S/he’s Gone,The Book Really is Closed: Dealing With Distraction at Your Beloved’s Graveside

Recently, I stood by the grave of someone I loved so much, her death has temporarily immobilized me. I walked away from her grave, helped by another beloved one of hers, and fell into the embrace of others too who mourned her loss. That is how it should be. What if, at that moment someone crosses your path whose mind is on other things; like how the fact that your stand on certain life principles is different from theirs, gossip about another mourner’s escapades, or how you are not mourning properly ‘according to their standards’? Sometimes its stories about the one gone by, how their actual and perceived vices do not warrant your obvious distress at their passing. Attempts to shame you somehow for mourning, because you ‘should set an example as a pillar of strength by denying how you really feel, so that others may heal faster…ahem…pretend better too.’ The more sadistic ones would play down your relationship with the one gone by; after all there are closer family members/friends/colleagues from their perspective and they would not probably mourn you as much as you are doing them if it was you who had gone on ahead of them. Did that ever happen to you? Graveside robbers, casting a slur on your season of mourning. You cant imagine how many attempts there have been to distract me from mourning this friend and others gone before her. But am holding steadfastly to the gift I had, and searching God for all the pearls from a beautiful book, authored and finished by God.

I should expect it; but honestly, I never do. I always think that each group of mourners to which I am conscripted due to my relationship with a loved one gone to rest, would be different from the last. In a way, they are. But in many ways, they are heartrendingly similar. Perhaps because I am in it; God forbid!

Someone you loved, were intimate with, or vaguely acquainted with dies. You attend the wakes, to both give and receive comfort and support. To be in a place filled with those who loved your beloved, where you can share memories, and sometimes learn new things that help settle a few uncertain things about your relationship, or their personality. I would love to believe that this descriptions fit most of those who attend those wakes. BUT without fail, there will be those whose relationship with the dearly departed may or may not have been close, who take this as an opportunity to raise up their ‘regard’, incredulously, by tearing down that of another or others. They are found standing and closely watching the mourners, and murmuring running commentaries about each one who comes in. They are the ones who will bring to everyone’s attention how the fact that you once had a disagreement with the departed one, forgiveness, healing or reconciliation could not possibly have the effect of allowing you to feel sorrow at their passing. They forget that every authentic relationship will have more than one moment of disagreement, because each person feels safe enough to be themselves in the presence of the other.  They are the ones who call the character of particular mourners to question, making it difficult for them to find and give comfort during this critical time. Most of the time, they themselves have unresolved character issues which they project on others in that place. It is as though the passing of a loved one is not painful enough; they MUST add some drama to it to make it so. Unfortunately, they distract the mourners successfully enough, for them to engage in bitter, sometimes petty, but often vehement and irreconcilable bickering that have no place in a place where wisdom beckons each one to consider the brevity and beauty of the gift of life. What happens is that months and years later, we are left with festering emotional wounds that could have received effective first-aid had each been allowed to mourn in dignity when death first happened on your loved one.

Death has taught me, that no one can take away the truth of your relationship with the departed; and you should not allow anyone to do that to you.  Romans 14:16 warns us sternly that “Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.” The books are indeed closed on that one. Your journey is complete. Both the beautiful and the ugly about your association are part of a painting a book so thoroughly complete and unique and that should never be judged against another one’s story with your beloved. Your beloved was loved and loved others too. Decency demands that each is allowed to review their book, their painting, for the gift that God proffered in bringing you together. There is always something for you to keep, something precious. ‘Grave robbers’ try to steal that away by causing unnecessary agony and  confusion, by making you feel that they have the power to take away the truth that was your story. Don’t be fooled. They are mostly just afraid that their own story may have been incomplete, and that they did not journey well enough with the one gone. If there was satisfaction, why would someone lovingly mourning their beloved rattle you so badly?

