Cemetery Visits and the Hope That Endures

Revelation 21:4 – King James Version
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

I can hardly believe that today, April 7th, marks 4 years since I received a call that my dad had passed out in the parking lot of the apartment complex he lived in with my mom. I was at work and my brother, Mike, called and told me to get there – and make it fast!

Before I could get there, my dad was gone and all I could do was cry in unbelievable pain and helplessness! As he lay in that hospital bed before they moved him, I remember thinking as I looked at him that was this all there was to this life? Why did he have to die? Why do we all suffer so much? and why could I not just lay hands on him and ask my Jesus to raise him back up?  Did I not have the faith that could move a mountain?

My first real touch with a death very close to me was when my friend, Mervin, died when we were 16. The next year, my beloved grandmother, Beulah, passed away as well. To be honest, I have not once visited their graves since the day of the funerals. I loved them with all my heart but just never went back before I left the state of New York for the hills of North Carolina.

I was younger then and didn’t understand at all why people would continually trek out to the cemetery on various dates. I even scoffed to myself at times and called these visits so foolish. The dead don’t even know you are there, so why bother with flowers they can’t see or other tokens? I wholeheartedly believe that you should tell people that you love them now, when they can hear it. Don’t wait until they are gone to express what you feel!

My feelings of not understanding why people visit the cemetery came to an end on April 7, 2008. When we laid my dad to rest a few days later, I memorized the section and exact plot where he is buried. On that day, I knew I would be back. And so the visits began.

I don’t go every week or month, but on days when I want to feel especially close to him. His birthday was March 20th and somehow my car pointed in that direction when I left class that day. I found a blown away flower from someone else and laid it on the headstone.  As the tears fell, I whispered simply, “I miss you, Daddy”!!!   Then, I took time in the peace and silence beside that cemetery plot to talk to my Lord and Savior.

Jesus understood about sickness and death very well. He healed all manner of illnesses and raised many from the dead. When he heard that his beloved Lazarus was sick, he responded by saying,  “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” (John 11:4, KJV)  Those around Him did not understand how he could be so calm and make that statement, especially when the news came that Lazarus had indeed died. But Jesus only said let’s go, so that I may wake him out of his sleep. (Read the whole story again in this chapter, you will get new insights!!)

When He arrived and saw the unbelief of the people, He cried. My Savior actually stood there and cried!! I know that He understands me when I feel overwhelmed and confused. He knows what it feels like to be so misunderstood that all you can do is cry! Even His tears were misunderstood!

I am pretty sure that all of us, at some time or another, have been faced with the loss of someone we loved intensely. Someone you didn’t think you could actually take another breath without. Yet, by the grace of God, you are still here! And being still here, we have memories and the love remains with us that we had for the ones we lost.

I understand now that it’s that love that motivates a person to go visit that cemetery plot, place small tokens there and speak to that person as if they could hear the love.

I further understand that if that person died with their hearts and minds made up that Jesus was their personal Savior, there is that blessed hope that ensures us that we will see them again. The promise we have in the scripture in Revelation that tell us that our God will personally wipe all tears away from our eyes.

It’s appropriate that this is Easter weekend. As I reflect on what Jesus did for me and that not only did He die but He rose!!!  It’s simply mind-blowing!! He rose up out of that grave!! Because He died and rose, conquering death forever, I have hope! My faith allows me to envision the day when I will see my daddy again.

Although I am sad because I miss my dad, I am excited to know that this is not the end.  Always, always, my hope is built on nothing less than His Blood and righteousness. On my own, I can do nothing. But my faith allows me to see the impossible and believe the incomprehensible!

I encourage you today that despite your circumstance, Jesus is right there with you. Your sickness, your finances, your depression, your loneliness, whatever it is, it’s going to be all right. We must believe once and for all that our issues are not about hurting us but are opportunities for God to get the glory. We must choose every day to not fall into self-pity and regret.

We must choose to complete each day with love in our hearts and a purpose to live our best lives ever. We must secure a firm foundation in Jesus who will give us life everlasting!

