I Went to My Own Funeral
Before you die there's something you need to do - go to your own funeral. No, I'm not a sadomasochist or some satanist who likes to go to cemeteries and sacrifice animals, but I realized this past week that you shouldn't wait until you die to go to your own funeral. A funeral is much better to attend the more life you have left to live.
Let me explain.
The last decade has been hard. Yes, I said decade, not year. There was a point in my life where a year used to seem like a long time, but now when I hear people say, "Last year was a rough year," inside I'm shaking my head. I'm not trying to judge, but in some ways I am. I'm thinking to myself, "If only it was a year."
A year seems like a 100 yard dash now, but like they say everything is relative, right? Tough journeys have a way of putting things into perspective, so do long journeys; and the last 10 years have been a long, tough journey. And I'm not making myself out to be some type of martyr of sorts because I know a lot of people out there who've had it way worse than me, and there are many others who could testify to the same rugged journey that seems to have no finish line.
But it does have a finish line, and that's why I'm here to suggest to you to have a funeral for your life. That's what I did this past week.
I was taking a walk to clear my mind and get some fresh air when a wave of grief came over me. It was a grief from all the things lost in this last season. It seemed everywhere I looked I had experienced losses; lost opportunities, lost relationships, lost joy, lost peace, lost finances, lost memories, lost time, lost love.....just loss after loss after loss.
And just for the record, I'm a glass is half-full kind of person. I'm not one to wallow in regret. I let stuff go and I move on. I take the attitude that all things are working for my good, so if I don't have something I tell myself it's because it's for my good, but for some reason on this day I felt this overwhelming sense of loss.
So much so that I was feeling a bit guilty for allowing myself to have this little pity party. That's when I heard God say, "Go ahead and grieve it. I need you to grieve it so you can let it go and bury it." I then had this image of myself going to the cemetery and having a ceremony to bury these losses. I continued to think about this funeral on my way home.
Later that evening I suggested to my kids that we should watch a movie. I had a couple movies in mind to watch when my youngest son said, "Let's watch The Shack." I love that movie, but I hadn't watched it in almost two years since its release. So that was an easy deal for me. We popped popcorn and put the movie in.
All throughout the movie I realized God was using this movie to speak to me and confirm what He had told me on my walk.
There were a number of scenes that stood out and spoke right to my heart. For those who haven't seen it, the movie is about a man who becomes angry with God for allowing abuse from his father as a child, and then later on for allowing his little daughter to get murdered by a man in an abandoned shack up in the mountains.
One day when the man decides to revisit the shack he has a supernatural encounter with God, known as "Papa" in the movie, along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Papa shows up as an African-American woman. When he was younger there was an African-American woman who was his neighbor and would always show him kindness and love because she knew his father was abusive.
When he encounters Papa, she tells him the reason she came as a woman was because she didn't feel he was ready to receive God as a man because he associated a father with the abuse he received from his own father.
Papa went on to tell him, "The problem with you, is you don't think I'm good." He continued by telling him that as long as he stayed stuck in his pain he could never see the great future that God had for him.
But still the man wasn't convinced. How could a God who has the power to protect his little girl not save her? How could a Father be good that would allow one of his children to be brutally murdered? Papa explained that we only see part of the picture and in a world where love gives people the options to choose, sometimes people choose to do evil, which causes others pain. But that doesn't mean that God is indifferent to our pain.
In another scene he is sitting in a row boat out in the middle of a lake, and he begins replaying these losses in his mind. As he does this, this black water begins to fill up in his boat. As the boat begins to sink Jesus is standing off to the side of the boat and tells him to stop looking at his pain and to look at him. When he looks at Jesus all the black water disappears from his boat and he stops sinking.
Later in the film he is taken to the place where his daughter's body is, and he is now able to have a proper burial for his daughter. After burying his daughter in this beautiful garden, the Holy Spirit pulls out a glass container that has all of his tears in it and says, "We collect things that are valuable". The Holy Spirit then pours them on the ground where his daughter was buried. As soon as the tears touch the ground a beautiful tree bearing much fruit instantly grows to maturity.
After watching the movie I sat on the couch and balled my eyes out, much like I did the first time I watched the movie. One, because it's an awesome movie. (If you haven't seen it, it's a must see movie. It's my second all time favorite movie after "The Passion of the Christ.) Two, because I knew my Papa was telling me that He sees me and He hears me; every word, every tear....nothing escapes Him.
I hadn't experienced the horrible tragedy this father had in this movie, but much like him I had been angry at God, wondering how a good Father could let so many seemingly bad things happen and allow me to experience so many losses. There were nights when I felt like I was drowning in my pain, but that was the problem. I was stuck focusing on my pain and my losses, so much so that I couldn't see what God has for me in my future.
