On Planning My Own Memorial Service

Surprisingly, when my pastor, Hilario, his wife, Lois, and my second daughter, Katie, sat with me today to map out a memorial service, after my departure, I felt a weight had been lifted. Yes, I cried my way through some of it – I hate leaving loved ones. Truly, I love my people and wish never to say goodbye. However, before I knew it, I was laughing at the idea of joy and celebration (with Indian and Italian food and festive international flags) being the over-arching feelings during the service. Additionally, I sat with profound gratitude that these three dear ones would take the time from full and rich lives to do the hard work of helping me prepare my own memorial service.

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Joyful Dancers, Marcia Carole, acrylic on canvas

It was actually fun reviewing Scripture I wanted my two older grandsons to read. I could just picture them, taking a break from Legos, snacks, and their Seahawks shirts, only to don their khaki pants and nice shirts to honor their Gigi. They are both about to be baptized, so I know the Words they read will mean something important to their hearts. Those who gather that day will hear that “I have been crucified with Christ; it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…and, there is no longer any condemnation for Marcia because she is safely in Jesus – right into eternity.” Marcia has Jesus as her Rock and her redeemer for this life and the next. My young grandchildren will lead my people into these truths.

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Katie with her boys – my grandsons!

My friend, Judy, calls my departure, “Going Off Planet.” My friend, Gretchen, has reminded me, more than once, that when we get to Heaven, we will see that life on earth has been living in the low-rent district in contrast to the speech-defying beauty, goodness and glory we will be a part of in an Eternity with Jesus. By me remembering these sort-of jokes, coupled with my cancer, I am helped to press on in making my final plans.

I think we long to not die, on planet earth because, aside from the unknowingness of it all and the lack of control we possess over dying, I think there is a part of us, deep in our souls, that remembers the Big Story and how life was in our first Garden, our Home. There really was a beginning point in time when there was no death. Somehow, we know. There was just beauty, fearlessness, a vibrant garden, a totally transparent, loving couple, a tree filled with life, and rich community with God. However, the enemy of our souls snuck into our perfect Home and snarled, lied (God’s holding out on you), robbed and darn near destroyed us and everything around us. I think, we have this deep, unfulfilled longing for that Home. An angst. I’m just saying it’s there.

So, I got to do some planning today – important planning. As I was encouraging Pastor Hilario to really preach the Gospel during the service, my heart was gripped, my tears flowing, because my passion since nineteen years of age has been: there is a God, He faithfully loves you and me, He proved it by coming to earth as God with skin on – Jesus. He lived a perfect life. He died in our places for our evil thoughts, words, deeds. We can be forgiven for all our just plain darknesses of hearts and for believing that first lie that God was holding out on us. How? If we turn from trying to find Home apart from God and run to Him. I want Pastor Hilario to be sure to let everyone know; we are given Jesus’ righteousness when we run to Him, when we reach past our doubts and faint remembering of Eden. When we run and reach out to Jesus, and HIS palpable love, in faith, then Eden, Home is won back in our hearts. It’s a gift – a gift of being eternally Home with God.

And that is where I will be when the celebration of my life happens.

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Sunflower, Marcia Carole, watercolor

One song I hope to have at my memorial service: Give Me Jesus, by Fernando Ortega.

 

9 thoughts on “On Planning My Own Memorial Service

  1. What a gift to be able to do, not only for you, Marcia, but also for all those who will get to hear all you have planned. What joy when we leave “the low rent district” to go to The Place God has made for us. Now that is a huge “praise the Lord”!

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  2. Marcia, you are a beautiful blessing to all of us! Jesus shines in you. You express yourself well in word, in art, in deeds. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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  3. As usual you continue to model for the rest of us those things that are most important in life. Always you point us to the joy only found in Jesus and the eternal. Your joy in the darkest of places speaks of a hope that can never be found in this world. Love you.

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  4. Dear Dear Marcia. All that i can say is that your memorial service will reflect your life in Jesus and your love for Jesus. As you walk with Jesus ‘your people’ will hear how wonderful He is. All praise and thanks be to our God.
    When I read your post yesterday morning I ran from our kitchen unable to stop crying. Now I am rejoicing that you are relieved this service is planned and you can enjoy every moment (as much as possible) God gives you on this side of eternity. ❤️

    Is there any chance that you still have your sunflower painting? I would like to buy it if it is for sale.

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  5. All of what you have written spoke so clearly to my heart and reminded me of how Jesus held me in his arms and wrapped me in a warm blanket of His love when my hubby died 20+ years ago. He still holds me so. One thing that probably helped me more than anything else during that time, was a book called “Heaven” my Home, by Joni Erickson Tada. Reading that book every night before I slept, put praises on my lips and joy in my heart as I drifted off to sleep. If you have the strength, I would recommend it to you and your family. I knew I was living in “the widow’s fog” during that year, which made it difficult to read much of anything, including scriptures, but that was when His Holy Spirit brought those scriptures forth in my mind to dwell on. And for some reason I could read Joni’s book. Love you and appreciate your gift of art and words and especially your “Grace Sightings” each day. Thankful that Hilario and Lois and others of your dear friends are there for you and your family.

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  6. I haven’t cried this much in a long time. Although know we will have such a great time in heaven,’it is so hard saying goodbye on earth. But as we said when Carly Grace departed, this isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later!” What a day of rejoicing that will be!!!
    I love you, Marcia!

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