Friday, December 16, 2011

In Memory My Niece Jasmine | The Seed

The Gift of Hope
Hope—A place, perhaps a state of being that lives in the future?:
One of the definitions I found reads…To look forward to with confidence or expectation.
Look down at your hands…..
If they are clenched….Unclench them…..
Slowly Stretch them out before you…..
We will climb, slow as it may be and grab a hold of Hope.
Hope is something we look to; it seems it lives in the future.  We are not quite there but are striving to arrive.  Hope is like a dream that is in the distance; seems attainable but I haven’t reached my destination.
The Hope I share with you today is found in the Lord.
But God desires abundant life for us.
John 10:10
It’s a future that includes memories of the past
with a tangible grasp of the future.
What is does indicate is we have chosen, not to be a prisoner of the horrific tragedy that has affected us and forever linked us together.  It signifies that the anguish, the real pain we feel will not keep our joy suppressed; a victim curled up in a corner of despair and unfruitfulness.
Co-worker, and beloved daughter, it encourages us to proactively remember Jasmine Rodriguez and continue to make her life count!
Through their hurt and brokenness they allow a breath of hope to lift them beyond the throbbing pain and live again.
You see, Hope is not just an action or a feeling, though in saying so we are correct. 
But for me Hope is the person of Jesus Christ that has given me life; life abundantly and the confidence to share it with you today.
It once thrived and the beautiful smelling aroma of life was noticeable from afar. 
This seed brought joy to others.

How incredible that in God’s design the seed though it seems dead still has the ability to produce life.

Jasmine, a beautiful flower, once a life full of dreams and desires;
a life that affected us all and left an imprint in our hearts forever; this life that was snatched from us can become a seed for us to plant, a seed of hope for us to water and wait to see its fruit.
We plant a seed.

  It’s a seed of hope for the future,
it’s a seed for the sake of the prisoner who has yet to escape. 
It’s a seed of Hope for us who live. 
A seed that together will bridge the beautiful life of
Jasmine Rodriguez to those that have yet to be free.

We chose to be free, no longer a prisoner ourselves of hopelessness. Though sorrow has been a companion, we now swap partners like in a beautiful dance and choose Hope to guide our future days to come.

"And that my soul knows very well
You lift me up, I'm cleansed and free
And that my soul knows very well
When mountains fall, I'll stand
By the power of Your hand
And in Your heart of heart I'll dwell
And that my soul knows very well
Joy and strength each day I find
And that my soul knows very well
Forgiveness, hope, I know is mine
And that my soul knows very well"
(Song lyrics by Darlene Zschech)

Today I want to begin with a small exercise….
Now open your hands….
Through pain and grief, sorrow and hurt…. we announce today that we will indeed reach out to live again…
Hope promises a better tomorrow.
My name is Elizabeth Rodrigues and I am Jasmine’s Aunt.
I have found that Hope has never disappointed me. 

For some Hope can be a feeling, and in saying that we are correct.
My hope is in Jesus Christ who has saved my soul, given me purpose and joy in this life.
Today I want you to understand that I don’t come with a quick fix for the pain we share.  
I’ve come to impart a glimmer of hope to get us to tomorrow.
The Word of God says, "Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning." (Ps. 30:5b)
We have had a lot of mornings since that horrific day that changed our lives; the day that brought pain and a stinging ache to our hearts.
We are tender beings. 
We have emotions that can cause us to laugh and emotions that can feel the tragic pain of loss.
I remind myself...
It’s ok to live…..Liz it’s ok to live and laugh again.
The enemy of our soul desires that we would stay confused, unfocused, troubled, and perhaps to have remnants of guilt consume us.  What could we have done differently, did we miss a warning. Could we have avoided this?
We can stay in this ring for a while, fighting imaginations and thoughts that at times that are deceptive. 
Death is a real separation that can leave us empty for a time.
You see, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; But God says, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The Lord wants his people free.  Isaiah 61:11
We can’t have sorrow and despair walk with us as if they are our companions through this life. 
Grieving and mourning they serve their purpose; it’s how we are designed.  I know this full well as I have not only lost my niece, but only 4 months before, my mom too was gone in a blink of an eye, therefore now I too must embrace tomorrow with Hope.
We hope because there is a future.  
Today’s ceremony is an indication of us moving forward.
Moving forward does not mean we have forgotten. 
Living life now requires a new weapon, a fortified agent to carry us through our tomorrows. 
That, weapon, that negotiator is Hope.
Hope will not disappoint us.
Hope is the key that opens the prison door so that we are no longer the prisoner.
Hope can and will prod us to resist the shadow of depression and hopelessness. 
Do it for yourself, for the sake of my niece, cousin, co-worker and friend.

We often hear of those that have experienced tragedy; how they somehow get the courage to overcome; how somehow they can push past all the pain and impulse to do nothing;
Friends and family, today that is us.
The Bible is the resource that has pointed me to the Hope I speak of today. 

We are going to take hold of our sadness and brokenness and for the sake of Jasmine, for the sake of others who are still in need of help, we are going to plant a seed of hope today.

A seed is the part of the vegetation by definition that has died. 

We did not choose the death that occurred. 

For the one who has yet to escape the nightmare that they live in; 
For the one whose dream might be crushed;
For the one who lives in a world of fear and darkness; 
For the one who’s life might be in danger; 
For our own healing process, we will choose HOPE.

There is Hope for us and hope for the future.

Stretch out your hands……
We have the ability, but most importantly we must choose to let go of the pain that wants to create scars that will immobilize us.
We live because we must, lest we too perish in the land of hopelessness.

Father in heaven, Lord Jesus; help us release the pain.
A seed, though it seems dead; once planted, watered and nurtured can bring new life.
Take these seeds as a gesture and reminder to keep our hearts fruitful and make
Jasmine’s life memorable…making it count!

If you have ever purchased a seed packet, you know that at times we end up getting a few
“wild flower” that we did not necessary come with the original purchase, but when they bloom, somehow they add to the beauty and array of the landscape.
Along with hope today, I pray that in your heart joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and of course the greatest of all Love would sprout forth.
We need a breath of fresh air, friends
A sweet aroma to fill our hearts again…..

God bless you!~Liz


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