I now knew for certain I needed to have this funeral and bury this pain. The next day I went out to the cemetery and began driving around. I felt there was somewhere specific that I was supposed to have this ceremony, so I continued to drive around until I felt led to stop by a particular tombstone.
As I sat in my car I began writing down all the things I was letting go of and burying. The hardest one was time. How was I supposed to let go of over 10 years that seemed to be wasted? I had labored and grinded and travelled around the country chasing this dream that seemed to not have given me the returns that I had invested. And not only that, but I was grieving the memories lost; time that I hadn't been mentally present with my kids due to the heartache of the journey. I couldn't get that back.
But, I had to let it go. I needed to move on.
I got out of my car and sat down on the bench that was a part of this elaborate tombstone. I sat on the bench and cried. A woman walked by and I turned my head so she couldn't see my tears. I was a bit embarrassed that I was sitting here crying, grieving a past and not a person, when others were there grieving the loss of their loved ones.
But then I realized I was grieving the loss of a life, the life I thought I should have had. I was wiping my tears when I noticed a book on the bench that was part of the tombstone. It was called "Great Expectations."
That's when I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, "Now that you've buried your past, your pain, and the life you thought you should have had, I want you to have great expectations for your future."
I then felt led to go around to the back of the tombstone. On the back was an emblem of Noah's Ark.
Noah' Ark on a tombstone? That's strange, I thought to myself. Why would someone put a Noah's Ark on a tombstone?
If it had been a child's tombstone it might have made sense, but this was an elderly person's tombstone. When I think of Noah I think of God's wrath and the end of the world, so to put this on someone's tombstone didn't seem to make sense; but something told me this was a sign and to pay attention.
I went home and called a friend to tell him about my funeral I had for myself. He thought it was a good idea. I had meant to tell him about the Noah's Ark, but I forgot. Then as we continued talking he mentioned Noah's Ark and God's covenant with him.
What were the chances!
But God didn't stop confirming his word there. Later that day I was listening to a video by Lana Vawser, in which she said this is the season of the Noah's. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDj5yOMGsRU&t=763s Then a friend sent me something which stated that according to geneology records they believe Noah died in 2020 B. C.
So what does all this mean? Well, I'll tell you what I got out of it. Noah spent a lot of years building something that seemed like a total waste of time.
You're building an Ark for a flood? It's never rained before.
Imagine how he got mocked and taunted by people, and I imagine there were moments where he too felt mocked by God.
Why did you tell me to do this God? Where is the rain at? I look like a fool. Look at all the time and years I've wasted building something that will never be used.
But one day the rain came, and once the rain came it didn't stop for 40 days. There are many "Noah's" today who've been building things. They've given much of their time, money and effort into things that have appeared to bare little fruit, and at times they've felt like their efforts were wasted, but that's not true.
The rain is coming and it's going to downpour on the people of God who've been buidling faithfully even when they haven't seen a drop of rain. The rain is the resources, people, money, help and open doors needed to help save drowning people. People who are drowning in addictions, debt, dysfunction, depression and despair.
You'd be surprised how many people feel just like you do - tired, weary and exhausted from the journey, and on the verge of quitting because they feel like they've done everything they know to do, and yet nothing is changing.
Well, I'm here to tell you to keep going.
Last night I was listening to a Podcast by a former NFL player and Superbowl Champion, Setema Gali. I have to admit when I first saw the email in my inbox I almost deleted it. I'm still in the trenches of my struggle and I wasn't in the mood for another five methods for success hoorah speech from somebody who was crushing it in life. The struggle has so wearied me that there are days where it's a fight just to get out bed. The thought of getting up just to fight another battle has me at times wanting to escape from the world.
Then I saw this on his email:
"If you've ever gone through depression, discouragement or doubt for long periods of time then this email is for you."
"You feel alone.....You feel yourself exhausted and mentally drained....No book helps...No quote helps.....No one-liner helps....You sleep a lot....You may be a church goer and it doesn't seem to help....NOTHING HELPS."
"What I have learned as I have gone through this is simply this: THERE IS NO ANSWER. The only answer is to NOT QUIT."
"SOMETIMES THE ANSWER IS TO WAKE UP AND NOT GIVE UP."
He had my attention now. He was inside my head. He did understand my struggle. I clicked the play button and listened to his podcast. His words comforted me to know that I am right on track and that I am not alone in this struggle, and neither are you. And that if we keep putting one foot in front of the other and not quit, we will make it there.
