Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘funerals’ Category

Welcome Home

Beloved, Lift Your Head

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 1:2-5

Lately there has been much sadness in our world.  Many losses, hurts and pain.  But when we concentrate on a scripture such as the one above that has so much comfort and hope – we are encouraged and given new strength to go on.

When things happen unexpectedly, such as a sudden death in someone young – it always catches us off guard – but God is never caught off guard.  He knows the total number of our days.  And He promises to be there to walk through any difficult season that we may have to face here on earth.

When we lose someone – we grieve.  But we grieve for ourselvesnot for them.  It is a necessary process we must all walk through.

Some of the comfort we receive is in knowing that they are safely home – in the arms of Jesus.  Other comfort is from family and friends – who offer support and encouragement to go on.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Instead we should say:

When we grieve.

Because we do.  Because we will.  And God knows this.

And because there are no answers to the questions – we must trust that He is still working behind the scenes, far beyond what we can understand – to bring about His purpose and plan to save a lost and dying world – even if it means that we lose something in the process.

For them – to die is really gain.  And when we die – the same is true for us.  As Christ followers we have that incredible hope.

The following video is the story behind the song by Michael W. Smith, “Welcome Home” – I know that the testimony of the parents who lost their college age son – will encourage you today.  And below this video – is the actual song with lyrics.

If you are grieving today, or know someone who is – I encourage you to watch both of these videos today.

 

God Bless

[VERSE 1]
I can’t believe that I’m here
Having to say goodbye.
And I can barely see you through
These tears I cry.
I close my eyes.

[CHORUS]
I can hear the sound
As angels gather ’round
Saying this is where you belong
Welcome Home!

[VERSE 2]
There are the days that my heart aches
wishing you were here.
But I know where you are
The hurt and the pain disappear.
There’s no more tears.

Chorus

Welcome Home!

Chorus

What a lovely sound
Angels all around
Saying this is where you belong
Welcome Home!
Welcome Home!
Welcome Home!

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When You Struggle

My husband Greg does funeral services and wedding ceremonies for a living – it is his own small business – out of our home.  He loves doing the memorials much better than the weddings – because he is highly relational – and feels a connection with each one of the people that he meets with and walks through the grieving process with.  It is a unique gift – not everyone can do it.  I know it would be difficult for me – I would get TOO involved in the emotion of it and would not be able to separate – and would be no help whatever.  I’ve been at some of his services and I’m bawling like a baby from the grief that I feel for the family – and he is so composed and handles the stress and emotion of the moment so well.

He has noticed something special about the person who grieves – and can identify with the scripture, “blessed are they who mourn”  because he has seen the powerful effect in a person’s life – and seen the hand of God touch those that grieve.  There is a special unique quality in those who struggle.

We sometimes think that we are weak when we do – so we try to deny it – or push it down, pretending that we do not hurt or question or have any problems.  But the truth is that God’s grace and mercy is poured out in a unique and special way to those of us that do.

I have seen those that have lost a loved one – my friend lost a young husband to cancer – I’ve witnessed those that have lost a child, a sibling – or a parent.  It is the same grief.  It is the same sadness.  There are no words.  It is a very private struggle.  It is a private pain.  But there is also something very special about those “who mourn”.  For the promise for those that do – there is a time when there will be no more sadness – no more tears – no more separation – no more grief or regret.  And God’s comfort can be very close and real to those that ache from pain here on earth – in a very real and personal way.

Pain is something that can make us strong – not weak if we allow Him to gently heal us over time – and though we do not forget – we are covered in peace and washed in love.  In a daily – continual way.  Events in our lives can draw us nearer to God – and He is right there as a constant companion in the good times of life – and in the dark times too.

And as my friend told me just today – it is important to know that when we struggle – God is looking down on us and saying, “You’re my favorite”  and that is something that we can be assured of – that He not only understands – but He is working behind the scenes of our lives – going before us on our journey to bring people and events in our lives that are further confirmation that we are special to Him – and that He’s always thinking about us – whispering to us, “you are my favorite”.

I am praying for each and every one of you today – that as you struggle – you will remember these words of comfort and know that He is with you – you are not alone – you are special and His “favorite” today.

God Bless

Memorials and Other Things That Are Difficult

Today I go to a memorial service for an old friend – someone we go way back with – since our first days attending New Life Church in Renton – some 15 years ago.  My husband Greg has done many of these over the years.  I don’t know how he gets through some of them – I wouldn’t do so well keeping my composure – especially the services for children and the unsaved.

There are many things in our lives that are hard for us to do.  That is just one of them.  We all are born – and we all die.  It is a hard cold reality.

Other things are hard for each one of us on a personal level.  Each of us has to face difficult things – and instead of running away – we MUST face them – eventually.  I wrestle with this fact.  I don’t like it.  And yet – today – even I must face another difficult thing.  Or perhaps it would be trivial for you – but for me – it’s difficult and will take every ounce of my will – not to back out – but just face it.

The time has come.  The choice is mine.  I choose the higher road.  And so my journey continues…

God Bless

How Do You Define Success?