As much as I miss my Mervin, my grandmother, my dad, and many others – I truly want to see my Daddy of all daddies – Jesus!!!! I want to have Him personally wipe my tears away and tell me all that I went through is over! I want Him to lead me to my dad and then, surrounded by all our loved ones, we walk with Jesus into that everlasting rest.

That is the hope that Easter brings and I am smiling today through the tears!

Even so, come Lord Jesus!!

I Will Live Victoriously Until He Calls Me Home!!!!!

In The Meantime

I’ve been a little silent and it has not been on purpose. A lot has been happening in my life since I last wrote. I have to admit that I’ve had to pull up my own writings and encourage myself!!  But that’s ok – if it worked for David, I had to find out that it would work for me too. (1 Samuel 30:6……but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.)

Lately, the one word that comes to mind most often is meantime.

Meantime – the dictionary says its the intervening time or period, as between events or another word for meanwhile (www.dictionary.com)

The intervening time or period between events….mmmmm…..that period of time between what just happened and what I want to happen next!! What I NEED to happen next!!

In the meantime……..what do we do when faced with situations that you want to change like….yesterday??? What do I do to fill the emptiness and the pain of the meantime? How can I survive this meantime experience when all I want to do is be on the other side of through???

I don’t know if any one of you are like me right now. Every day seems to be a challenge. If it ain’t one thing, it’s sure nuff another! And speaking for myself, I am so very tired of being in the meantime!

This place of in between is not nice or kind to me. I find myself fighting the notion that I must try and always look on the bright side. Always hoping against hope against hope that I will feel better sooner rather than later.

Trust me…I am not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me. I am just being real with myself and you. Meantime living does not feel good! Somebody tell me now, this minute, how to feel better!!!! I demand it! Don’t want to keep hoping I will feel better soon and telling myself it will be all right. I want my change to come now. Tired of waiting and looking for the pie in the sky.

Yet, in the midst of my meantime, in the midst of the struggle, the answer is here. The same answer I will always have for every question – yesterday, today, and forever more – JESUS!

Once again, I have to remind myself that my hope is built on nothing less than His blood and righteousness. I dare not trust myself, but wholly lean on His Name!

That is it, no more, no less. I must let go of my struggle to be through this and simply trust Him and His word that tells me that He will fight the battles for me. As I rest in Him, the peace comes.

This kind of peace that passes my limited comprehension. Cause I don’t know how I am still standing upright. I cannot scientifically explain how I am able to get up each day, face the challenges and make it back home safely.

All I do know is that as I give it to Him daily, He eases it for me and gives me peace. A firm assurance in my spirit that everything indeed will be all right! A calm like no other that says He has me in the palm of His loving Hands! I love You Jesus! I worship and adore You today! There surely is no one else like YOU!!!!

I don’t understand why I am in the middle of this meantime. I can’t explain why you may be either. I just understand that when we don’t have an answer today we must trust God fully!! Trust real hard, with everything within!

On the rough days, He will give you strength to endure and courage for the journey. Just let Him do His work. Our humanity makes us want to fix everything immediately. But you have to understand that there are some things that will not work out that way.

One of my favorites sayings is TO GET THROUGH, YOU GOT TO GO THROUGH! It tells us that in order to have a “get through” testimony, we HAVE to “go through” the test. Will it be easy? Sometimes no. Will it feel good? Probably not. In the meantime, understand that your testimony will help somebody else. I know that is hard to swallow when you are going through but its so very true.

I can’t even tell you how long your meantime will be. Like, you, I want my meantime over ASAP!. But our God knows and He’s got you!! Even if it doesn’t feel like it – let your faith lead you!! Trust Him, simply trust Him!!  Pray and praise your way through. Read your Bible and pray those scriptures over your situation.

Not sure when it will be over but, in my meantime, I know that my Savior is carrying me every step of the way. As I am typing this, I realized that my testimony is not going to be about what happens when my meantime is over, when my next significant event happens.

My testimony will be about how I truly made it over!!!!  In fact, I have to go now…..gotta get my praise on for the journey and for knowing that somehow, someway I WILL GET THROUGH!!!!

I’ll put in a praise that you will be through your meantime in such a way that God will get the glory!!

In the Meantime, I’m Gonna Continue to Live Victoriously!!!