And I believe that "there" is sooner rather than later. Here's why.
The other day I went to get my glasses out of my purse, but they weren't in there. I never take them out of there so clearly they were lost. Hence, another loss. I shook my head as if to say "Of course, just another thing lost."
But then I remembered my funeral and that I had buried those things of the past, including all of my losses. So instead of agreeing with another loss I said out loud, "Things that have been lost are about to find me." To my surprise, later that day I got a call from a woman whose training center I had been at the week before and she told me they had found my glasses there. Score.
This was the first sign that something was changing. I then sat down at my desk to make a phone call to my bank. A few days prior I had to transfer some money from one account to another account. So I left just a small amount in there in order to keep the account open. Well, somehow I hadn't balanced something properly and a check went through that hadn't been accounted for and caused an overdraft fee, and it just so happened to be my tithes.
I could hear satan taunting me. "Other people get checks in the mail and supernatural debt cancellation when they tithe, you get overdraft fees. See what you get for obeying and serving God."
I've heard these tauntings many times over the past 10 years, and more times than I care to admit, I've come into agreement with these tauntings.
I just can't get a break.
Where's my reward for serving you God?
But, I remembered my funeral.
That's in my past and I buried that stuff. I'm in a new season. I have great expectations of my future and now Satan, you have to give me this money back that you stole from me.
I called the bank to see if they would reverse the fee of $34. The representative said she would check for me. She came back on the phone after a short pause and said, "I'm sorry but we cannot waive that for you."
I felt a bit of discouragement, but I kept thinking about my funeral I had, and I knew things had to change. I said it out loud again. "Satan, you have to give me my money back that you stole from me."
I looked at my phone and noticed an email from my bank. It said that I had earned 3,496 points by using my debit card and it wanted to know if I would like to redeem the points for cash back into my account. I clicked "accept."
Guess how much money they deposited into my account?
You guessed it....$34.96. The exact amount of the fee plus some change! I sat at my desk and declared, "Today there is a shift in my life." As soon as I said that I saw Daymond John's (host on Shark Tank) profile pop up on my LinkedIn page. For some reason I clicked on it, and it just so happened that he was advertising his new book called, none other than, "Power Shift." The signs were coming from everywhere.
As I was walking out of my office I noticed a dime on the floor. I picked it up and put it in my wallet. I didn't think much of it until I went out and got on my car and noticed change scattered all over the pasenger seat.
My seats are white leather and I knew I would have noticed a bunch of change laying on the seat had it been there before. As I picked it up I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Change is here."
As if all of these signs weren't enough this past week, God gave me one more through a dream. In my dream I was putting a baby in a basinette, but as soon as I layed the baby down it grew. It was much longer and wouldn't fit in the basinette, but I kept trying to fold its legs back behind its body to make it fit. The baby was all contorted in the basinette.
A man standing beside me said, "The baby doesn't fit in there." I looked at him confused and said, "Yes it does because I just had it in there and there was plenty of room." I knew a baby couldn't grow that fast so I thought I must have it in there wrong, so I picked the baby up to reposition it. As soon as I did that the baby turned into a much older, grown woman and she was standing in front of me.
It still didn't register with me and I said to the woman, "I'll put you in a crib that way you'll have more room." I then thought to myself, "Why am I putting a grown woman in a crib?" Then I woke up.
I don't dream much so I knew this dream meant something. I asked the Holy Spirit what it meant and I heard the word "acceleration". Right after I heard that word I got on the online site Elijah List as I do every morning and I was blown away by the morning's prophetic word.
It was titled, "Overnight Accelerated Healing: Your Destiny Doors Are Opening". In this word Lorilei Cooley went on to say that many who have been on the sidelines awaiting their moment are now about to be promoted overnight. https://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=23209
I knew God was telling me that acceleration was here and He was about to accelerate time, meaning all the years that people had felt like they had lost or wasted He was going to redeem them by accelerating them in life.
He also was saying that the baby is grown. There's no more waiting or delays or growing season. It has matured.
Another takeaway from the dream is that the contorted baby represents old wine skins. We can't take old ideas and perspectives into our future. The pain, past regret and disappointments no longer fit us, and if we try to carry them with us they will cause us to be contorted and bound just like the baby in the dream.
It is a new season my friends and it's time to go to your own funeral. Old thought patterns must die. It's time to bury your past and anything that would hinder you from the great future that God has for you.
It's time to declare that everything that's been lost or stolen must be returned to you with a minimum of a seven-fold return. (Proverbs 6:31) It's time to have a great expectation of your future because change is here and the shift has begun.