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Cleaning out my closet

I dreaded doing it, but I knew I needed to. Clothes were starting to pile up everywhere, and I couldn’t find what I needed when I wanted to wear it. Can you relate?

 

So I opened the closet door and started pulling things out one by one.

  • Pants.
  • Shirts.
  • Jeans.
  • Shorts.
  • Dresses.

 

 

Thoughts of the past flooded my mind as I reached in for each item.

 

Ooh, I remember when I wore that one.

 

or

 

Oh, that one looked really good on me.

 

 

and

 

Ugh, I wish I could get into that one again.

 

 

Never mind that I hadn’t worn any of these things in–well, I can’t remember the last time I wore them. They were out of style. And they had that musty closet smell too.

 

So why did I hold on to them for so long? Why did I leave them in the closet without even giving them a second thought? Why did I let them pile up?

 

It’s hard letting go of the past, isn’t it? No matter how great today is, I tend to say–or think, “I wish I could do XYZ–or be XYZ–again.”

 

Truth is: Sometimes we hold on to things that are meant to stay in the past. They were in our lives only for a season–a beginning, middle, and end.

 

There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season. There is a time to be born and a time to die. There is a time to plant and a time to pull up plants. There is a time to kill and a time to heal. There is a time to destroy and a time to build. There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance. There is a time to throw away stones and a time to gather them. There is a time to hug and a time not to hug. There is a time to look for something and a time to stop looking for it. There is a time to keep things and a time to throw things away. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-6)

 

Time is up for these old clothes. Time can also be up for a lot of other things in our lives:

 

  • Relationships.
  • Careers.
  • Ministries.
  • Hurts.

 

I’m cleaning out my closet. Are you?

 

God can help you throw away your old clothes

 
Come alongside… What have you been holding on to? Why? What steps can you take to let it go?

 

 

Playing Tug-of-War with Angels

“Right now, we’re just playing tug-of-war with angels.”

 

The doctor’s voice ushered in reality for us. Our NeeNee–the matriarch in the family–was dying. Doctors resuscitated her numerous times that morning–the day before  Thanksgiving.

 

It was now our decision: To sign or not to sign the DNR form.

 

My husband, his step-mom Tracy, and I. No one else in the family had made it to the hospital yet.

 

The three of us looked at each other, tears streaming down our faces.

 

“We hate to do this to you,” said the doctor, “but we need to know now.”

 

We knew NeeNee wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. She was ready to go home.

 

“Do not resuscitate.”

 

I walked behind the doctor to the room where NeeNee lay, Tracy beside me. My husband left to pick up family  members.

 

Our NeeNee lay motionless in the bed. I held her left hand while Tracy held her right hand. We cried alongside her, prayed over her, but most of all, we loved on her. She was non-responsive, even before the doctors disconnected the machinery. But we knew she could hear us.

 

Periodically, we watched her vitals, slowing with each passing moment.

 

Still, she held on.

 

A chaplain came and prayed with us.

 

We waited for the others to arrive. Minutes seemed like hours, but Tracy and I treasured every moment with our NeeNee. She took deep breaths every once in awhile, as we reassured her, “It’s okay. Go on home.”

 

I caressed her hair and rubbed my index finger on her cheek. Every once in awhile, I leaned in to kiss her and tell her I loved her. Her vitals would spike and then slowly decline again.

 

“It’s okay, NeeNee. Go on home.”

 

I held her hand and remembered the day I met her–a beautiful smile that welcomed me into her family. She knew no strangers and loved all who came around her. She was the family historian–a storyteller who could take a 5-minute tale and turn it into a 30-minute epic. She remembered everyone’s birthday and anniversary and freely gave out of the little she herself possessed. Her heart was toward her family.

 

Now her heart was failing her. She was tired and ready–ready to leave this world of physical pain and enter into paradise with her Savior. Her sister, mother, and father would be waiting for her there too.

 

And yet, the angels tugged at her. We tugged as well.

 

Pulse.

15-0.

15-0.

15-0.

 

Outside the room, I heard a noise. Turned around to see some of our family members. “They’re here,” I said.

 

15.

0.

0.

0.

0.

 

I bowed my head and cried. She waited. They arrived. She let go of the rope. Quietly, peacefully, she entered eternity. No more pain, no more exhaustion. God, in His mercy, extended her the ultimate gift–not only the freedom from pain and exhaustion, but also the gift of Himself.

 

But why grant me such a gift? Why would God grant me the gift of ushering a beautiful soul into His presence? To witness the passing of a Godly woman–a daughter, a sister, a wife, an aunt and friend to many? Why would He have me share this life-changing occasion with Tracy? Why?

 

Love.

 

The love that took NeeNee home is the same love that shone down on me that day. It’s the same generous love God shines down on me every moment, every day (Psalm 84:11). God’s perfect love transcends suffering and pain–NeeNee’s and mine.

 

In death and in life, we play tug-of-war with angels. In death and in life, I want to let go of the rope.

 

We love you, NeeNee, and we’ll see you soon.

 

NeeNee

 

Come alongside… In what ways are you playing tug-of-war with God? How can you let go of the rope?

 

A Suitcase of Ebenezers


My dear friend and fellow writer, Jamie Miles, recently wrote a blog post titled, “Stairway to the Me I Forgot.” In her blog post, Jamie talks about finding items from her childhood in her family’s attic.

 

Jamie’s final question: “Have you cleaned out an attic lately? What did you find? Or re-find about yourself?”

 

This got me thinking…

 

Prior to my wedding earlier this year, my mom gave me a suitcase filled with items from my childhood. I haven’t opened it–yet. I would like to say that I forgot about it–and in some respects I did with all the wedding planning, but now that we’re settling into our home, I’ve walked by the suitcase several times and said, “Maybe later.”

 

  • Later…
  • Not now…
  • Not a definite time in the future…
  • But later.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to go back. We fear taking that stairway into those dark areas of our lives. Or we think about how tattered our lives are–like that old suitcase– and we just don’t want to go there–to the all-too-familiar, the things we prefer to escape:

 

  • Depression.
  • Addictions.
  • Abuse.
  • Hurts.
  • Illness.
  • Loss.

 

Difficult and sometimes downright painful. But in the corners of the attic and tucked into pockets of the suitcase are our Ebenezers–visual reminders that God was with us through the pain and continues to help us to this day (1 Samuel 7:12).

 

  • Ebenezers.
  • Reminders.
  • Good times.
  • Happy times.
  • Times of laughter and childlike silliness.
  • Times of peace and hope.

 

In the attic and in the suitcase, we might uncover pain. But we also uncover visual reminders of God’s love, His protection, and His sovereignty. Each has made us what we are today.

 

Even more, we now hold in our hands God’s reminder: He has helped us to this day.

 

I think I’ll pull out that suitcase now.

 

Come alongside…Do you resist going back? What Ebenezers can you identify through life’s pains?

 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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