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Albert Schweitzer

Heard an excellent message on Sunday morning.  The topic: “How do you define success?”  Pastor Greg was speaking from the book of Luke – the portion on “The Beatitudes” – where Jesus is speaking “Kingdom” concepts to the crowd and especially the disciples.  He was speaking things that were in direct contradiction to the way human nature and limited senses allowed them to comprehend.  They always had trouble understanding what Jesus was trying to teach them because it went against everything they were taught – everything they knew.  They saw Him with people – heard Him teach  walked right there beside Him – working crowds of people with such grace and mercy – healing people and dealing with things without impatience or crankiness.  But they still did not understand Him – and they were right there with Him.  Today we still don’t get it – even though we have the Bible – and many writings from scholars and very wise intellectuals to help us be  “enlightened” and “informed” on what scripture said and what Jesus really meant when He said it.  Our ways are so much different from His.  Our definitions of “greatness” have more to do with “power” and “being the best” than it does with being “meek” and “humble” – even “poor in spirit”.  We care more about how we look to those around us – than just simply doing what’s right.  Even though we know from what we read here that the “last will be first” and that success here on earth is very different from success with God.

This led to the question – “how do you define success?” – and more importantly, “how do you define your success?”  What will people say about you will you die?  My husband deals with this all the time when he councils with grieving families – preparing to do a someone’s funeral service.  He will meet with the family and hear their stories.  How does their family remember them?   Was it their spotless house?  Their finely manicured lawn and beautifully landscaped yard?  Did they have many possessions but no happiness?  Did they invest in people?  What do their friends and family say about them?  Do they even have anything nice they can say about them?  Sometimes – there isn’t much nice to say.  Sometimes the person was never able to give love – never showed any compassion to anyone – never had any friends.  Sad, sad, sad.

But the happier funerals have been where the one that passed on was a positive influence – and a happy person – one who had found the secret of success in their own personal life – and lived it out.  Creating a legacy from personal success – a relationship with Jesus – the giver of ultimate joy and peace – and one who surrounded themselves with good people in their lifetime – who learned from mistakes – pulled themselves up time and time again – who would not give in – or give up.  Who loved people and had love returned back to them.  Who was happy in what they did – and was content.

I love the quote at the top of this article – because  I would have to say that success for me is doing something that I feel I have been gifted in – and doing it with my whole heart and soul – loving God,  my family and friends with everything in me – being a positive encourager and lover of people – and finding that all the joy and happiness that is given away – is again brought back to me full circle and running over. That to me – is success.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

And like Paul in this scripture – I want to do my best to live this out in my own life.  I know I do not hit the mark all the time – but it is my ultimate goal. I am still learning.  I am still on a journey.  A journey to learn to be contented – and find success through contentment.

I am praying for you tonight – that you too would find the secret of “being content” and also be able to write your own “personal” statement of success.

God Bless

Who Will You Meet In Heaven?

I’ve been pondering some thoughts on heaven in the last few days. Heaven is one of those somewhat mystical places spoken about in the Bible where all of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ will go when we die.

I find it interesting that we will be all living together in unity and love. There will be no hard feelings and no “cold wars” with people – no unresolved issues and no avoidance.

I like to think of our time here on earth as a training ground for how we will eventually live when we get to our new home. If we can’t get it right here – that’s very sad indeed. I believe very much that it’s like the old saying “if you won’t discipline yourself – someone will do it for you”. I don’t think we want to be faced with God saying to us, “I asked you to forgive and be reconciled to your brother or sister in Christ and you refused to do it – or to even speak to them and be a part of their life – so now the reconciliation will be on MY terms and you will no longer have a choice”. I have often wondered what God will do to stubborn people who REFUSE to do the right thing here on earth. Will he be forced to reveal things openly and run a DVD of those moments in our lives that no one has seen so that we can’t hide behind the “victim mentality” and the one sided arguements that work so great for us down here. No. I have a feeling that all will be revealed in heaven – nothing hidden. And if you’ve stuffed those things and even convinced others how right you are – you’re in for a big SURPRISE.

We are going to meet people in heaven that love Jesus just like we do. But we are going to be made keenly aware of the fact that what we avoided or would not forgive our brother or sister down here because of pride and stubbornness – we will be forced to do so then and I believe it will make Jesus sad at our lack of understanding and unwillingness to do the right thing.

Who are the people that you will meet someday in heaven? Do you have a relationship with them now? Have you been offered the gift of reconciliation and you refused it? Are you stubbornly hanging on to your hurt feelings and love being right? Do you make Jesus sad?

Or do you long to make your issues with people that you have wronged or that have wronged you – right again? Do you seek out forgiveness just like someone following Christ does? Are you quick to take the blame for any conflict with a brother or sister? Do you wish things to be restored? Do you take on the attitude that if Jesus can forgive my HUGE debt then I surely can forgive my brother or sister their small debt. Do you say, “I’ve forgiven but I’m never speaking to that person or having them back in my life again”. Yup – that sounds like true forgiveness to me – and you know what? Jesus doesn’t buy it.

