Meet Brooklyn; she is a young woman living out her final few days at home on hospice care. Though her outer self is wasting away, her inner self is being renewed day by day, and she is a bright and shining light for the rest of us. I encourage you to follow her Facebook page, Brooklyn’s Journey Home, and walk alongside her as she faces, head-on, the last enemy death. With the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit, you will see a woman of courage, standing in the grace and strength of our Lord.
She suffers from a connective tissue disorder, and the doctors have sent her home to die. In one of her earlier posts, she says, “All treatments have failed. I have fought very hard for a very long time. With much prayer, Godly counsel, and medical advice, God has made the way forward clear. It’s time to go home.”
She is well aware of what these last days mean. “A lifelong friend of mine gave me my last ever haircut last night. It was a beautiful “parting gift.” Later she writes, “I awoke the other day thinking “Oh my goodness, I’m dying.” Of course, I’ve known this for a while, but yesterday, I felt it. I know what “dying” feels like.”
She continues, ”Half thoughts keep appearing in my mind. I see a place or remember a thing I like to do and someone I would like to do that thing with. Suddenly, I realize I’ll never do that thing again, especially not this summer. Not even this Spring.”
Some of her days have been excruciatingly difficult. “I found myself in a puddle of tears last night as my body was screaming in pain and exhausted, pulling my emotions in tow.”
Brooklyn may face dark moments, but they are never so dark that the light of Christ does not breakthrough. Along with telling her story, she wants to speak directly to us, and even when she wants to tell us hard truths, her sense of humor steps in to help us swallow the medicine. “I’m sick. Soon to die. But so are you. I’m just doing it faster. So, if you think about it, I’m really just outdoing you in something.”
She is right, of course, we are all dying, and we will soon be in our last days. We should pay careful attention to the wisdom she is imparting. She has a message we should all hear. Some of it is practical, while other bits of wisdom are profoundly spiritual.
Here is some of her practical wisdom and spiritual truth; the two are usually packaged together. “I’m here to tell you not to waste your time binging Netflix, marathoning YouTube, or scrolling through social media. I’m here to tell you that, as a Christian, our constant consideration should be, “If Jesus was sitting here next to me, would He approve of what I’m doing?” Later she says, “Do something. Do something with your life. Even if it’s small. But don’t do it for you. Do it for Him.”
How does she do it? Where does she find the strength? She tells us clearly, “As a general notion, we know our strength is found in Jesus (Psalm 73:26). But we often forget Christ calls us to Him daily. He is our daily bread (Luke 11:2-4). He promises to be enough for tomorrow while telling us not to worry about tomorrow (Matt. 6:25-34).”
What does this look like in real life, in the real-life of a young woman who is dying? Let her give you a glimpse as she talks about her body no longer being able to digest food. “The ONLY thing I like about being malnourished is how it makes me rely on Jesus. Jesus says He is my bread of life (John 6). Without actual bread, I’m pushed to rely on God’s promise of being my spiritual sustenance (Deut. 8:3, Matt. 4:4). He always provides exactly what I need (Matt. 6:25-34). It may not be what I think I need. Like the ability to eat…But it’s always what I DO need.”
However, as she decreases, she wants Jesus to increase. She wants the rest of us to look to him. “My goal is to highlight God’s strength in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:10-12, 11:30). His faithfulness in the midst of suffering. Our future hope in Jesus beyond death (1 Pet. 1:3-9). He alone is eternally worthy (Rom. 11:36), and I am only temporarily sick.”
She wants us all to be healed from our most significant disease: sin, and the just penalty it deserves. There is only one reason a sinner like herself and the rest of us can have hope of heaven. “The blood of Christ covers me, and I will be perfectly presentable before Him (Eph. 1:7). So, there’s nothing to fear. And there’s probably ice cream.”
She finds her life in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. “Now, dying myself, the description of how my Savior died is so much more potent. It leaves me in awe of a God who was born into flesh, willing to die in brutality (and rise again) for the sin of humanity.”
“How can I be sure of this gospel? I’ve read it in the God-inspired book: the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16-17). I’ve tested its words, and it consistently rings true. I know I will be in paradise with God because that’s what He’s promised to His children (Eph. 2:19-20, John 1:12-13).”
Brooklyn, if you ever read this, please know the Lord is using you to shine his light upon us. Your life will be bearing fruit for our Savior long after you have left us. You are a precious sister in the Lord, and you will be meeting people in heaven for years to come who were better able to see the path because of the light of Christ that has shined through you. We are praying that the Lord’s will be done in you since we know that is your desire as well.
Brooklyn was a worship leader until the illness took her ear for music, voice, and ability to play. Then again, looking at that sentence, I realize I wrote it wrong. I said she “was” a worship leader. She is still a worship leader, leading the rest of us in worship in ways she could have never done in her health. She is a worship leader and always will be one. I leave you with this final point from one of her posts. It is an example of what grace looks like in a dying saint. May we all die with such beauty.
“I’m more than excited that in 6ish weeks I’ll be able to worship perfectly in the presence of God (Rev. 7:15).”