Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Death is not Dying

Hello Everyone

Some of you may recognize the title of my blog. Lately I have been silently struggling with my soon to be death. I know it might sound strange because a few posts back I sounded excited, but the truth is I do get scared. I have been asking myself why a lot lately. As a firm believer in Christ and what he's done for me and God opening my eyes from the blindness of my sinful flesh, why would I be scared? Do I not know where I'm going? Do I not feel I'm a believer? You might be wondering these things about me too as I pose these questions. Lately I have had an intense fear that plagues me every night. The fear is that some time in the middle of the night a robber will come and murder me and my family. Its a bit crazy ,I know. But with all the Tru tv I've watched and news stories, and sex offender sites I've seen I can see where this is manifesting from. Every night it takes me several hours to get comfortable enough to close my eyes, or my eyes just hurt too much to keep them open. It really has bothered me that I'm so effected by this. I feel weak the next day and that results in me not accomplishing much that I wanted to. And I ask myself why? I can almost feel hardened in a way with this recently. But then today as I was reminicing through some old emails I came across one that a lady from church sent out with the link to this site.... http://deathisnotdying.com/eventvideo/
I implore you, watch the clip on this site if you haven't already. I'll warn you its very emotional, but the message is extremely powerful. Its the story and life lessons through faith of Rachel Barkey a woman fighting a 4 year long battle with cancer. Earlier this past year she was informed that her cancer was back and terminal. A strong believer who lived her life selflessly for the joy and glory of God. Rachel died this past July 2nd, leaving a husband, Neal, and 2 small children, Kate and Quinn.
Her story was incredibly moving and encouraging. Its no surprise I was clutching my tissue box the whole time. :) Its almost like God again is talking to me through this in a sense. I've noticed that different things I struggle with God puts a scripture into my sights or a book into my lap or just an encouraging conversation with someone that seems to help me better understand and deal with the issue. I feel God working in me through Rachel's story. She touched on many challenging topics and I could go very deep in talking about many of them, but I'm afraid this blog would turn into a book. :) Of all the many points she made was one set that stood out to me. She was talking about why she was having her speech recorded, so that one day long after she's gone her children could hear her talk about what she went through and that God could use her words to draw them to Him. That had me crying instantly, I think sometimes its easy to slip our minds of how crucial it is to magnify the Lord in all we do including witnessing to our own children. I look at my beautiful baby boy, looking into his precious blue eyes knowing every inch of him was a blessing and miracle from God. I know even now at his age even though he may be young, I tend to think selfishly about my time with him throughout the day as she had talked about in her video. Quoting her in her challenge to the crowd: "Know God, know yourself, know the gospel,and know your purpose"
I realized that in these four points was the answer to my fear and quietly has hushed it. I answered these questions to myself, #1 I know God, and who He really is and love Him, #2 I know myself, I'm sinful undeserving of God's love and Christ's sacrifice for me, taking the punishment from the Father for my sins and selfishness. And I know that I'm a believer. #3 I know the gospel, and how God forsake His son for me, and how Jesus came to serve...me. #4 I do know my purpose, to glorify God and spread the gift of the gospel, to live my life deep and pure and to give it up denying self for His glory. He is the only one who deserves it. There is a verse that I thought was so compelling and powerful: James 4:14, "
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." Life on this earth was never meant to be forever, our forever takes place at a different venue. I love how in Rachel's very last blog she wrote:

"And I am finding that my greatest challenge and what occupies my thoughts most these days is how to finish well. All the little things that I battle daily seem to loom larger in the waiting of each day and moment as my impatience and selfish tendencies rush to the forefront of every thought and activity."

"So my challenge is to finish well. And it seems I am to do this by waiting. Appropriately, I found this verse in Lamentations:

“It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

"Waiting. Quietly. It is a good thing apparently."

"I have added it to my To Do list"…

As I look back to when I was in the hospital with problems in my pregnancy I'm reminded of how selfish I was and am shamed by it. It was all about me. I wasn't concerned with my testimony to others like the nurses or doctors diligently treating me. "I want to go home"." Please I don't want to be here." " I can't do this anymore." I begged, argued, and pleaded with them. I knew how dangerous it would be if I were to go home and yet I was willing to put my health and my baby's in jeopardy for my own selfish comforts. It was all about me. If we really think hard as Rachel suggests, we find it is all about us. Me.Me.Me. We are very selfish creatures. That reminds me of Debbie's words from the ladies luncheon on why we don't give the gift of the gospel: Mine.Mine.Mine. We're selfish even when it comes to spreading His word. Afraid of being inconvenienced or uncomfortable for any period of time.

I love how Rachel brought up one of my favorite quotes by Martin Loyd Jones:

"The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self."

We do listen to our inner thoughts all day long its very true. We are all dying everyday, coming closer and closer to our end. I pray that when its my time to go that I can do as Rachel has: "I hope I finish well". So now as my fears are hushed and my mind cleared I find that I'm no longer concerned so much about the fear of dying but rather how I live my testimony day by day. How I show my love for God and His word in my daily life, in how I feed or comfort my son,how I speak with my husband, and how I treat others. Doing all these things in magnifying the Lord and His great love.
I have cried a lot tonight but its okay because the way I see it , it shows that we love. Not neccessarilly this life, but the loved ones and dear friends God has blessed us with. You know its funny, my husband and I were driving home from the store and I asked him what he fears most about his own death and his answer silenced me : "I just fear how you and Mazio would be, if you both would be okay after I'm gone." Thats not the answer I was expecting from him, but it spoke volumes to me.
As I end this blog here, I again quote Rachel: "Dying is hard" If dying to self is a life long battle, then dying and leaving this world where the sin of man runs rampant can't be expected to be any less difficult. But thats where faith steps in. I'll be praying continually from here on out for God to help strengthen me on this topic.



Love,

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