Part 1: Having the chance to say good bye

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“Go on, touch her.”

“No, I don’t want to.”

“She can’t hurt you, go on.”

“No, I’m afraid.”

“Look. I’ll do it. See? She’s cold.”

That was my first experience with death. Standing in front of a casket, my younger brother, Ricky, inquisitive little thing that he was, wanted me to share in his fascination of a dead body. We could barely see her as we tippy toed to peer over the side. He insisted there wasn’t anything to be afraid of, but I wasn’t convinced. I never touched her.

I’ve thought of that moment quite a bit the past six months. The difference in our attitudes. It was the same all throughout our life together. He, not fearing death. I, paralyzed at the thought of it. He would challenge me many times, “How can you be so afraid, when you believe in God?” I had no answer. I still don’t. Perhaps it’s the suffering that may be involved or the finality of it in this lifetime. I just don’t know.

Many of us don’t have the chance to say good bye to a loved one. I had that chance with my brother and it is with that in mind, I write.

Ricky inherited our father’s heart disease (so have I for that matter) and he had three heart attacks over the past few years. The last one led him to the hospital in an ambulance. As the family arrived, the doctor took us all in a conference room and told us Ricky had another heart attack while the doctor was doing a heart cath on him. Went without oxygen to his brain for 40 minutes while the doctor shocked him 39 times. We were glad to know our brother was still alive. However, we were told chances may not be good. He could either go into kidney failure, infection could set in or he could be brain damaged. Time would tell.

It was brain damage. At first, we just held on to a hope that it was just the medications, being tied up in bed, being on a ventilator. We were not going to believe any bad report until we had proof. Tests were ran. Most of them inconclusive. Even the doctors could not agree with one another.

I made it clear more than once, that the staff would not talk in front of him like he was deaf. Using words in front of him like “brain damaged”  etc. However, they did anyway and by the second or third time, I let them know about it.

“I told you no! … He’s not deaf… He’s not a piece of furniture …. I realize you have other patients, but this is our brother here and you will respect him and our wishes … Don’t tell me he’s not suffering. How do you know? You ever been in his position?! … Do you think I’m stupid?! … Get me a patient advocate, Im not putting up with this …”

I had more than one round with these nurses who had seen it all and our brother was just one more body to them. But to us, he was our loved one. At the mercy of strangers, in my eyes. I had a hard time trusting.

We did get our advocate and she helped us in working with the staff.

My other brother, my sister and I spent time with Ricky. Trying to get him to respond. “Ricky can you squeeze our hand?” No response. There were times when even the slightest movement excited us. But it was nothing. It had to do with us having false hope more than reality. Still we clung.

My sister was the first to speak it: “He looks like he’s got cerebral palsy,” she tearfully told me over the phone. I thought the same thing but didn’t want to admit it yet. “It might be the drugs. Plus they have him tied down in bed. Could be his back hurts.” I realized I was grasping for straws. Something simple to explain his condition. It was easier than the reality of the situation.

We decided to give him a few days to see how he would respond when taken off the pain med. Surely, he will perk up and be back to his old self. I was already making plans on going home with him to help take care of him. But it wasn’t to be. He was on that ventilator 11 days.

(To be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where this blog is going

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After the death of my brother, on July 4th, I have gone through some changes. Some good and some not so good. Grief is a hard thing to deal with and I tend to be one who builds a cocoon of safety around myself.  My family has become much more important to me and I seek solace along with them, with the cherished memories of our brother.

We have had the sad duty of finding out what to do with his belongings. Gods grace has been poured upon us during this time. A lot of families would be fighting with much friction in the air. Not so, with mine. My family and I have been a passionate bunch. Everything we do is hard. We play hard, we work hard, we laugh hard, we fight hard and we love hard.

We are respecting one another’s desires to grieve in the way each of us must, in order to move on with our lives. I believe if people allowed others during the time of grief, this freedom, they would find they will find a certain kind of peace, just in having that freedom.

For myself, I have taken my brothers clothes and will be making rag blankets with them and hope to have them done before Christmas, to give them to my siblings. I had done the same with our mothers clothes and I get great comfort in doing this kind of thing.

