Saturday I drug my sweet friend Michelle to see a Beth Moore Simulcast! Beth challenged all of us seated in the audience to write our own obituary. Let me explain. So many of us still carry our old dead self on our backs even though we are new creations in Christ. Why do we do this? Anyhoo, she challenged us to kill off our old dead self once and for all so here is mine ~ it is meant to be funny and a little serious! I challenge you to do the same:)
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Kelli Zaniel, raised a southern belle, had a hankering for Chick-fil-A, Krispy Crème, banana clips, and Scarlett O’Hara died on September 21, 1980, at the First Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia. The 5 year old walked the aisle sweaty palms and all and said, “Bye to her old self and hey to Jesus girl status…bless her heart!” Her dead self floated off in the baptismal waters of grace as a congregation shouted, “Amen new sista!”
She, being drenched in Southern Baptist churchin’ until it almost choked her ever living self, attended every Sunday, Wednesday night suppers, Girls in Action, and kicked some tail in the Bible Drills.
She attended youth group. She even re-dedicated her life to Christ at camp somewhere in between river rafting and flirting with a redneck-fly-fishing-wannabe. Don’t judge, we didn’t have lots to choose from!
These little excursions on the youth bus were great to combat feelings of not measuring up. She felt when she didn’t act right, she disappointed God. She didn’t get up every morning with a fresh, new gush of grace pouring over her like sweet tea in a cold mason jar. Naw. Instead, she rolled the covers back over a diseased body because she wouldn’t let God carry it, her weakness that is. The funny thing? No one even knew she was sick!
Her new life began to look visually assaulting from the inside out. She asked for bread, but it wasn’t daily…maybe monthly or even yearly after a spell. By golly that girl was parched and needed some nourishment, right quick. Other church goers were slack-jawed when her first marriage ended. They couldn’t see past the veil of the D-Word and into the eyes of her broken, abandoned, and abused heart. She felt cast out like a fishing wire only it didn’t get reeled in. She became like the adulterous woman with her future written in the sand…by her accusers.
She had a love affair with the Christian bubble and became a veteran people pleaser. She compartmentalized her faith too. And … for heaven’s sake’s good Bible study girls never let the lines between church, school, and normal life blur. She was a sinner but thought she was a saint; blind but thought she could see, and sick but thought she was well. She walked into church with her panty hose and heels but come to find out, she was lame too!
While sittin’ in church one Sunday y’all know what she did? She got down on the floor and began given mouth to mouth resuscitation to her old self that died a while back. She wouldn’t let it die. She kept carrying it across her shoulders and squeezing it underneath her arms. She dusted it off and took it to parties and out all night. I’m pretty sure she and that old self did stuff that would make you want to slap your granny! Yep, she kept on massaging the heart of old man sin and got herself into a whole heap of trouble. Yes Ma’am.
The opportunities in her life to share the Gospel were numerous. Unfortunately, she busied herself with so many OTHER things… kind of like Miss Martha. I mean that girl got so distracted she could rack up a bill at the Rich’s and the Parisians Department Stores. She and her old self were well dressed and seemingly put together but underneath…they were hog-wild. They chased earthly treasures instead of the eternal ones. Years past and she went and married a nice law-yur fella from (Las Vegas – eewww). Yep, she left the belt – had some kids and relocated to Reno, Nevada where she came to life again. One day after the babies were napping and the house all a hush, God had his way with her. He totally wrecked her and turned her world upside down. God said, “Girl we’ve got to kill that old dead self for good because you keep bringing it back to life and it’s ruining you! Old man sin flung over your back is taking the place of the cross I have asked you to carry. Don’t you realize there is no door too scandalous for me to walk through?” Ouch that stung but oh how sweet!
Kelli’s old self finally died in her home in 2006… for good. She put to death the rattling chains of shame and condemnation that had been clanking around in her life. She understood what it really meant to follow Jesus. She described the experience like opening the eyes of the blind during a beautiful sunrise; a stunned silence before unspeakable holiness; and a shocked terror over her own preference for darkness. And then the faith came, like a rushing roar hovering above. The confidence that Christ made a way for her, a sinner, to live in His glorious fellowship, to give her the desires of her heart, and to behold his glory forever.
Yes Sir, Kelli still loved eating more chicken while watching “Gone with the Wind” when her old self died (the banana clip got put to death with the old self)! Even more than those things, she had a hankering for digging holes in strange fields claiming she’d found a treasure; for living a life unexplained without the presence of the Holy Spirit; for denying herself and counting the cost. Yep, there was no more stinking to high heaven with the odor of death over her like a bad shirt! Nope, death no longer had a sting; it no longer smothered her; it no longer owned her …. She had been set free; her load lightened. Free to accept unmerited favor. Free to accept gushes of grace. Free to live like she believed!