I write this for those that are embattled while mourning a loved one, that have been distracted by thoughtless and malicious activities of ‘grave robbers’. Focus, there is a time for EVERY purpose under Heaven. This is a time to mourn, to walk THROUGH this valley and come out wiser and stronger for the victory gained through the Comforting Presence of God Who  does not accuse you. Mourn. Dont try and explain away something as unique as the friendship, the relationship you were blessed to have with your dearly departed: Mourn. Accept God’s closing of that book and armed with the strength of your experience, determine to live another day. The book is closed. 



God Almighty: What do you want?

“But SEEK The Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be ADDED to you.DO NOT FEAR, little flock, for it is your Father’s GOOD PLEASURE to GIVE YOU The Kingdom…”
Luke 12

Isn’t the real reason why we don’t live lives that seek God in truth, perhaps, because we are afraid He will HIDE IT from US [YOU AND ME] and that we would end up loosing out on all the other things that people are actively seeking and finding? We shame ourselves and allow others to shame us for having a priority, a total focus that does not prioritize what they prioritize and fear what they fear…so we do the terrible, a wickedness that is eternally suicidal; we put our hands to the plow, and look back…

King Solomon fell in love with The God of his father, despite of cause, his tendency to be spiritually and physically polygamous. When God appeared to him after an act of intense worship at Gibeon, he got asked a question which most of us would wish that God would ask us, “Ask! What shall I give you?”. Am sure you, as I perhaps, have a ready, extensive and thoroughly researched list to present to The One to Whom The Earth and EVERYTHING IN IT belong 🙂

And Solomon’s answer, came from purity not manipulation…He asked for ‘God’s Kingdom’! And this pleased God so much that He told this beloved King, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
Read the story in 1 Kings 3.

WOW! I do not suppose Solomon thought he would get that response from God! Even his hidden list was provided for – and for his entire lifetime. Solomon, like his father loved God – but was prone to a sin that had cost Israel a lot through their years of being God’s chosen people: Idolatry. Yet even though this possibly offended God, God over-rode and saw the sincerity of his seeking. He wanted, more than anything, to handle the kingdom of God’s people, with the Heart and Mind of God Himself. He wasn’t perfect, but God blessed him perfectly, because he learned to hunger after that which pleased the Heart of God. I am convinced, God set him up to succeed, by placing that hunger in him, and then satisfying it. So why are you afraid little flock, He takes pleasure in giving you The Kingdom, and all this other things as well – in His wisdom of cause.

Lord God, please forgive me, forgive us. Enable us to be consumed, our vision filled with Your vision for Your Kingdom, and the faith, that you take pleasure in giving it to us, as we seek it from Your Hand, and that even as we engage in Kingdom Business, You provide for our canal needs. Please deliver us from fear, and let us live the true reason/purpose for which You took time and made us. In Jesus Christ’s Name I pray, Amen.


Learning and Living Hope

EVEN WHEN THERE WAS NO REASON FOR HOPE [AGAINST ALL HOPE], Abraham kept hoping–believing that he would become the father of many nations”
Romans 4:18

” We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain…”
Hebrews 6:19

Lately I have been looking through my ‘dusty promise files’, my journals, and sitting amazed at how my assurance in years past, about my relationships with God, family friends, and ‘someday spouse’, about my call, my ministry, God’s provision  has been beaten placid over the years by the very real storms of life. God is,  by His Grace, now leading me to deal with several ‘AGAINST ALL HOPE VIP STILL HOPES’ issues.

Last night, I was listening to Sister Joyce Meyer speaking on Television about waiting on God. She said that when we first hear God say something to us, we are excited, but after a few weeks, months, years even, it begins to seem like we didn’t really hear God. She warned against taking seriously every thought that passes through our minds regarding these, especially those of the disparaging kind, saying we need to talk back at those ones and say simply “God is still at work.” I was making my bed during this sermon and though I yelled ‘Amen’ several times, I did not think it would be my lesson for the day. That God would ply me with strong messages of hope, because, to be honest, I had lost all hope. I did not want to be ‘encumbered’ with hope. Honestly.