One of the last things my brother said to me before his heart attack, was, “Brenda, when you let people like that get to you, they win.” He was talking about my anger issues I have with lies and corruption and certain individuals in politics and the false teachers within the Church. I knew when he said it, it was the truth, yet, I did not grasp hold of it. Not until, I saw him suffering and just days left with us.

Yes, I still get angry over such matters, but can not allow myself to focus on all of the garbage that I can do very little about. I am finding relationships are much more important than my opinion on things. I know of people, sick and with Cancer and it makes me sad. Nothing I can do about that either. Yet, I will try and spend my emotions on those things, instead of the things of the world which have driven me quite nuts at times.

This blog, where is it going? I don’t know. I just know, that I think it is time I did something different than what I have basically done the past five years. I can not do it, anymore. If it makes me “weak” in some of your eyes,then so be it. I don’t have the energy to even care.

I want to be able to tell Good News, as is called of me. Sadly, it has taken my brothers suffering and death, to bring this home to me. Please be in prayer as to what God wants, not I. Even then, I still do not trust myself at all in the matter.

If you still are popping in every now and then, I want to thank you for your support of this blog for the past five years. God watch between you and me while we are absent from one another.

Sincerely,

Brenda (AKA Redeemed Hippie)

 

The Testimony of My Father

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Sixteen years ago this morning, my father went to be with the Lord. Dad accepted the Lord as his Savior late in life. He was a sick man the last few years of his life. Surgery after surgery. Yet, God brought him home to us time after time. Mercy upon mercy was, has been and is bestowed upon my family.

A year or so before one of his last surgeries, I had miscarried at six weeks. Dad was in the hospital as I was coming out of the hospital. I went to see him and with tears in his eyes, he simply said, “Babe, I’m sorry about your mishap.” I told him it was ok, that I trusted God’s will. If He saw best not to let be a mother, it was ok and that God was still a good God.

My pastor at the time, a godly Mennonite man, the first preacher my father respected, went to my father and led him to the Lord the night before he was to have surgery. The next morning, my mother and all of us children went up to see my father before he was prepped for another surgery. We walked in and he was unusually calm. My mother asked if they had come in and given him his happy shot. He said no, he did not need one. Everyone looked at him with a sense of amazement. He had such peace. Not like all the other times. I knew what had happened, but they did not know yet. We kissed him and said we would see him soon. Only hoping that would be the case, because we did not know if he was coming home again.

All of us went outside and my mother began to talk about how peaceful he seemed, so different. It was then that I told them about the night before, that Dad had accepted Jesus. My mother, being the stoic parent, began to get tears in her eyes and she began to slightly tremble. There was a sense of awe among us all. It was a sovereign thing going on in our midst.

That surgery went well and Dad got to come home with us again. Once again, God had shown us His tender mercies. The doctors had put a new vein in his leg. Dad realized that someone died in order for him to have that. He told me he wanted to be able to thank the family of whoever it came from. That information was not given, so I asked the doctor if he could get word back to the family. He said he would.

After coming home, he had to be able to gain strength in that leg and while staying with him and my mother, I would take him out on the driveway and we would walk together. Him holding on to me. I choked back tears. I was thinking of the day long ago when I was learning to walk and holding onto him, but now, he was holding on to me. The two of us walking, yet, I felt another Presence walking with us: God. It was a very precious time.

The last year of his life, he began going to Church a few times by himself. I went with him once and even though it was not a Church I would join or actually be a part of: the Church of Christ, I had such joy in us sitting together listening to the Word of God with my father. with a subtle excitement he told people, “This is my daughter, she came to Church with me this morning!” I don’t know which of us were more radiant. My father or me. As I was just as excited as he.

See, when I first came to Jesus at the age of 19, for some odd reason my father was hostile of the fact of me becoming a Christian. so much so, that Saturday nights were unbearable at home, and I would call up my friend who prayed me into the Kingdom of Light to pick me up just do I could go somewhere and sleep in peace in order to go to Church the next day. I think his hostility had something to do with how Church people treated his mother when he lost his dad at the age of 6. Church people had stolen farm tools from her and not given them back. When my father would say, “Mom, so n so, has our (whatever),” his mother, a godly woman would say, “Son, if they can live with it, I can live without it.” Her way of forgiveness. Dad didn’t see it that way and he had all kinds of names for them!

