We say we want to be healed of old wounds. And yet, many of us pick at the scabs and open the wounds again, keeping them from ever healing.
When the memories of negative situations come to mind, choose to let them go. Satan will tempt you to replay them. When you do, he will taunt you with “made you look.”
How do you overcome the temptation to replay the negativity? The same way you do on your computer. Hit delete and then type a new sentence.
If you keep typing the sentence the same way, it will be a “sentence.” You will sentence yourself to living in yesterday instead of receiving God’s Present of The Present.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
When I was growing up, my father and his brother frequently corresponded with each other by letter. Each signed off with “I am.” My father would pen, “I am your loving brother, Horace.”
Who are you? If you were to summarize in one simple sentence who you are, what would you say?
When I was born, it was traditional to name babies after family members. My parents followed this in naming me Louise for my grandmother. However, they made that my middle name.
They made my first name Carolyn. No one else on either side of the family was called Carolyn. They said they just liked the name and felt that was who I was.
Many years later I discovered Carolyn means “song of joy.” When I asked God about it, He smiled and said, “Yes, that is who I created you to be.”
When I became frustrated or depressed, I felt His Gentle Reminder. “Who are you?” He would ask.
Even though I did not necessarily feel it, I would repeat, “I am a song of joy.”
He smiled. “That’s right. We are in a marriage — you and I. In this marriage, you put My Name first.
Then you say what I created you to be.
My Song of Joy.
If you believe it, and practice it in your life, you will fulfill the purpose for which I brought you into this world.”
And so I sing for the Joy He gave me. I sing His Song He sang over me at my birth when He directed my parents to call me Carolyn.
And as a bonus, God gave our family the name Priester, a reminder that with all He has called, we are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of Him Who called us out of darkness into His Wonderful Light.”
1 Peter 2:9
What is your name? It may be the one your parents chose when you were born … or it may be a name God has given you that you have not discovered yet.
If you do not know, ask Him. And then live up to your name with Him!
But now, listen to the Lord Who created you. The One Who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a Mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His Love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs!
When I was young, I looked forward to getting older. When people would ask how old I was, sometimes I would say with great excitement, “I’m almost six.”
The next year seemed full of promise and new things I would be old enough to do.
I was excited about growing. When my mother performed the annual marking on the kitchen door that showed how tall I was, we both marveled at how much I had grown in a year.
I was really excited about reaching “double digits.” It brought being “grown up” into the realm of the possible. Never again would I be stuck with the little kids in single digits.
My age had the same number of digits as those people who were older and getting to do even more exciting things because they were older.
I longed to be old enough to be called a teenager.
And then age became tied to real rewards. If I was a certain age, I could drive. If I was a certain age, I could vote.
Age became attached to performance. If I was old enough, I could graduate from high school or college.
Age became attached to dreams. If I was old enough, I could be a real nurse. I might marry. I might have children.
But somewhere in my thirties and forties, the joy of getting older began to wear off.
The commercial world around me began to have its influence.
I bought makeup to cover what I considered the flaws of aging. I dyed my hair to cover the emerging gray.
Especially when I reached the forties, I began to get those birthday cards that predicted a dismal future of wheelchairs, dentures, incontinence, memory loss and a host of other maladies.
Doctors no longer said, “We can fix that.” They told me whatever ailment I had was what “happened to everyone when they got older” and I just needed to adjust.
Becoming older became something to hide, something to dread. The joy I once felt in getting older was slowly being sucked away.
In my latter fifties and early sixties, I noticed another disturbing trend, not only in myself, but in others. Recounting all the things I had done in my life seemed to label me as a dinosaur.
Any acknowledgement of a long, rich history brought about comments like, “Wow! How old are you?” If I actually revealed how old I was, I was given the questionable compliment of, “You look good for your age!”
When I was headed for being Medicare eligible, I noticed people were treating me differently. I felt the same, but I processed I was being treated differently.
If I took a misstep, a perfect stranger would swoop in and grab my arm. That didn’t happen with younger people.
And so it came to be that I no longer revealed how old I was. I tried to stay up to date on the latest expressions and events that would be of interest to younger people. I hung out with young people … carefully selected young people who actually seemed to enjoy my company and didn’t make age an issue.
And then the “fountain of youth” was delivered to my husband and me. We were asked to lead a Sunday School Class of people who were in their 80s and 90s.
Not only did we feel instantly young again, but God also provided a way for us to see up close and personal what it was like to be excited again about aging.
Our new friends proudly announced their ages. They looked forward to the next birthday. Just as I had once said, “I’m almost six,” they said, “I’m almost 85!” Or “I’m almost 100!”
Or they would say with great anticipation, “I’m almost home!”
Most of those dear friends are home now. And as I turn the corner to having served
on this planet for three quarters of a century, I can say with great anticipation, I am one year closer to going Home.