In the movie “The five people you meet in heaven” the man in the story dies and is greeted by five people one at a time that touched his life somehow – including the people he had not properly reconciled with or had many unanswered questions about. He found out that there were many thing that were quite different than what he thought down on earth and really opened up his eyes and allowed him to see people and situations so much differently.

Many times we cling to hurt and unforgiveness like a child clutching a blanket – never giving it up for any reason. Even though we have been told and know that it is the Christ like way to live. Jesus told us to forgive and be restored to our brother or sister not just because it helps them – but because it helps us and it is the only way to find true health and freedom.

Who do you need to talk to today? Are you going to wait until heaven? Don’t wait friend – there is so much joy still waiting for you in this life – this is our practice for the real thing – let’s get it right! Your reward will be in heaven as God proclaims, “well done good and faithful servant – you FINALLY got it!”

God Bless

The Sweet Spot Generation…

I just got done watching the Michael Jackson Memorial Service – Live on Television.  I watched it with my daughter, Ashlee – and told her she would have something to tell her Grandchildren someday – as this is a defining moment, when such an entertainer and personality in this world – passes.

If you were fortunate to be born before about 1965 – then you are in what has been referred as “The Sweet Spot Generation”.  Simply meaning this:  you were around to remember a time when the “Jackson Five” redefined music at Motown Records – and set a standard that everything else tried to imitate.  We remember Michael as a little boy – with enormous genius “child prodigy” kind of talent that every little boy and girl living in the 60’s wanted to have.  We remember a time before “Off the Wall” – and we were none too surprised when he again emerged as a young adult and revolutionized the music industry – a second time.  I bought that album in 1980 – in fact it was the last vinyl I ever bought – wish I still had it – but many things of mine were sold in garage sales by my parents after I got married and left home.  I do remember playing that album over and over again – knew every song on it and even still today they bring back great memories for me – as it brings back for me – a time of innocence – I was 19 years old.

A commentator said today – before the service started – that Michael Jackson music to our generation has been “the soundtrack of our lives” and I couldn’t agree more.  No matter what you think of him as a person – it is the undisputed truth that Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer of our generation – and probably of many more to come.

I do not know where Michael Jackson is today.  I would like to believe that he made his peace with God at the end – as my good friend Carla said in one of her recent blog posts – we don’t know what happens at the end of our life – if we are given a few extra moments to receive Christ into our lives – but I like to think that we do.

One thing is for sure – he made a tremendous impact on his world – clearly he loved people and opened doors for African American people – that had never been opened before.  He was a great humanitarian – and gave much of his money and time to charities.  And those that knew him best – knew a different side of him – that was shy – loving and caring.  I would have liked to have known that man.

For our “Sweet Spot Generation” it is the end of a legacy – the end of an era.  And I will miss him.

God Bless

This song below was sung today by the great Stevie Wonder – Enjoy!

Funerals, Weddings and….Limo’s…..

40_Moon_Mansion_CB_sfw1Yesterday proved to be an interesting day for us.  My husband Greg has his own business now – doing weddings and funerals full time.  He’s one of those sick people who actually enjoy funerals – or “Celebration of Life” gatherings.  They are his favorite events and everyone teases him about liking death and getting excited about sickness etc.  He gets energy from helping bereaved people and walking them through the next step, providing comfort and assistance – helping them to plan the service etc.  He has networked with many funeral homes in the area – and has had much business.

To me the wedding portion of his job would be happier and more joyful – but weddings can be much more stressful – depending on the bride and the surrounding circumstances.  Last night he had the opportunity to meet and schmooze with some local wedding vendors in our area – and he took me along for the ride – so to speak.  The ride was in a LIMO and it was a fun night indeed!  We drove to meet the people and take the Limo from the outlet mall in North Bend – from there we traveled about 15 minutes to a place called “Moon Mansion”.  This place is a brand new vacation rental just outside of North Bend.  It is NOT a Bed and Breakfast – it is a vacation home – with many rooms – a full kitchen and dining room.  You rent it out by the week.  You can have up to 10 families or so staying there, which would make the weekly rental very reasonable.  I had fun taking pictures while Greg talked and handed out business cards to the various vendors gathered there.  The food was incredible – another vendor showing what they offered.  We had every hors d’oeuvre  imaginable – from stuffed mushrooms and peppers to fruit and cheese and every kind of little dessert treat.  There was a wine tasting also – I’ve never found one that I like – I’ve been to a wine tasting with my daughter and they are always frustrated with me – as nothing suits my palette.  I was not raised with it – and it tastes very much like medicine to me.  I know I’m not alone here – many people not only do not drink – but don’t like wine.

All in all – a very fun evening and I hope it will help Greg’s business – as he was the ONLY Celebrant invited to this event.  He got to meet several “wedding planners” and “photographers” and “florists” and even “D.J’s”  Our Limo driver even took his card!

Well – when you are “wined and dined” by weddings vendors – you are treated very special – and every day normal life will be a little dull from here on out – but we will try to weather it – the best we can.  And if you need someone to officiate a funeral or wedding – check out Greg’s website for both venues on the right side of this page – you won’t be sorry – he’s the very best for the job.

God Bless!

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