Dad was not a man who read very much. He was a hard – working man who worked using his hands all of his life. When he wasn’t at the factory, he was at home, upholstering as a second job. But later in life as he got sick, he would pick up the Bible. His eyes would lay upon something within the word of God and with tears in his eyes, he would say, “I’m trying to understand what this means.” So, he and I would have our own little Bible studies together. It was a joy to discuss the things of God with him!

He went into the hospital in the month of November 1997. I had been home with him and Mom. He was having an awful time breathing. I was putting pillows behind him in hope of helping him. I called Hospice, who was involved by now. They said nothing could be done. I told my mother that was bull and I wasn’t going to watch him smother to death while his lungs filled up with fluid. I called an ambulance. Before the ambulance got there, my father, barely able to breath asked me, “Is God punishing me?” I said, “No Dad, he is not punishing you. Your body is wearing out, just like your mother’s did before you and just like mine will one day. God just wants to know this from you: Can you still say He is good? Can you still say you love Him?” “Yes,” he gasped. I said, “That’s all that matters right now, Dad.” I went on to encourage him while waiting for the ambulance.

That particular time at the hospital, he told me he was going to miss his grandchildren when he left this earth. I told him he would still have a grand baby when he left this world. He said, “I will?” I said, “Yes, the one I lost.” His eyes twinkled and he said, “I guess I will, won’t I?” With genuine sorrow, Dad had told me if he could go back, he would have done a lot of things differently. I told him, we all could say that. The important thing is having God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, which my father had.

The very last time he was at the hospital, he asked me, “Babe, how many more days until Christmas?” I said “Eleven, Dad.” He got excited and with a big smile on his face, he pointed upwards and said, “I’m gonna be in my new home soon.” I said, “Yes, Dad. God has prepared a new home for you.”

He went home one last time. I stayed with him and my mother for a while. At some point Hospice came out and showed me how to flush his veins out and do whatever needed to be done. But the next morning, I was not able to do it. His veins had collapsed. I went home to get some rest and my brother calls me later to tell me Hospice said Dad would not make it through the night. It was no surprise but still, I wasn’t ready to lose him. I became very emotional after hanging up and told my husband I didn’t know what to do. He simply asked, “Is there anything left unsaid that you would like to say to your dad?” I told him no. God have given us many private times alone together and we both were able to share so much in such a short time.

It now being 16 years to the day my father passed away, I wanted to share his testimony. I also want to share this particular song. Another time when he was in the hospital after having triple by-pass done on his heart, he had a stroke on the operating table. He could not walk or communicate or even feed himself. I bought a little radio and took it to the hospital with me while I sat with him, hoping music would help bring him out of the stroke. This song came on and my father all of a sudden in a very weak voice starting singing the chorus. I jumped up and ran to him, seeing tears in his eyes. I asked him, “Do you remember this song, Dad?” He nodded yes. It was the song he and I would play together on our guitars. Some things stay with you forever and this is one of mine.

GungraveFreak2:

Are these parents wrong? I think so.

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More than once, I have had loved ones on ventilators. It is not an easy thing. Sometimes doctors will tell the family  there is no hope. In some cases there is not, and in other cases, God proves the doctor wrong. Such as in my mother’s case. We were once told to, “go home and make arrangements.”  Funeral arrangements, that is. We all went home devasted, each praying in our own way for God to have mercy. I had a prayer meeting that night and brothers and sisters in the Lord braved a winter storm and came to my house to pray. Nothing changed. No improvement. Until that one day. I was at the hospital early in the morning so I could catch the doctor and talk to him. A friend had come up to sit with me. I got upset seeing my mother like that day after day. I walked out of the room and then had to leave the hospital. I walked home in the snow. Not a long walk, but long enough to calm down.

No sooner had I walked in the door, when my friend called me to tell me the doctor had come in and said Mom was improving.

God was merciful and brought my mother back home to us a few days later.

My family and I did not allow doctors to take her off the ventilator, even when they told us there was no hope. We clung to a hope none of us could explain.

But what about the case below? A 28 year old woman lays with brain cancer, begging to let her parents let her die. Her parents refuse saying it is suicide to let her die. Really? Suicide? I don’t think so.

