End of Life*

Well you’ve heard the expression ‘end of …’ meaning ‘that’s it !” meaning : ill hear no more of it or meaning, I don’t intend to say another word on it… Well today I want to use the expression end of but in terms of end of life.

End of life , is a relatively new phrase introduced as a dignified terminology for those or their loved ones dealing with a diagnosis of incurable terminal cancer and having not many days to go. We all know that death for all of us is inevitable. Indeed, I lost my eldest daughter suddenly with no warning. Then, there was no end of life discussion , she was here one hour and gone the next without, warning and in her prime. The Bible does say it is appointed unto man once to die, but many of us don’t know when or how. To know your last days on earth is imminent must be something else, especially if you don’t know where you will spend eternity for the soul never dies.

My second eldest brother died last year to cancer. That’s was the first time I became aware of end of life pathway and all that goes with that. Like a number of men , my brother didn’t seek help when he was feeling unwell, preferring to brave out whatever he was struggling with. He was a bit of a free spirit, our Charlie, he never stayed in one place long enough for one to know what he was doing or up to … Always smiling , never having a bad word to say about anyone. A real peace maker. He looked okay on the outside. By the time he did stand still long enough to be seen by a consultant, the cancer had spread and advancing, with a prognosis of weeks not years.

We did all we could to make his last few days as comfortable as one can. We used what was at our disposal and we challenged some of the statutory norms and arrangements. We were able to bring him home closer to us for end of life care.

Thanks be to God he humbled himself just in time to acknowledge the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior and the only Shepherd that can bring comfort at the end of days. Charlie had always known about Jesus but had not received him. Instead , he had put Haile Selassie at the fore front, as his ‘god’ if you like. For most of his adult years, he lived as a Rastafarian . Thanks be to God he had sufficient faculty at the end (the cancer had spread to parts of his brain) to understand and accept the Lord Jesus Christ and I witness of that blessed grace received just in time.

It is appointed unto man once to die but after death the judgment. Hebrews 9:27

My brother was laid to rest just under a year now (Sep 3), but i am brought back with a jolt hearing the news that someone else i know very well is also being prepared for ‘end of life’ the doctors feeling they can do more more. She is relatively young and my heart is again pained. I have attempted to go see her, but was promptly told and incredulously ‘she’s end of life ‘ them meaning : she wont want anyone seeing her, or what is the point? End of…

It is so sad and I am not able to push in this scenario. My other close friend passed this way, but some years now, but I was able to visit her and hug her and pray with her. I don’t pretend to be an expert on how to act or respond in these situations, but what I know is my heart is extremely touched.

As I lay on my bed this week in the year of our Lord 2019, I began to ponder what it must feel like to be given such a report ie days to live. How does a human being deal with this? How? How does one reconcile news that there will be a time very soon … when your eyes will close and you will leave this earth forever?

The Holy Ghost brought back the Apostle Paul to me as an example and encouragement of the difference between the response to end of life as a child of God, to those who don’t know Him and his promises. At the end of his days and incarceration, the Apostle Paul knew he didn’t have long; his life was to be taken, nay as he puts it ‘ready to be offered’ ie. Hexess the one laying it down. But look at his testimony – look at what he said :

‘ …..the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness’

2 Timothy 4:7

What confidence. What faith. What blessed hope and calling.

When my time comes, this is how I want to go. With my shield in my hand (my faith) and my head held high, (my crown) looking up to Jesus the author and finisher of my faith. Not for me the end of life in how we understand that pathway and terminology , but job well done , heading home, I have somewhere to be…

For the Christian, the end of life here, is the beginning of life there (in glory) with Him our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible says ‘ to be absent in the body, is to present with the Lord’ 2 Corinthians 5:8.

So brethren, let us live our lives well in preparation of that blessed hope. Knowing that the day is fast approaching and that he has gone to prepare a place for us because he loves us . A place where (as Revelation 21:4 says) there is no more sickness, no more heartache, no more tears, no more suffering, no more dying. We shall reign with Him. That’s what he has promised. Let us also (whenever we have opportunity) share the good news with that somebody, before it is too late.

Ever scribing

Yours in His Name

Linda J❤️

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Day in the life of Linda J

PPK writes PPK writes

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A HOSPITAL CHAPLIN – an extract from my journal

Her name came from a fairytale, but hers did not look like a happy ending. There was no prince charming on hand to whisk her off. Her toes and feet (now gnarled and swollen) would not fit any glass slipper.  It had been her birthday last week. I had learned this from the person who had been visiting her, when I had stopped to introduce myself. She had been here a while and likely to be detained a bit longer. The visitor had said she was a neighbor and that her adult children didn’t visit. I didn’t ask why, as it might come across as judgmental, or add to her pains.
I know (I thought) , I will get her a belated birthday card and send via the ward through the post. In doing so, I would serve two purposes , try to establish a relationship and to bring some normality back to her life.   I suspect that receiving your own personal post to be something refreshing when you are incarcerated in hospital for a while. I chose one from the unused stock from my mantelpiece at home– one which was happy upbeat – or at least I thought so.

