastor and carrying on her legacy. The ripples in the pond just keep getting bigger and bigger! We’re touched by her love as you love all of us! Bless you and your family and know that we are here for hugs, a meal, and sharing her memory!

  • Michael & Diane Gordon says:

    Dear Khandjian Family,

    May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, comfort your hearts during your time of loss. As it says in 1 Thess 4: 13,14 “… sorrow not, even as others which have no hope, for if we believe Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.”

    We weep with you in your grief and rejoice with you as well, knowing that this isn’t good-bye but see you in Heaven. May the comfort of knowing you will see your Mom again give you peace and may your days till then be filled with the wonderful memories of a Mom who was cherished and loved.

  • Martha G. Brady says:

    i remember her enthusiasm…and being introduced to baklava in her home:) she was a true woman of GOD:) you have our sympathy in your loss.

  • God be with you Mike as you and Katherine and the children grieve the death of your Mom,but glorify in her homecoming. Love to you all. Olivia

  • Linda Johnson Fuerst says:

    What a wonderful testament of your mom. I know you’ll miss her, but look forward to the promise of seeing her again.

  • […] through our Mom’s home was a huge undertaking. We had a five-day window to sift through more than 3,000 square feet […]

  • […] Mom’s parents came to the US via Iran, where they were detained for a time in an Iranian refugee camp before immigrating to Atlanta, Georgia, where Mom and her siblings would be born. But it was in that camp that they met a missionary named J. Christy Wilson, a man who would later become an influential Professor at Gordon-Conwell Seminary outside of Boston (I was privileged to meet him many years later). Wilson told my grandparents about Jesus, and there, in that Iranian refugee camp they met Christ in faith. […]

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