When government healthcare takes over, we all may  be looking at these kind of scenarios. As Christians do we force our beliefs on a loved one? What if that loved one is a Christian? Should we not allow them to make that choice themself, if they are able? What if they are lost and we just are not sure where they stand with God? Then what?

Most of us would cling to life if we were not sure where a loved one would spend eternity. We want that one last time to tell them the Gospel, that one last time to present truth to them in such a way where we hope they choose Jesus as Savior. Yet, how can any of us be for certain of who goes where when they leave this earth? Only God knows. Still, we desire to see that none of them perish, but come to everlasting life through Jesus, THE Lord and Savior of all mankind.

Yes, I do believe we will be forced to face these kind of things down the road. My personal thought: it is wrong to force someone into living in such a way if they choose differently. It does not mean I would help them with suicide: I would never hand anyone a gun or a bottle of pills and tell them to end their life. However, if that person made it clear to me, they were ready to leave this earth, then I would let them go. Yes, let them go. Sometimes, that is the correct way of looking at death. Sooner or later we have to let go. We have to be willing to trust God. If my loved one is able to tell me they are tired, having fought the good fight as well as possible, I have to believe that. I have to let them go. If my loved one is able to tell me they want to live, then I will do everything in my power to see they live. If they are not able to tell me one thing or another, then I will choose life and put my hope in God. Where else can I go?

Article gotten here:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/paralyzed-terminally-ill-patient-fight-death-article-1.1174383#ixzz28MMF4RZD

UPDATE: Grace Sung Eun Lee has now changed her mind and wants to live.

My thoughts in green

She is paralyzed from the neck down, tethered to breathing and feeding tubes — but Manhattan bank manager Grace Sung Eun Lee still managed to mouth four words Wednesday.

“I want to die.”

Doctors are trying to honor Lee’s wish, but her devout parents believe that removing the tubes is suicide — a sin that would condemn the 28-year-old to hell.

I believe this is wrong. To believe it is always God’s will to force one to be hooked up on tubes or you will go to hell, is wrong. It makes God look like a sadistic monster. His word says, “My grace is sufficient.” That would include being off life support as well as on, if one chose.

They’ve gone to court to keep the terminally ill brain-cancer patient on life support, turning a heartbreaking family tragedy into a right-to-die legal battle.

The case has put medical ethics and religion on a collision course, with lawyers arguing in two courtrooms while the patient at the center of the fight can do little more than blink her eyes.

“The thought of her dying, my heart tremors, everything goes black,” Grace’s father, prominent Queens pastor the Rev. Manho Lee, pleaded to a judge.

Her mother, Jin-ah Lee, does not believe her always dutiful daughter has given up on life — or that her death is inevitable.

“Despite all this confusion, she wants to go to heaven,” she told the Daily News. “I keep telling her she can get better. God’s going to save you.”

It is easy for someone else to say these kind of things when they are not the one suffering.

The congregation at Antioch Missionary Church is praying for Grace, who mentored young people. The day after the Korea Times wrote about the case, a Korean church group took out an ad that declared: “Giving up life is not the will of God.”

I must say, I find this statement arrogant. Once again, so easy to say if you are not the one suffering. There does come a time when God calls us home. Some are taken in a flash. Others are given time. When/if it looks hopeless, who is to tell anyone who is suffering in such a way, to hang on? IF you have reached the end where all you have to depend upon is medical equipment, then perhaps, perhaps that is God telling that person He has done all He is going to do in that particular situation. Is it so wrong for a person to want to let go? Something to think about.

Lee’s Korean immigrant parents say she is depressed and not in her right mind.

“We believe that our daughter is really heavily medicated and unable to make her own decisions,” her father said Wednesday.

No doubt, this does happen many times. Doctors keep patients drugged up and then a family member has to be able to discern what is going on. As loving family members, we have to be aware of this and we can not allow the effect of drugs to dictate the actions of our loved one. I suggest if there comes tiome where you are faced with this, first try and get your loved one off any mind-altering drug before you go along with any decision. 

But her doctors at Long Island’s North Shore Hospital say she’s competent and has made her wishes clear.

“She is very tearful when she thinks about dying, but she consistently asks that the breathing tube be removed and she begs us to do that,” Dr. Dana Lustbader, chief of palliative medicine at North Shore, testified at an emergency hearing last week.