I arrived at a subsequent visit a week later. The birthday card had not reached her. I asked the attendant nurse if he had seen it. He told me he didn’t know, as he was ‘only Bank’ meaning he was not a regular member of staff. He finished what he was doing.  I thought he doesn’t care. He came back 15 minutes later with the unopened card in his hand. It appears that it had been sitting in the office for a while. No one had thought to pass it onto her.

I sat and watched her try to open the well-sealed envelope with her arthritic fingers. I waited eagerly for her smile. No smile came. She made several unsuccessful attempts to put the card in her old knitted, cardigan pocket. She squashed it and the pink envelope into her pocket.   Rising to stand , she looked at me and said ‘thank you , anyway….’ . She walked off.  It was the ‘anyway’ that told me (cross culturally), that she might not be happy – either the card came too late, didn’t meet her full expectations, or the effort it had taken to retrieve it (and to put it away), had exasperated her, reinforcing her declining abilities.  Had I been the conduit of a painful reminder of the latter?

I sat waiting, hoping she would return and that she might talk or share. She did, but chose another seat on the other side of the ward.  One , where I believe she purposed that there would be no space for me!

I waited a respectful few minutes (so that she wouldn’t interpret my own departure as a sign of my upset). I said goodbye to her and the other patients sitting nearby. She waved me off with a back -handed wave, eyes averted.  I winced inside, the others, oblivious to the snub which had just transpired.

REFLECTIONS

It is said that ‘if in caring relationships the offering of ourselves through a visit or touch or verbal response is mis-timed or unwanted , we may be perturbed by any upset carried to the other and the sense of rejection we may inwardly feel. (Kelly (2012): 13). I felt it. I am beginning to understand the real face of depression, flat, emotionless and disaffected. I am realizing how much of ourselves we bare in these encounters. Reaching out to another, involves taking risks. Who would have thought it eh? Risk management in chaplaincy visiting?    ‘Attentive waiting with another, is a truly draining and intensive activity’ (op cit p30) that is,  simultaneously being quietly present and unobtrusive, yet intimately active,  constantly processing what is heard seen and felt (emphasis added).

Would I put myself through this and make myself vulnerable again?  Needs must. It goes with the call and territory.  Our kind gestures as professional ’spiritual visitors’ , may never be reciprocated, but reach out we must. These people are  very poorly people, the rejection on their part to us, not necessarily done by design or intent.
Linda J Clifford-Hayes
May 2014

Living it out through death

Three times the same word has been brought up this week. First in the message Pastor preached on Sunday. In a powerful illustration Pastor said whether being applauded or denigrated : dead men don’t /cant react.

We were reviewing the word in our cell group last night – chewing it over, chewing it over . Many of us sharing our own personal experience of being under attack and having to put /keep the ‘old man’ down….!

I shared how Pastor’s message really opened my eyes to how we ought to ‘consider ourselves as dead’. I know the scripture well, but it had been the first time that I had a new revelation and caught something tangible of how to practically work it out, as a believer. I reasoned and reckon that when Christ died , I died. When i was baptised (30 years ago..), the old Linda got buried. It is a new person living in me and through me and I have the mind of Christ.

I am now reclining on my bed at the start of the weekend and I say to myself , I will finish my book ‘A call to courage’ by Michal Goll which i had started in the week. The first random page I turn to says :

‘Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord Romans 6:11. The author is writing about Bertha Smith who had been on the front lines in 70 years plus of successful revival and healing ministry. Part of her mantra was ‘you cant consecrate the old self, you have to assign it to death’. Smith encountered many personal , societal, institutional, cultural , spiritual and denominational battles as a missionary to China and overcame . This included her own personal , physical healing through the level of faith she had.

I would say (as Apostle Paul would and wrote) the old self has already been assigned to death. When he died, we died , when he rose, we rose and are seated with him in heavenly places. There is no more you or I but Christ. But we cant live unless we have died , that is, completely confessed and surrendered everything (including wanting to retaliate following offence), to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

May we stay dead to sin so that we might truly live.

Prayer

My prayer for you and for myself is that we not only catch but hold onto the power of life through death. That we begin to live out the life through the acknowledgement of the exchange that has already taken place on the cross. May we realise that the old man (the old you and the old me) is buried , dead, cant react, cant hear, cant feel, and that we are a new creation in Jesus Christ. He too was tempted on all points and succeeded in his earthly life and without sin.

We declare through prayer that :

Our thoughts are the thoughts of Christ. We think like him and behave like him.

Old things are past away and behold we are brand new.

It is a brand new me walking and breathing singing songs of Zion.

It is a brand new me/us responding in ways that only Christ would.

Praying that the Christ in us, continues to be the hope of glory.

Praying that we continue to grow in grace and that this wonderful grace (the essence of Him) abound more and more .

Asking Him to fill up our new wine skins (our body, soul and spirit) with newness and richness of life.

As we abide in him and He in us, may the fullness of the Godhead been seen in us, bodily….

My brothers and my sisters :

May the old man (and all he ever stood for) never surface.

No more face on or face offs or one upmanships.

No more cruel jibes, cunning or manipulation.