In the meantime, I am enjoying every day God gives me now. In God’s time, I am really quite young!
A thousand years in Your Sight are like a day that has just gone by!
As I complete another trip around the sun, I find myself reflecting on both the joys and challenges of getting older. Now that I have been promoted into the more advanced levels of this thing called Life, I have the frequent urge to share what I have learned with my younger traveling companions.
When I was younger, I did not understand all the things I now do about relating to older people. As a part of my desire to share wisdom (and also in the hope you will treat us right), I now share what we seniors would like you to know.
We don’t appreciate your predictions of doom about our future. Please no jokes about dentures, incontinence, wheelchairs and forgetting things. Not funny at any age.
Don’t tell us we look good “for our age.” Keep the compliment to “you look good.”
If you want to know how old we are, ask. If we want you to know, we will tell you. If we don’t want you to know, we won’t tell you. And we may be bold enough to question why you are asking.
Don’t insult our intelligence by asking questions that try to get at figuring out how old we are. Example, “How old were you when you moved here? How many years have you lived here?”
We have the urge to say things like “I was eight when I got my bunny. Then I was fifteen when the Smiths moved next door. I graduated from college with a 4.0. I got married five years after that …”. And we can keep the filibuster going indefinitely without ever really getting to our age. The question is whether you can keep up!
When people want too much information, we give it to them. But we control the content. An answer of too much information works every time.
Accept that we may tell you the same story many times. No eye rolling, sighing and saying, “You already told me that a hundred times already.” It is not always that we have forgotten we told you.
We simply enjoy going back in time and having you as a traveling companion. Come with us one more time. You may learn something new about the places we’ve been and the things we have done.
We may want to tell you about people you never had the opportunity to meet. The best way to keep someone’s memory alive is by remembering them. And we are happy to “introduce them” to you by talking about them.
Accept that we may tell you about the bad times too. It’s not that we enjoy going back there. Sometimes we are still trying to figure out the lessons life taught us. Sometimes we are still trying to “mine the gold” and it’s tough! Sometimes we want to share what we learned so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Let us give you advice. You can take it or leave it, but we enjoy the feeling of passing the baton on to those who may benefit from what we learned. We like the feeling of investing in a future we may not see.
Give us a minute to access the files in our brain. It’s not that we have forgotten everything. It’s simply that we have more things stored in the filing cabinet of our brain and it may take us a minute to pull out the right file.
Be patient with a little rambling. If we come across something on the way to pulling the right file, we may want to digress a minute and tell you about it. We are not confused. You just need to keep up when we switch topics!
Do not make comments about how slow we drive and we will not comment on how fast you drive. Most of us have lived long enough to witness accidents and we don’t want to be in one of them.
We already had our days of living dangerously. We now know how fragile life is and how everything can change in a second. We value the years we have collected and we are not ready to cash in our chips yet just to try to get to the store ten minutes earlier. Besides that, we want to go slow enough to enjoy the scenery.
And yes, we are secure enough to know our car horn works. We don’t need to test it every few minutes like you do.
Do not “help” us unless we ask or obviously need help. We value being independent. We don’t like even the appearance that we can’t take care of ourselves. If we stumble, see if we can right ourselves before you grab us by the arm. If we “miss our mouth,” tell us discreetly. Don’t reach over and wipe as if we were a child. We will give you the same courtesy.
On the flip side, be patient with our asking for your help. Sometimes you may think we are being overly dependent or whiney. But really we may be testing whether you will be there if we do need you. Reassure us not just with a promise for the future, but by indulging us a little now.
Listen to us tell you about our present day life. It may not sound as exciting to you as your life, but it is our life and it is important. We are not just sitting here waiting to die. We are living. Going to the store, visiting a neighbor, looking at the flower bed are the adventures of our life.
Understand we, like everyone, need to express grief over our losses. We are at the stage of life where we know, short of a miracle, we will never get to do some things again. That makes us sad. What you see as whining is actually grieving. Acknowledge the pain is real, let us talk it out and shed a tear or two.
When we get to the place where we have to accept your help, understand we appreciate all you do for us. But also know the appreciation is mixed with a sadness that we can no longer do it ourselves. Look for ways we can participate instead of completely sidelining us.
Don’t overemphasize who we used to be. That makes us sound as if we are not that person now. We are the same person, but in a different life. Feel free to ask us about the activities of our past, but acknowledge who we are right now.
Let us express our uniqueness and don’t be embarrassed by how we do it. Some of us lived with teenagers with purple hair, body piercings and tats, and smiled at their creativity. Now we may want to be a little wild ourselves. Whether it’s going to Walmart with curlers in our hair or wearing a little more makeup than you think we need, it’s all good.