Before last fall, Lee was a vibrant young woman who came here from Seoul as an eighth-grader and graduated from the University of North Carolina.

A Month to Live

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I lost a dear friend a few weeks back. She was my Chiopracter. We did not talk on the phone every day. Nor did we see each other outside of my doctor visits to her. But, when we did see one another, it was always a good time and most of the time, a time of fellowship. She was not intimidated by my personality, as some. She could get by with humoring me and still knew when to take me serious. She laughed a lot and her smile is something I will always remember. Before I met her, I felt my life was destined for a lifetime of physical pain. Not having much hope in Chiopracters, hearing they were quacks all of my life, I gave her a shot. Karen was no quack. She cared greatly about her patients. She was never in a big hurry to scoot you out of the office. She listened well and more than once prayed with me. She gave me hope that I would not have to live the rest of my life in pain.

It had been a while seen I had seen her last. Well over a year. It was a surprise to me when my husband reading the newspaper, told me, “You had another friend to die.” I could not believe it. Who? How? What? When? She was one of the most healthy people I knew. She took care of her body, ate all the right foods, exercised, had no bad habits, etc.

I was able to find out she had just found out she had liver Cancer and was sent home with a month to live. She lived two weeks.

Knowing her as I did, I can only try and imagine what the last two weeks of her life were like. I doubt very much she was concerned about the things of this world. Other than for her children and husband and those closest to her. I imagine she was thinking more on the things of God. Not being overcome by the things of the world, not looking at world events. Other than knowing she was going to be taken home and would not have to live in this strange and foreign land any longer. She probably did a lot of praying for her family and friends. I can only hope I was one who may have been on her heart, even if for but a few seconds.

I began to ponder on my own life. What if I were told I had two weeks to live? Would it make any difference? I’ve heard people say that if they knew they had a few months or so to live they would visit someplace they have always wanted to go, go back to a place they always loved, go on a cruise, etc.

I thought about those things and came to the conclusion there really is not one place I would like to visit or anything I would try to do. It takes energy, stamina and strength to even begin doing those things. I have none due to poor health. None of the health issues in and of themselves life threatening, but combined can make every day life chores and events hard. Sometimes causing life to appear empty and void of any meaning.

A few days after Karen’s death, I began to notice  a change taking place in me. Something in me had began to die. A calm, a quiet resolve began to settle in. I had been terribly angry over world events. Terribly bitter and unforgiving towards those who had hurt me the past few years. I had been searching out world events daily so I could know what was going on. Feeling a huge repsonsibility to shout from the rooftops of the evil coming through government and any and all aspects of society.

After Karen’s death, I began to not care  — much. I began to see how the past four years had robbed me of so much. Being physically weak can and does rob a person of certain joys in life. A few days into my grief of Karen’s death, I reached a point where if I could not do anything different, at least I could stop handing my emotions over to the things I can not control.

I got the Shingles four years ago about this time https://redeemedhippiesplace.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/what-was-the-deal-with-job-2/ and it was not a nice time. Before Karen’s death, I had gotten myself back into the same state of mind as I had four years ago: As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly. — Proverbs:26:11 —

It is folly when a person does not learn the lesson God has in front of them. I sensed I was about to have to repeat that lesson again.  No, I am not saying God gave me the Shingles to teach me a lesson. Staying upset constantly can make one sick in one way or the other. Tearing down our bodies defenses. Having the Shingles did teach me a few things, but I had forgotten. I guess sometimes it takes a certain amount of pain — in one way or the other — for some of us to learn. But, I thank God, at least I did not have to experience that particular painful malady again.

I also had asked a brother in Christ and his family to pray for me. I did not go into details other than telling him that I was angry. I trust that he and his family did began to pray for me. It was not long after that, I received the news of Karen’s death.

I began to see that most if not all my life had been of constant striving. Not of material things, as I am probably one of the least materislistic people you would ever meet. Not one of competiveness, as I’ve just not cared for that sort of thing. I much rather would spend time alone on creating something than competing. I ‘ve not strived towards goals as I am not goal oriented. Never have been and don’t see myself ever going there. Probably has more to do with my being led by emotions in almost everything I do. If I don’t feel like doing it, then I don’t do it. Not a good thing, but never-the-less, it is who I am. I really I’ve not strived to “be somebody” important. Not being one who is easily impressed, I don’t spend my life trying to impress others. That is why if you happened to run into me in public, you probably would see me in sweat pants and a T-shirt with no make-up. Those who truly know me, know these things are true.