No more secret sin, gossip or malice.

In times of need, may each consider each other before ourselves

Let us put each other first.

May we shine like the Son of God with grace on our lips and healings in our wings.

Because He bids me write and pray

Prayer Evangelist Linda J

Copyright May 2018

In..formation

It’s been a long old week. This word came to me in the middle of the week as I was walking to work. I have been walking for health and fitness reasons and also to listen and to hear, what Father may be saying. As I approached the gates of my offices, my attention was drawn to a group of seagulls/birds/geese positioned above me in the sky. They were holding height, in a definite V shape and in a organized fashion. I had seen this before, but this time the Holy Spirt gave me the word ‘in formation’ . He said “write it down”, I have something to convey. I made mental note and promised to come back to it – to dig deeper later and to see what Father is saying.

It is Saturday morning and the word hasn’t left me. My spirit takes me to the memory of the scripture

‘ where the carcass is there the eagles will be gathered together’ (Matthew 24:28). The birds I had seen on Wednesday, were in formation- as they know it is the season, or timing of something coming, they knew they needed to be ready, they are preparing to travel, they are going somewhere.

My research into the reason why they do this, informs me that they are preparing to migrate to warmer climes. Winter is coming and they sense the snap and the peril of same in the air on their welfare and their livelihood. They gather together in this V shape to begin their journey. They fly in this shape to conserve energy and to make the most of the wind. It is the same formation used in military flight missions to improve fuel efficiency. One bird takes the lead and then the lead task is rotated, to prevent flight fatigue. As each bird flies, vortex is created which can benefit the other birds – flying in the wings if you like (and if they are in position). They get a free lift by the ‘up wash‘ created by the wind of the other birds. The birds have to flap together, tracing the same path, that the leader bird has left.

In a study by Steven Portugal (and others) on how the bald ibis (an endangered species) do this formation, they found that not only do the birds benefit from the up wash created by the other birds , they can also take evasive action when affected by any down wash created by the leader bird. The researchers found that the impetus to fly in this fashion, isn’t something the birds learn from the adults, (for it was this group’s virgin flight) but they seem to picked up the information quickly from each other ie the best way to fly , to stay up and to to remain in sync. The researchers offered no further explanation to this quick learning or instinct on the part of the birds, than the incredulity of it . But the Lord whispers to me this morning as I write , ‘the birds learn instinctively and as they remain and stay in the flow’.

The Lord speaks so beautifully.

He is saying so much from this and from the picture He gave me in the Wednesday sky. He is saying Information , ‘wisdom’ is the principle thing and in all our getting get understanding. He is saying wisdom, knowledge and understanding, will keep us in tune with him , take us to our destination and in safety. We have to not only be in the know but in the flow….He is helping me to see and to say , there is a way that may seem right to an individual, but outside of Christ (our leader), it will be destruction; without the guidance of his Holy Spirit ie directing us when to stand, sit or walk, what to chose, what to do and when, we will get caught up in the down wash and fall to the ground.

He says : No man is an island, or none is better than the other, we are all needed to keep the ship afloat and to steer it to its final destination. There is a part for each to play – sometimes at the front, sometimes on the wing, sometimes at the back. Know your place and part. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel or do it in our own strength, but we must work together for good. He says, tread where he has trod. The path has already been marked out for us and by the direction and leading of the Word and His blessed Holy Spirit.

Long ago , he told me to say: He on his way. Those who know Him best , knows this and (like the migratory birds) know the time and the season we are in. The scripture says , as the lighting comes out of the east and shines to the west, so shall the coming of man be, it will be ‘a suddenly’.

Dark days and a cold snap is coming. Who will be able to stand? We must be ready to go and to flow.

Let us not waste time, precious energy, or resources trying to do it ourselves, or in our own strength. Let us be patient with the passion and the purpose He has given each one of us and for the good of the whole.

Stay in shape, in sync and for this next difficult season. Get in position, in place. Get ready!!

Unity is strength. It is there the Lord commands the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalms 133:1-3)

By Evangelist Linda J

August 2019

Prayer

Father we thank you . For there is nothing new under the sun. You have given us information to guide us from storms and perils and to reach our destination safely. You have shown us that what is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.

Father we bless you – you are our present help in a time of need. You are the good Shepherd that looks after the sheep. The cattle on a thousand hills are yours, the gulls, the ibis and the sparrows yours too. You give us wisdom and understanding in the day and in the night seasons. You light our lamp. You whisper sweet peace to us and lead us with your right hand of righteousness.

Father, help us to understand the times and the seasons and to number our days preparing our hearts unto wisdom. We don’t know when the axe will fall in any of our lives, but we know if it falls (and before you return) there it will lie until the day of judgment.

Help us to get ready for that great and terrible day and for the day when you shall put in an appearance. Help us to use our resources wisely, including those you have called out and placed amongst us for our advancement and edification.

May we rise together and soar as one new man, in You.

You at our helm, captain of the army host -our ship. Help us to stand tall and to smile at the storms.

Thank you for this beautiful word and for the prayer you have laid on my heart.

Your daughter Linda J