Rebecca Duvall

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Deep Sorrow and Joyous Praise

funeral-flowersAs some of you may know, my husband is a Chaplain for First Responders. He works with local Police, Sheriff, Fire, EMS and Dispatchers. He visits these various stations and offers emotional and spiritual support and a helping hand when needed. The call he gets most often is to give a death notification. Which means he has the job of telling someone that their close family member has died, usually because of a tragic unexpected accident.

Very rarely does a week go by that he isn’t called out to give a death notification. As you might imagine, I hear about most calls he goes on, including the death notifications, as well as the follow-ups.

Death is something we all must face at a time unknown. When asked why we must die, the response is usually “because we can’t live forever”. As a believer in Jesus, I think we (Christians), those who believe in God and have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, can and will live forever. Not forever here on this earth, but eternally in heaven and someday the new earth with Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of God.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34

Recently, I heard that a dear friend, who had been fighting her second battle with cancer, had weeks, possibly days, to live. My heart was overwhelmed with sorrow. I thought about her being a light in the community and to anyone she came in contact with. She has a true servants heart with a desire to build the Kingdom of God and share the love of Christ.

I immediately began lifting my sweet friend in prayer, asking God Almighty for a miracle. I believed that He had cured her the first time around, so I asked Him to do it again. A day or two later, I heard things were not looking good, so I added to my prayer. I asked that if He were calling her, His child, home that He would allow her to slip away from us into His loving arms filled with His peace, feeling calm and with no pain.

The next evening, the world lost an amazing woman, a true light.

grieving

For all those who are affected by this devastating loss, I am overwhelmed with sorrow. I pray God will reveal Himself to them in ways that fill them with peace and comfort as they process their grief and adjust to the loss of the relationship they had with her.

For my sister in Christ, I am filled with joyous praise. Why?

  • She has reached her eternal home in heaven with Jesus.
  • I will get to see her again, when God calls me, to my eternal home.
  • Her sorrow, tears and pain have come to an end.
  • God blessed me, and many others, by knowing her

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

My heart breaks for everyone across the world who does not know God, chooses to hold Him at arms length or who simply reject Him. I cannot imagine living eternally without experiencing God’s love, grace and mercy, which we all receive at some level as we walk through this life here on earth.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of eternal life with You, through the life Your Son Jesus gave for us. I pray you would soften the heart of those who do not know you so they would see You through the love, compassion and help they receive from others, Amen.

Filled With Sorrow

funeral flowersThis past week was difficult, to say the least. I attended two funerals and had to make the excruciating decision to put down our oldest cat. Actually, now that I stop and think about it, this entire year has been difficult, in regards to dealing with (or not dealing with) death.

It seems like, every time I turn around, someone close to me knows of someone who has passed. And now recently, people I know have passed. It never matters how they passed, whether it was expected or not, it’s always heartbreakingly painful. There are never any words to say to ease the pain of the ones closest to the one who passed.

Not to long ago, a dear sweet friend from church went into the ICU. It didn’t look good. I desperately wanted to go visit and I knew I should. Many times I told my husband I was going the next time he went. Then as he was getting ready to head that way, I told him I couldn’t. I would say, “maybe next time”. Oh, how I wished I were as strong as my husband. I wish God had gifted me with the ability to comfort others in times of deep sorrow. Instead, I can cry uncontrollably at any random sad thought. I can probably go through a box of tissue faster than anyone!

If I went to the hospital, I wanted to be helpful and supportive of the family. I knew I couldn’t be helpful to anyone if I was a blubbering mess. You see, every time I would think of my friend in the hospital and what she was going through, I would start crying hysterically. I believed my friend would soon be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but I couldn’t handle seeing what she was going through until that time came.

Instead of going and being there with the family, I chose to stay home and lift up my sorrows in prayer and cry out to God. I continually asked God to enable the doctors and nurses to heal her, and if that wasn’t His will for her, then I asked Him to take her home, to Him, sooner rather than later, so she wouldn’t suffer.Shelby

I did the same when it came time to take our cat to the vet to have her put down. I knew I would be an absolute basket case, so I told my husband I couldn’t go. Thankfully, his sister went with him so he wasn’t alone. While they were gone, I again lifted my sorrow up to God. I prayed that they be comforted as they sat with Shelby (our cat) as she took her last breath. I prayed for Shelby to go peacefully, without complications.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I can’t control myself and hold back the tears. I get upset that I can’t be more helpful to others in their time of loss. As I was whining to God about not being as strong as my husband in times of sorrow, He reminded me He made us each differently. We each have a different gift and something different to do with those gifts. We cannot all have the same gifts. I must only be concerned with the gifts God has given me and that I am using them in a way that is glorifying to Him.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:3-8

