LAST WEEK, after attending my sister Marilyn’s funeral in New Jersey, I made a quick run to see the house in Branchville in which both of us had been born and brought up. The house had not been grand, but it was home.
I’d been warned what to expect but was still shocked. The porch with its rocking chairs and railings and stone pillars, on which we had played so long ago—gone. Nothing but rubble, the house totally gutted. But on the back was the foundation for a new addition. (See my bedroom windows—upper left and upper right.)
Back to sister Marilyn and her love of music. Among the possibilities for sudden death, choking is not one of the preferred. It is sudden, though—over in minutes. And for a believer, it morphs into incredible peace and joy in the loving presence of Jesus, our Savior. The Apostle Paul got a tiny glimpse when he was caught up into paradise but could find no words to describe it. Others who experience near-death events have had similar glimpses, and NONE want to return to this life. What’s NOT to like in heaven?
Marilyn was not in good shape, having dealt with Parkinson’s for 20 years. An empty, gutted shell, WAITING to be rebuilt.
Her death, though, marked the beginning of Real Life for her, and she heard music beyond anything she’d ever experienced in this life–and that’s saying a lot! Did Jesus plunk her in front of a keyboard and ask her to play for Him? Worship music swirls around the throne of our Lord.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive honor and glory and power and blessing.
Jesus, the glorious, sacrificial Lamb, gave His life to pay for our wrongdoings and rose from the dead to seal that life-giving exchange.
Marilyn is home now. We still have tears, but like the future of the house in which both of us were born, she has been rebuilt—through love—into the beautiful person God created her to be.
Houses and bodies are subject to decay, but our Lord Jesus Christ has His arms open to welcome those who love Him into heaven’s magnificent completeness.
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So saddened to learn you have lost your sister, but like you so beautifully said she’s out of a tortured body to one fashioned by Jesus. Shirley
I love seeing how you are continually making joy out of tragedy. And it’s not “pie in the sky”. It’s real, THANK YOU JESUS. We all have such a hard hard time giving up what we know, even though as we hang on to it, it gets shabbier and crumblier, doesn’t it?
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. …” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21
Thank you Ellie for sharing the pain and the glory with us.
So sorry for your loss. Praying for God to provide comfort and peace to you and your family.
Very true Ellie. Like our houses that are not permanent in this world, we too are not permanent. We are temporary. When our dear ones, departure time comes, we moan,we grief. Even us, we await our departure. We dearly anticipate our eternal abode. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. May the Lord continue to Comfort you Ellie and your entire family.
Thanks Ellie for letting your heart speak. A few years ago I too visited my childhood home and saw how it had been “transformed.” Also have been rereading what I wrote on Revelation and marvel at the picture of the Lamb and the multitude of voices praising God (Margaret among them). Herb
Home is not where we were born but with the Lord Jesus for which I am most thankful. Blessings as you grieve but thankful for our God – where would we be without friends and especially without Jesus.
Ellie, bless you for your continued and regular words of wisdom and blessing to us all.
Aunt Ellie – Thank you for your comforting words during our time of grief. Hugs and Love!
Ellie, this is your best line: “she has been rebuilt—through love—into the beautiful person God created her to be.”
This is what we long for, even when we only feel an “unappeasable want”. Thanks for turning my thinking in the direction it should go. You can do this, of course, because in this time of sadness, your thinking is going in the right direction–straight to Christ, and our promised Joy.
Ellie, I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. You have once again taken a difficult situation and seen it through the lens of our Living Hope…your words are so needed and welcome. I thank God for you.
We were sorry to hear of the death of your sister, but rejoicing with you that she is now in the Lord’s presence. Looking forward to meeting her someday. How are you doing?
Love in Christ,
Doug & Judy
Ellie, thank you for telling us about Marilyn and the moving biblical illustration you gave of her house made new. I look forward to meeting her in heaven.
I am so sorry for your loss. I too have lost a sister, but I will see her in heaven. Also my Mom and all my pets that I have loved over the years. You are in my prayers.
Oh Ellie , I am so Very sorry for your loss. My Heartfelt Condolences to you and your family. She is not hurting anymore, she is whole again and in the very Best hands, she is with Our Heavenly Father. Thank you for sharing the house where you were born and where you and your sister used to play. I love you my dear friend. <3 God Bless you.
Ellie thank you for sharing your personal life with us. Loosing a member of the family is painful but glorious for the one who can go home to be with the Lord. May God give you His peace, Love you, Jackie
“We believe in the resurrection of the dead, and life in the world to come.” May your sister rejoice in the Presence of the Almighty, and pray for us who are still on the road, that we may join her in that Presence and in the world to come . . .
I’m sorry for your loss and thank you for being so ready to freely and creatively share the reason(s)-MANY-for the Hope that’s within you. We love your heart!!
So very sorry for your loss (but heaven’s gain!) Enjoy your newsletters. Hugs and prayers.
So sorry to hear of your loss! We are praying for you.
Thank you Ellie for your great insights and love and sharing this story. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister but we know she is safe and triumphant in God’s arms. Your faith strengthens me and encourages me in my darker times. Your joy is contagious and it brings joy to all of us around you. Thank you for being Ellie and thanks be to God for bringing you into our lives. Love you my friend.