Know that we may talk about dying. It’s not that we are morbid. But we have a lot of family and friends who have already gone to the other side, and we are anticipating joining them soon. Don’t deny us the anticipation of reality. It’s a simple fact. The young may die. The old must die. Help us pack our bags at our own pace.
Don’t tell us to “act our age.” We’ve never been this age before. It’s an adventure yet to be explored!
Later this month, I will begin my 75th trip around the sun. I am blessed to have survived all the previous trips with my “transport vehicle” in relatively good shape.
Some parts have had to be relinquished. Some I really don’t miss. Some I do.
The trips have all been different. I learned a lot on each one. Some of my fellow passengers have exited to another orbit.
They fly further out and can see more than I do now. But sometimes our orbits are so close, I feel I can almost reach out and touch them.
There is only one traveler in my orbit who has been with me from my first trip. My brother was there when I started and I am blessed he still is.
I have been changed in the journey. I look different. My “spacesuit” fits a little looser than it did. I think differently about the world I see around me.
I am aware that what I once thought were boundaries are not so at all. They are doorways to the next level of travel. In fact, I have become aware that each trip has taken me farther and farther out toward deep space.
I was told that it will be totally dark there. So I once dreaded it. But what I have discovered is that it is getting lighter with each trip. I now eagerly anticipate getting to explore more of what is out there.
I have learned the ride is smoother when I travel lighter. I have jettisoned lots of things I once thought I needed for the journey. I have only kept those things necessary for my present trip.
When will I make the jump to warp speed and go to the next level? I don’t know. The One Who pilots this vessel has our schedule already determined, and He is keeping quiet about it.
I trust Him. He has been The Pilot from the beginning and He assures me He will get us where we are going safely and on time. I just get to settle in and enjoy the ride!
I am looking forward to trip 75. Stay tuned. I’ll send out some travel reports as I go.
Your Eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your Book before one of them came to be.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!”
This is my continuing conversation with God about New Life Planning. (See prior posts.)
I perked up. Finally I was going to get an answer to what for me had become an obsession. Burial or cremation?
“It depends,” He said.
“On what?” I asked.
“Take a few moments and think about the body. What is it? Paul knew. He was surprised his followers did not get it.”
Do you not know that your body is a Temple of The Holy Spirit within you, Whom you have from God? You are not your own.
1 Corinthians 6:19
“This body you are honored to wear is sacred. It is a Temple. It houses My Holy Spirit. I made it especially for you.
“It is mine. You do not own it. I do. I gave it to you and have trusted you to take care of it.
“Satan has tried every trick in his book to get inside. He has come against it with disease and every other kind of thing. He has tried a thousand different ways to get you to open the door and let him in.
“Sometimes you cracked the door and he got inside the front hall. But I prevented him from going any further.”
I open what no one can shut and shut what no one can open.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.
“So it is quite right you should be asking Me how to care for this Temple. You should not just walk away, even into The Glory I have planned for you, without considering The Temple you are leaving behind.
“That Temple was the place where I shone My Light into the world. And when I released My Body, something very important happened at The Temple.
“Do you remember what happened?”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His Spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.
The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Mathew 27: 50-53
“The Temple was not closed up. It was not sealed. It was revealed as it was created to be. Connected with The Living!
“My Life did not end at the tomb. Yours will not either. After the day the stone was rolled away, no one looked for Me there.
“No stone was left there that recorded My Life in limited earth years.
“My Life was recorded in hearts and minds that went on forever. You are part of My Life. Don’t let My Life end at a grave.”
“Think about these things and we’ll talk some more.”
Glorify God in your body!
1 Corinthians 6:20
Whatever you do, do all to The Glory of God!
1 Corinthians 10:31
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
He reached out ever so gently and lifted my face to His. Looking into His Eyes seemed to open thoughts I had never had before.
He said quietly, “What Message do you want to leave for others when you are released from your body?
“Is it the grave or the resurrection of the body you want to proclaim?”
And in that moment two verses immediately came to mind.
Details. I wanted details. “So let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. When I stop breathing, will I know I’m dying? I know You don’t like that word, but it’s still kind of the way I think. No offense.”
“None taken. Keep your eyes on Me and you will never see death.”
Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys My Word will never see death.
“Oh God, do You really mean that?”
“You won’t be paying attention to earthly things. I’ll be telling you all about your new home on the way there. I will be happy to be your personal escort.”
Do not let your hearts be troubled. My Father’s House has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.
John 14: 1-3
“Oh God,” I confessed. “I think I have feared death all my life. I think that’s why I became a hospice nurse. I thought I could demystify it … get more comfortable with it … figure it all out. I’ve looked at death a thousand different ways.”
“And with such extensive research what did you find? Do you know how it all works now? Ready to try it out?”
I shuttered. “No, not yet. That’s why I am talking to You.”
He smiled. “I waited a long time for this moment. You could have saved yourself a lot of worry if you had talked to Me first.