I knew this scripture. I’ve heard it in Sunday morning sermons and studied it in BSF.  So why was I having such a hard time?  I wasn’t acting as if I believed it were true.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for gifting us with different abilities so we may be helpful to others in different and unique ways. I pray for your guidance as we seek you and your will for using these gifts, Amen

In Memory of…

Burning CandleIt’s been 11 years since my mom passed of Breast Cancer.  It seems like one day she was feisty and full of life and the next she was horrifically ill, fighting for her life.  Her battle was only 9 months long.  At the time it felt like forever. Looking back, it was the blink of an eye.  I’m thankful she didn’t have to go through it any longer than she did.

I was very close to my mom.  We didn’t always get along or see eye to eye, but we were close.  I told her everything.  Yes, everything.  Well, except for maybe a year or two while I was in High School I might have left out a few minor details about a couple of things. 😉 Even when I did things I knew she wouldn’t like.  Whether I was happy, sad, angry or excited I shared it with her.  She always knew how I should handle things.  Unfortunately, I rarely took her advice.

The first few years after my mom passed I would often think to call her to tell her something about my day.  Then realize she was gone.  Talking to my mom, almost every day, to no talking at all was hard.  I suddenly had no one to tell me what to do.  Yes, I know I said I rarely listened, but it helped me know where to stand with things.  If she said I should get my hair cut and let my natural curl show I would keep it long and straighten it.  If she told me the fastest way to get somewhere was by the freeway I would use the city streets.  Of course that sounds corny, but that’s how I did things when it came to my mom.  I drove her nuts!

I remember dancing around to music with my mom when I was little, maybe 4 or 5 years old.  Back then it was Jim Reeves ‘Yonder Comes a Sucker’ or ‘Mexican Joe’.  My mom enjoyed music.  When I got older and moved out I continued to listen to some of the same music she did, butdance Twist NEVER would have admitted it.  Music from Abba, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.  To this day I still enjoy listening to it.  It brings back such wonderful memories, especially Jim Reeves.  I have all of these songs on my ipod and usually have it on shuffle so I can be pleasantly surprised when it comes on.  It instantly brings me back to my mom and me dancing around in the living room.  The Twist was her favorite dance, which we did quite often.

I wasn’t a Christian when my mom passed.  So we didn’t talk about eternal life in heaven or Jesus before she passed.  I do know she meet with a Pastor of a local church a few times during the last few months of her life.  Based on what the Pastor said after she passed, I do believe she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.  I look forward to one day being reunited with her to catch up on things.

It’s hard to lose a family member or close friend.  It’s easy to get upset with God for taking them from us.  What I do when I miss my mom, so much it hurts, is think back on the times we did have together.  It always puts a smile on my face and feels as if she is still there.  I like to guess what she would say to me when I do something odd or stupid, which is quite often.  That always makes me laugh.  What do you do to help when you miss someone you’ve lost?

I find this passage of scripture comforting.  I hope you do as well.

‘Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

heaven

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of life. I pray we love each other the way you love us and we appreciate each and every moment we have with one another, Amen.

Dealing with Death as a Public Servant

My husband, Robert Duvall, has been a public servant for many years.  He was first a Paramedic in Contra Costa County, CA.  He then became a Deputy Sheriff for Contra Costa County in 2000.  In 2009 he was injured on the job and medically retired in 2011.  For a few years, because of his health, he was forced to stay home and take care of himself.  His days were filled with many doctor visits, ER visits and many hospital stays.  In 2012 he had 2 massive surgeries.  In June he had a stint put in his heart along with an oblation done.   In October he received a Kidney Transplant.  Thanks to the God Almighty he’s now doing well.  Not quite 100%, but pretty close!

During Robert’s health trials he felt God tugging at his heart to become a Chaplain.  So with the support of our Pastor at church he signed up for Chaplain training as soon as he recovered from his Kidney Transplant.  He’s completed his class and put in all the hours and is set to graduate in September.  I am so proud of Robert and all the time and energy he has put into this.  It’s so exciting to see God working through him.

The Servant page is for Robert to share his stories.  He’s experienced many things over the last 25 years.  So please check back often to read them.

Please click here or click the Servant tab at the top to read Robert’s first post.

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