Having said all that… the thing I have strived for has been peace of mind. I probably can count on one hand how many times I have had it and I can tell you, it was short lived. As soon as I thought I found it, then something came along and unhinged me. Sicknesses of family members, aging parents, dying parents, loved ones in nursing homes, loved ones with Alztimers, family problems, world events, etc. I literally would stop living. Taking on emotions I had no control over. Sadness, anxiety, fear, grief, etc. More than once, I felt like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz who told the wizard, “I don’t think you have anything in that little black bag for me.” Which led to self-pity, that led to shame for feeling ungrateful for what you do have! What a vicious cycle.

I wish I could tell you I found the secret to peace of mindBut I haven’t. I do know the Word of God says:

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. — Isaiah 26:3 —

That right there tells me that should be enough. It is hard to have peace if our eyes are on the world and things of the world. I can not do it anymore. I simply can not. If you are my friend and know me, then please be happy for me if I can not do this any longer. It takes too much energy, strength and stamina. I don’t have it to spend on such things. I long for that peace of God in all things.

We do not know how much time we have on this earth. A year ago, this coming October, I had a friend who went in the hosptail thinking she was going to get to come home. But she died just a couple of days later. https://redeemedhippiesplace.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/in-memory-of-ellen-another-redeemed-hippie/ Now, there is my friend Karen, who was given a month, but had only two weeks. I want to learn to live as if I had no tomorrow. God help me and may God help you, whoever you may be.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6,7 —

In Memory of Ellen — Another Redeemed Hippie

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I will miss you, my friend. You were a beautiful person. A faithful friend — a sister I will always remember for your loyalty, mercy, kindness, tenderness, love, convictions and friendship.

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. — Proverbs 27:17 —

A friend is one who stands to share
Your every touch of grief and care.
He comes by chance, but stays by choice;
Your praises he is quick to voice.

No grievous fault or passing whim
Can make an enemy of him.
And though your need be great or small,
His strength is yours throughout it all.

No matter where your path may turn
Your welfare is his chief concern.
No matter what your dream may be
He prays your triumph soon to see.

There is no wish your tongue can tell
But what it is your friend’s as well.
The life of him who has a friend
Is double-guarded to the end. — Edgar Guest —

You were there for me by Erin Porter

Words escape me
at this moment
that seems like the end
yet it is only the beginning
when friendships are close
and dreams are far
you were there for me.
Tears fill me
with memories of both good and bad
some nearly forgetton
yet all dear to the heart
you were there for me.
In times of trouble
and in times of thanks
you stood by my side
and held me up.
Through your ever-patient ears
to your comforting hugs
you were there for me.
From that first day
when I saw you and knew
that you would love me for who I was
you were there for me.
And until the day
when we are old and gray
I will always know that
you are there for me.

Getting rid of the stuff and picking up the Banner

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Many of us are grieving over the death of our dear brother; David Wilkerson. Sad for us that he is gone, but blessed is he who I believe is with the Lord. The last of his kind in his generation has left us.

Recently, the last American soldier from world war one died. I wept that day seeing how the words in Ecclesiastes are so true:

One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. — Ecclesiastes 1:4 —

Generation after generation has died off from the beginning of time. Even the memory of them passes away at some point. Gone and forgotten. 

Many of us have dealt with death in many ways. Watching loved ones pass on, leaving us to go through their things and trying to decide what to do with their belongings. Being a sentimental person most of my life, I have always clung to their stuff — feeling I would be dishonoring their memory if I got rid of any of it. But whether through poor health or perhaps God’s grace — I have learned — it was their stuff, their memories. Not mine. I was trying to keep it alive by clinging to it.

God began to deliver me from this yoke when a very precious sister in the Lord saw all my stuff in the basement a few years ago and kindly told me, “This is not healthy.” My eyes were opened and I began to get rid of the things I had accumulated over decades. I am still going through and getting rid of — stuff. What once were little treasures are nothing more than stuff taking up space in need of either occassional cleaning or forgotten in some bit of clutter. Either way, it is useless to me. In not having children, there is no one to hand things down to, so I give it to others. But, most people do not want my stuff. LOL!

