Dark Days Filled With Light
Updated: Feb 16
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27 KJV
January in Minnesota is a dark, cold and quiet month. The days are short; nights are long. It is amazing what a few strands of white Christmas light can do to cut the dark of winter and lift the soul. I am in no hurry to take them down. I leave them up until the dark winter begins to fade into the light of spring. Morning by morning, I sit in the glow of the fireplace and twinkling white lights. I love the calm and quiet of the early morning. God meets me here. He whispers His love, peace and joy.
The dark of winter has a way of stirring up what has been lost over the past couple years. My mind travels back and my heart ponders. But, day by day as I spend time with God, He brings healing in the soft glow of the early morning light.
As I stood at the bedside of my mom on her journey home to heaven, she reached out to hold my hand. She could no longer speak. The massive stroke she suffered a few days prior stole that away from her. She was trying to communicate with me. Her voice couldn't, but her eyes most certainly did. I don't know what she was trying to say. I tried to comfort and reassure her with a few meager human words. They had no effect. After a few moments, she pulled her hand away from mine and reached over next to my right side. She reached for someone else. It appeared she was holding a hand. Only, there was no one there. I remember looking to my right to make sure that there wasn't anyone standing there! I looked back at her eyes, and I saw that peace had returned. I tried to take her hand back. but she refused. She laid her head down, pulled her hand back and closed her eyes.
At that moment I realized that someone must be standing at my side and I felt like I had just interrupted the whole thing. I wanted to gently shake my mom and tell her to look up again. This time I would move out of the way. I wanted to see this happen again. I wanted the moment to last longer. I desperately wanted to know who was standing by my side.
Each precious time that I have been at the bedside of someone I love to help walk them home, I have felt a Presence too big for words. Much like I described in an earlier post about the birth of my grandson and how the soft glow of one light filled the room, there was a glow that filled the room as these precious loved ones labored to release their spirit from their "earthly tents." Only this glow was not visible, it was felt. There was no fear, only peace. Peace that passes understanding.
The world looks at death as the opposite of birth. In some ways, it is. In other ways, it is not. The beloved is leaving their "earthly tent" and along with it, those they love. However, their spirits are being birthed into their new life. Our eyes cannot see this happening, or where they are going, so we grieve deeply as they go.
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. 2 Corinth. 5:5-10 NLT
Death is a lie for those in Christ. We do not die. We transform. As I stood with my family next to my dad on his journey home, our hearts were covered in grief, while heaven was filled with the anticipation for his arrival. Heaven came down that cold, dark night in January. Hope and peace filtered right on through the darkness of grief that threatened to engulf us.
In the days of grief that followed his departure, this spilled out of my pen...
Dark Days Filled With Light
The days were dark even though the sun shone bright
and the moon filled the night sky.
There he lay with peace covering his face:
one foot on earth, the other stepping into heaven's gate.
There we gathered, grief filling our hearts and
brokenness covering our faces;
one foot on earth, the other reaching desperately for heaven's gate.
None of us wanted to let him go, all of us wanted to stop his pain.
Each of us carried our grief like a heavy sack on our back.
Yet, each of us became freer as the brokenness went
deeper and deeper into the crevices of our hearts.
After all, brokenness snaps the cords of sin that run deep
in the human heart.
Jealousy wilted, envy fell flat on its face, and unforgiveness
melted in the love that swept over us all.
If only we could live always in that broken state where sin
runs wildly away from hearts that weep.
If only we could have lingered long in that tender place
of peering into heaven's door where sin and pain live no more.
Life moved on after death took him away.
It had to; our time has not yet come.
But, all of those things learned on the dark days must be remembered,
and must remain in our hearts.
And brokenness saves.
In those moments of deep grief and letting go, I could not see things as I do now. Time has healed me enough that I can look back and see things that grief had shrouded in darkness. I imagine all of these holy moments of passing with my soul eyes. I imagine a stream of light flowed straight down from the clouds to each bedside. I imagine the angels that must have come down and filled each room with God's sweet comfort. I imagine that Jesus reached for each hand in those final moments to lead each precious one home. When I feel that familiar wave of grief hit, I let my soul's eyes go past the veil that separates us from our heavenly home. I imagine the joy and peace that lies ahead.
For those that set their hearts on Christ, do not die. Their bodies give birth to their spirit. They are born into the perfect holy life that God designed for them from the very beginning.
Heavenly Father, God of all Comfort,
You are good. Your tender mercies are new every morning. Fill our hearts more and more with the hope of heaven and all that lies just ahead. Heal the broken pieces and parts of us that grief has ripped apart. Fill us a fresh with Your Holy Spirit, the great comforter. Fix our eyes on Your purpose and plan for our lives. Let us not be deceived or enticed away from it. Protect us, shield us and use us for Your Glory! In Jesus Name