“You are not the only one who is afraid of death. That is why I came to show you how it will be.”
He paused and looked at me. I could tell He saw through me to the depths of my very soul.
“I don’t think this conversation was really about what to do with a dead body, was it? It is about what to do with death itself. Am I right?”
I cried. “Yes. Yes, that’s really it. It’s so … so … unknown. I mean nobody ever really goes all the way there and ‘lives to talk about it.’ Pardon the pun.”
“That is not true. Someone did. And believe Me, they have been talking about it for thousands of years!”
“Well tell me. I didn’t hear it. Who?”
He smiled. “Me!”
“Yeah, but you’re not human. You’re God!”
“I am God. But I was also God in a human body. I was Jesus. I came as Jesus to free you from any fear of death.
“Paul got that one right too.”
Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His Death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
God repeated Paul’s words.
… free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
“I am here to do that.
“I could have stayed in Heaven. But I did not. I was with you from the beginning and have been every moment.
“But I knew you needed to see Me in the same kind of body you have to understand you do not need to fear death.
“Every human is a little different. But we have many things in common.
“I was born like you.
“I grew up like you.
“I ate, slept, walked, talked, did everything like you.
“I died like you will. Hopefully you will not have to suffer crucifixion, but you may suffer as you move into your new body.
“Someone will do something with your dead body. We will talk later about that. They laid My Body in a tomb.
“Notice, I said they laid My Body in a tomb. I was no longer in it. Wherever your body is laid, you will not be there either.
“At the moment I released My Spirit, I was free of the body. You will be too.
“And to demonstrate the grave could not hold Me, I returned to My Body and showed everyone.
“I showed them I was still Me. I could still walk, talk, eat and do other things I used to do. I even cooked!
“I didn’t deny something had happened to Me. I had the wounds to prove it. But they did not hurt Me anymore. Do you think I would have let Thomas put his hand in the wound in My Side if it was going to hurt?
“I was showing everyone the body was sort of like a bullet proof vest. It got attacked. It got wounded. But I was no longer attached to it. I had been changed.
“I walked through walls. I appeared various places. I was different. And so shall you be.”
“Will people be able to see me in my body like they did You?”
He was quiet. Finally I said, “Did you hear my question?”
He smiled. “You’re doing it again. Making your list. Wanting every detail. I am not going to tell you everything now. As your generation says, ‘Wait for it … wait for it!’
“But let’s get back to your original question of what to do with the body after you have finished using it. I do have some things to tell you about that.”
This is my continuing conversation with God about transitioning from this life to the next. (See prior posts for the beginning of our discussion.)
I was excited! I told God, “That new body sounds awesome. So do I just leave this one here and get the new one? How does this exchange work?”
I have always been God’s why child. It is not enough for me to know what something is. I want to know how it works, step by step. God knows me. He knows what’s coming. I take comfort in knowing He is not offended by my questions.
But like any parent, He knows my understanding is limited now. He only tells me what I need to know and what I can digest now.
He said, “It’s not an exchange of bodies. It’s a change in your body. You will not be replaced. You will be transformed. “
“Your present body works the same way. Some parts are shed when they are no longer needed. Other parts are changed. Some parts are added.”
“I change you so you are ready to live the next part of your life. When you were ready, the little baby changed into the child and then the teenager and then the adult. You were always you, but you changed.”
“When those changes started, you may not have even noticed. I am gentle with you. But My creation never stops. You go from Glory to Glory.”
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Details. I wanted details. “So how long will I have to wait for this transformation after I die?”
He frowned. “I don’t use words like death. I conquered death, so that is a foreign expression to Me. Do you mean how long does it take to change from your earthly form to your heavenly form?”
“Everyone’s experience in getting ready to launch from the old body is different. What you call dying is really like the labor pains of the birth you and your mother experienced when you came to earth.”
“For some it takes a longer time of struggle to be born from earth life to heavenly life. For some, it is a quick delivery.”
But for all, the change happens when they fully surrender to Me and trust Me.
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
So our bodies return to the earth, and the life-giving breath returns to God.
Ecclesiastes 12: 7
“Some people call it My Holy Kiss. I breathe life into you when you are born and when you go to the next level, you give it back to Me, as I give you more.”
“When launch happens, is it quick?”
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
“In a flash … in the twinkling of an eye .. you will have a growth spurt.”
“But wait, I thought that was going to be at the end of time. Paul says ‘at the last trumpet.’”
“It’s actually the first trumpet you will hear in Heaven. And it does not sound anything like Taps. It sounds like the announcement of royalty.”
“And it will be. I will be pleased to present you to the company of saints.”
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8
He said not to be afraid, but … I suddenly came face to face with my real fear.
God spoke with great compassion and Love. “This conversation really wasn’t about cremation or burial, was it? It was about your fear of death itself. Are you ready to talk about that now?”