So I begin to hear Him say, ‘Trust Me’. And my whole body replies, “I am too sick, too tired, to heartbroken, too numb, to open up those issues again.” And He says again, ‘Vip, Trust Me.’ and I respond ‘Help me Lord Jesus, I cannot muster up energy to believe, to hope joyfully on my own.’ I realized then, that the lesson, the painful lesson He had taken me earlier in the day, on Forgiveness was actually part of the act of Resurrection He was performing in me.

As I write this, I have been sick the last two months and treated for Malaria, Typhoid and in the past week, Pneumonia. In this past week in particular, I have consciously prepared myself to die. There have been days I could not even perceive seeing the next day, let alone hour. There were moments when I felt life was slipping away, but even in these, I knew for sure, that God was with me. That He was allowing me to look at my life, from the perspective of someone who would eventually pass from this life to eternity, in order to allow Him to bring His order back in. I needed to allow Him back into my heart in a way where He was  foremost in every thing about me. Hoping for something in a future you may not live to see, is not something that comes easy for the dying…I hope this helps you understand a little bit of my perspective during my above conversation with God. Still, God has a way of defying some things natural and imposing the supernatural. He did this  by courting my heart to fall in love with Him, to want Him more than I wanted the next breath.

So, after causing me to fall in love with Him again, He began to teach my heart to forgive, and to love those who had hurt me, to pray a blessing for them, to acknowledge that I too needed forgiveness…especially from Him for being so unforgiving. That was difficult. If the Pneumonia had hurt to the point of dying, this hurt even more. It felt like something was being amputated. He allowed me to ‘see’, a black and white putrid and pulsating mountain that looked like a boil, that stood between me and my next step, and also lodged itself ‘comfortably’ and painfully on my shoulder…in the spirit of cause. I spent the day crying out to Him, ‘Help me forgive, give me wisdom to move past this one, help me forgive totally the way YOU WANT ME TO, even if I don’t feel like it, BECAUSE I don’t feel like it.”. In the middle of the night, the ‘mountain’ vanished. And I felt nice, free… exhilarating.

Then my heart began to remember some things, happy things that I thought would have been mine by now. Somehow, it shed off the losses, like tears, and reached for those things as though they had been made manifest. It is by God’s grace, I know. I have no strength of my own to even do this hope thing for one second. But I sense a joy, an awakening, a miracle already…for just being able to hope for a second. And when my heart began to prepare for a long distance ‘hope marathon’, God allowed me to see a post on Facebook by Sister Paula White as it flashes through.  ‘…by this time tomorrow..’ is all am able to see. And its enough. I go back to His Word and this is what He gives me;

FOR THOSE WAITING ON GOD FOR A KING/PRINCE/LEADER/…HUSBAND/SPOUSE: “ABOUT THIS TIME TOMORROW I WILL SEND YOU A MAN from the land of Benjamin… I have looked upon my people, for their cry has reached me.” 1 Samuel 9:16

FOR THOSE WAITING ON GOD FOR AN ‘IMPOSSIBLE BREAKTHROUGH’: “Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
2 Kings 7:1

FOR THOSE TRUSTING GOD FOR FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE OR/AND OPPRESSION BY A FORMIDABLE ENEMY: “Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now…hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.” Exodus 9:18, 24

FOR THOSE TRUSTING GOD TO OPEN THEIR WOMBS: “”About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord,” she objected. “Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God!” 2 Kings 4:16
“Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Genesis 18:14

I feel today, like Abraham may have felt, about 21 years after God had taken him on a mid-night stroll, where counting stars, The Creator of the universe, made a loving but ‘impossible’ promise; kinda like the ones a love-struck youth whispers to get full attention of the beauty that seems to hold his life…Its been a while, and yet…I am fully convinced, that He Who Promised is Able, and will do it. Against all hope…

Keep hoping, keep waiting, because if God made the promise, He IS TRUTH! Am waiting to hear your testimony.


%d bloggers like this: