Sunday, November 11, 2012

Speaking At a Funeral

Funerals are difficult for most people.
We face death,
and life pauses long enough for us to realize
that relationships are what is most important in life:
Our own with God and than the ones we have with each other.

I have heard of families feuding at funerals but have never witnessed such a scene.

I guess if you live long enough on this earth, you get to experience more and more of what this life has to offer - it must be why you are suppose to have gained wisdom with age.

I can't help but chuckle a little at the events of the past week.

It is not that it was funny at all, but it was ironic, sad and telling.

Family has always been something I missed. Growing up in severe abusive childhood home, I did not have a real sense of family. When I married to an only child, I tried to fit in, but as many married can attest, it is not always easy being accepted, especially when you have problems of your own.

While I longed for 'happily ever after' family experience, what I had was real: sometimes painful, sometimes misunderstood, sometimes unconfident, sometimes drained, sometimes shared in laughter, sometimes felt loved, sometimes enjoyed the being in a family. It was a mixture of it all - good and bad, but it was our family!

The funeral seemed more like a Saturday Night live skit about a funeral where relatives stand up during the service and shout out complaining about what is being said, then a cluster gets up in protest and walking out vocally expressing their dissatisfaction and opinion. This couldn't possibly really happen at a funeral... but it did.

I suppose if I didn't have peace in the Lord that we were honoring my husband's father in the funeral choices we made I would be offended, but we are not. We did the best we could in a whirlwind of deceit, rejection, robbery and anger.

We dealt with God before the funeral with our own soul and took responsibility for all we felt - we faced any sinful thoughts and desires to respond wrongly because we wanted justice or to even set the record straight. We came to the funeral in a spirit of sorrow, acceptance, forgiveness and resolve. We were determined to allow God to control the circumstances and for His will to be carried out. We trusted He had a plan.

Knowing we live in Satan's world and that he desires nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy families we were not going to participate in his desires. We surrendered all that had occured to our Father God and believed His promise that what was done in evil would be used for good and God's glory in the end.

I wanted to speak at the funeral. I thought I would speak a little about a family being given the responsibility to raise up a godly heritage and that our children are our inheritance from the Lord. A day or so that changed and I felt God wanted me to speak about sorrow and mourning. God says blessed our those who mourn for they will be comforted and I thought I could explain how we had hope in knowing our mourning would be ultimately completed-once and for all- when we entered heaven, where every tear would be wiped from our eyes.

But as we entered the room for the funeral service, I saw and felt great discord among those in the room. The air was tense and not much comforting was taking place. I heard clearly God speak 'reconciliation' is needed. When the time came for me to walk to the podium I paused before I began to speak and God again said, "the ministry of reconciliation." I knew what to say to obey.

As I shared about the difference of my family of origin to my husband's family I explained how I found joy in being one among a loving, supported extended family. I explained how my husband and I had to work hard to deal with reconciliation with my family and how we had learned so much about this over the years. To me it was obvious that God wanted to do a work in the hearts of those who sat in the room since each would claim to be a child of God. No one would want Satan to have the victory at dad's funeral - each would want to rejoice is the grace filled goodness of God that was possible because Jesus died on the cross and bore each of our sins. Certainly God would want reconciliation because this is his ministry on earth - we are reconciled to Him and then to each other - which is only possible because of Christ!

Reconciliation was not to be.

Still I honored God, dad and my husband. I spoke highly of each and truthfully attested to the goodness possible.

Most people fear to speak to a crowd, fortunately I don't. At the funeral, I had family members rebuke me openly and even walk out talking back loudly about their displeasure, but it didn't stop the service. God held me close and kept me in composure, in grace and in the respect of the moment being at the funeral service for my husband's father.

After I sat my husband spoke. I was so proud of him. But then I began quickly to be filled with sorrow and doubt - asking my husband to forgive me if I made any mistake. During the closing song I wept pressed against his chest and in his arms. We were one and God comforted us.

I have never been so proud of my children and how they handled such a difficult situation and I truly appreciated our dear friends and other family that attended this small service.

The cream rose to the top and it was a pure offering to the Lord - He was held high and glorified in-spite of the disturbance. And my husband's father was given a proper burial. We had accomplished the hard task we had been given and God had lead us to make the right choices.

Some may scoff, disagree, grumble or have chosen a different way, but no one can replace the voice of God in our life and the peace of God that He gives to those who willingly obey.

 It is well with our soul! 

Yes, even today, and tomorrow, it will always be well with our soul, as long as we continually follow the ONE who matters in life. I am so thankful we have learned to live for an audience of One! Since God is pleased, all is well!

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share our experience. I desire to not pretend and only show the good times in life. I want to be real so that others who experience bizarre or tragic episodes in life will know that they are not alone. We are here on earth for each other, to testify how God works and to encourage each other to live by God's precepts. No one is perfect but all we can ever do is try to listen to God and obey, to study his Word, apply it to our lives and to stay in prayerful communication with Him. It certainly helps me when I know others have faced similar trials and found God faithful.