When my mother passed away over a year ago, there were a lot of things to go through. I kept what I could use and slowly let go of what I could not. I took her clothes, cut them up and made rag blankets for my siblings and gave them to them at Christmas. That was one way I wanted to keep her memory alive for them.

I am convinced we are to let go of stuff and move on. For many of us, it will mean letting go of those things that have hindered us from going forward. I speak for myself, and perhaps I am the only one — but there has been much anger, bitterness, unforgiveness in me for some time. Some health related, some personal family issues, etc. No matter — we all have stuff that has stopped the flow of God’s Spirit in us.

I have an ancestor who survived Andersonville prison during the civil war. It is said that his family did not recognize him after being released. How many of us have been held bondage to the point where no one would ever guess we were Christians because of the chains that have held us; because of the treatment of our tormentors?

Sadly and ashamedly, I am one. I speak to you honestly. BUT, He (God) who began a good work in me, is faithful to complete it. If you are one of these wounded soldiers, He too is faithful to complete the good work He began in you.

I know how hard it is to forgive, to let go of bitterness and resentment. But we must. How do we do it? We don’t. We let God come in and break those areas that we have held unto. We let His Spirit comfort us when we have been hurt. But all too many times we try to heal our own wounds and we do it by building a fortress around ourselves. Before we know it, we become just like those who have treated us wrongly. Because we did not entrust God with our suffering and trusted in ourselves, we become just like our offenders.

The annointing is what breaks these yokes. Not how-to books, or prayer clothes, or any number of gimmicks within the apostate church. It is the annointing of an all powerful and loving God.

Couple weeks ago, I was stewing and simmering over something that had been done to me in the past few months. My heart was cold as ice and hard as stone. The Word of God (which had been hidden) rose up in my heart and said, “confess your sins to one another and be healed.”  Not really wanting to — because I felt justified in my anger — but out of what was somewhat a defiant obediance, I called my sister in the Lord and began to spew out all that was in me. I held nothing back: the anger, the bitterness, the hurt, the rage, the pain. She listened patiently, not saying a word, no giving of advice. After letting me vent, she prayed. No shouting at devils to flee. None of that claiming and demanding anything. She simply talked to our Father on my behalf. It was then that I was able to see where I had been blind. I was able to feel what was right instead of the rage and hatred. The voices that had been lying to me telling me you have such a right to be angry, were gone! I was set free right on the spot. I went to bed that night with no thoughts of anger and unforgiveness for the first time since November.

Like Paul, I can say concerning all that I had been clinging to:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. — Phillipians 3: 13,14 —

What to do now? What does it look like to go on, forgetting those things which are behind? To actually reach forth unto the things before? I’m not certain of this. But like my ancestor walking out of Andersonville prison before me, the chains are off, I am no longer a prisoner. Yeah, I’m a little dusty and dirty. One usually is after being in bondage. But it is God who does the cleaning up and sets the crooked places straight.

Still, there is a banner to be picked up. I have one and you have one. What is your banner and who are you to carry it to? Is your banner one of proclaiming God’s mercy? Then pick it up and carry it to those who are in need of mercy! Is it one of warning, then take it to those who are perishing! Perhaps your banner is something what the world (and even the church) would call simple and not note-worthy: One of helping an elderly person make it to the restroom in a nursing home. No one but God sees that one. Or sitting with the sick all night long in a hospital, holding the hand of one who is dying. Oh what precious banners are these! Holding and offering the banner of eternal life to those nearing the end of their life. Is not love the greatest gift! 

Whatever your banner, I do not think you can pick it up until you truly let go of the stuff you are clinging to. If you are hurting, cling to the One who loves your soul the greatest. He desires to see you free.

Let’s get rid of the stuff! Let’s help one another get rid of the stuff, restoring one another in a spirit of meekness lest we fall.

Just as generation after generation passes on, ours too will pass on. Yet, we are not of the forsaken and the unforgotten.  

Lift up a banner on the high mountain, raise your voice to them; wave your hand, that they may enter the gates of the nobles. — Isaiah 13:2 —

Yes! There are many to still enter the gates!

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