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Graceful Perseverance: "Would you stay?"

Posted September 3rd, 2014 @ 05:09pm

Hello everyone! Hope each of you enjoyed this past Labor Day holiday weekend that officially marks an end and a beginning: summer’s end and the beginning of another school year!

This week I feel compelled to share with you an experience I had last week while driving home from work in rush hour. As I was listening to my favorite Christian rock radio station (KTIS 98.5) here in Minneapolis, my radio volume was cranked and I was singing joyfully to all of my favorite songs. My window was rolled down and my arm was sticking out, soaking up the western 5 p.m. sun. I was people watching. My rush hour neighbors pass me by at snail speeds. Some wave, some gave me a second glance and smiled. Some refused to look at all. Even in the midst of rush hour, which is not very pleasant, I can find the light.

I had this vision, which inspired an important question between God and myself. I had an out-of-body experience as I saw my physical body lying on a stretcher in an operating room of a hospital. My intuition told me I had been in a very serious, life-threatening car accident just moments ago. I felt no pain. Everything around me was white and sterile. There were two sanitized stainless steel trays containing a variety of surgeon’s tools on both sides of my bed. Around me were several doctors in white coats and masked nurses in blue scrubs with stethoscopes hanging from their necks. From above the bright lights beaming down on me, I was witnessing the hustle and bustle of the doctors and nurses doing their jobs.

As I was watching myself from above, a small still voice asked me: “Would you stay?” Christ in sky, easter

Yes, that was the question. “Would you stay?”

Given the circumstances, as well as my faith in God, I knew understood the purpose of the question. Was this a test? Was there a right or wrong answer? What if I didn’t answer the question correctly? Were heaven’s gates going to open to allow me to return home or would I choose to remain an earthly being with still more work to do here?  That moment I felt the river flooding and opening up my heart to the challenge. What did I love more? Was it worldly things, or was I ready to return to an everlasting life with my Heavenly Father?

Was I standing at the end of my life? Was God waiting on the other side? Was Bryce, my son, waiting and watching also? Was I already there? Are all of us already there in spirit? Was God’s picture-perfect plan for Debra nearing an end? Was my work here done? Was this the day I would stand before Him and look back on the life I’ve lived? Even though I was lost in the mystery of this experience, I still wanted to stay in the flesh to see how all the pieces of my life were perfectly fitting together like a puzzle. New Life text on cloudsA puzzle of my life would show all that I had battled and conquered and then learned how to clean up the ashes to rebuild my life again. In this moment I was standing before Him and yet He was showing me my future, which for God is a memory in His eyes.

Everything glorious, even when darkness falls upon us. Every experience results in glorious and purposeful plans for all involved. So the question still remained in front of me as I watched the medical professionals frantically doing everything in their medical power to keep me here. “Would you stay?” Should I stay?

My answer was – “I will stay even when the world folds around me. I will stay and continue to lift up Your name, as the darkness falls upon me. I will wait and hold fast to Your truth. My eyes are on You always. Your love is unfailing and I promise to live as if I’m living on borrowed time. You loved me through my rebel ways. You chose to carry all of my shame, and You have washed away my sinful stains. You breathe life into me so that I may continue this endless life only for Your glory.

I will dance for Jesus and beam my light even in the darkest places of this life! hands holding sunYour love shines even when everything else fades. I will fly to Jesus when my light burns out. But for now I will go where He needs me to go, according to His picture-perfect plan for my life. God of wonder and God of grace, let my soul stand always to praise You. My eyes will always be fixed on Your perfect way, and I will never look back on my life, the mistakes I’ve made, the bad choices I’ve made, my insurgent ways because you make every day a new day for all of us.

Until next week, a daily prayer of mine when my feet hit the floor each morning:Debra

“May God Bless me and keep me. May His face shine upon me and give me grace. May I go about my day and everything I do, I do in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior!” Amen

Debra M. Pauli

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