Rose of Sharon: A Tribute

November 21, 2018

RIP Cousin Sharon. See you on the other side when I get there.

Rose of Sharon
A Tribute

This past Thursday, November 15, 2018, my family laid a member to rest. She was a cousin, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a defender/protector, a partner, and much more. She passed October 31st peacefully and quietly in her sleep sometime in the twilight before dawn. You may not know her but she is famous because she is a daughter of the Most High God (as we all are famous in His eyes). Her name is (yes IS) Sharon. I cannot speak about Sharon without also speaking about the rock of our family, Roseanne, my Great Grandmother (Grandma Rosie) who passed this plane of existence many years ago. That is why I titled this writing “Rose of Sharon”. Although this is a semi-tribute to our family, it is so much more than that. It is for the glory and honor of our Father God of Heaven and Earth and to every soul God uses this to reach. Without Him nothing else matters because He is THE Beginning and THE End. Everything is made through Him and NOTHING (no thing) was made without Him. (read John 1:1-4 and Isaiah 45:6-7)

Sharon is now in the arms of the Beloved continuing her eternal existence with The King, The Lover of our souls.

Song of Solomon 1:16-17 –
The Shulamite
Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also our bed is green. 17 The beams of our houses are cedar, And our rafters of fir.

Song of Soloman 2:1 –
A Country Girl in a Palace
I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys.

As we were listening to the stories of Sharon from those who chose to share their memories as well as the ministers as they comforted us with God’s words, all I kept hearing in my spirit was “Rose of Sharon”. Of course I thought right away about Grandma Rosie’s and Sharon’s life along with others who have passed in our family and throughout my life. Once I returned home and settled, I looked up the verse on to try and understand what the Lord was trying to say. I immediately laughed out loud at the title of Song of Solomon 2:1; “A Country Girl in a Palace” in the NKJV. I’m sure as my family is reading this they are also chuckling. My family’s roots are country living in good ole’ Virginia. Now, along with other family members that have gone before, Sharon is in the arms of our Beloved chillin’ in His Palace and the mansion He prepared for her as “a country girl in a palace”.

It was spoken several times during the service that Sharon would always say, “God’s got me”. That is what I choose to give testimony to. Our faith is the core of everything each of us do in any given moment of any given day. The walking out of our faith is something different. The walking out is where the growth comes to prepare us for the next level of our eternal existence (that includes this plane of existence as well as beyond). If we have the faith, belief, and trust in our Lord and Savior, there is no need to worry about anything else because “God’s got us”.

Matthew 6:31-34 – “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Why? Because “God’s got us”. This is where every believers trust level should be. It is a process. There are sacrifices that need to be made in our journey with the Lord. The more we give our lives completely to Him, the closer we get to His heart. I strongly believe, in her 53 years on this earth, Sharon served her purpose 100%. That 100% isn’t fully fulfilled yet on this side because it is counted towards every soul God used Sharon to come into the Kingdom, to comfort, and to love as well as how each one serves their own purpose. It WAS finished so it IS finished and it WILL BE finished but we have to go through our individual process and sacrifices to come to an understanding of what that means. I don’t know what sacrifices Sharon had to make to get there but I believe she made them. She made them because someone before her made them and on back all the way to THE Beginning. To make those sacrifices there must be 100% trust, faith, and belief within us that “God’s got us”.

In this family, most of us come to know and understand that none of us are perfect. Even through the arguments and pain we may be going through either with one another or individually, we come together when it counts. We have the pain but we also have so much joy. We can be messy but without the mess there would be no room to grow our personal relationship with the Lord. He is perfect. If we are perfect then why did He choose to sacrifice Himself for us? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

For me personally, Sharon, along with her younger sister, were those women I admired as a young one. You know how there are people somewhere throughout your lifetime that you just admired for whatever reason? It could be a family member, a friend, the popular person at school, a celebrity, a mentor, etc. Well, Sharon and her younger sister were those individuals to me. It wasn’t and isn’t that I want to be them but even at a young age I could sense there was a freedom they had that I had not tapped into at that time (actually I’m just now starting to grab hold of that type of freedom).

Sharon’s level of being a free spirit was contagious. She was an individual that truly and honestly did not concern herself with how others perceived her no matter what because at the core of her being she believed that God always had her back.

This strength is not something that we can create on our own. It comes from trusting the Lord above everything else.

Matthew 10:27-31 – 27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Just through personal observations I have no doubt that this is at the center of our bloodline (yours also if anyone in your family has come to the love of Christ). We always say that our family is strong, our family is close, and that our family is truly blessed. It may not look like it to the outside world but we know it’s true and that’s what matters.

Just as Sharon would tell you exactly how she felt about you even if it’s telling you to suck it up and get over yourself, it was how she was created to not only show her love for you but to also have you find a way to love yourself exactly where you are. In church meetings it is preached that God excepts us wherever we are yet we do not always show this level of grace and mercy to one another as human beings. It’s beyond time to. If we believe in the Word of God then we are to aspire to be like Jesus Christ. There are some things that need to change in our thinking and in our hearts as The Body of Christ. It begins when we focus solely on the Kingdom of God and not other people’s opinions or expectations of us. Again…

Matthew 6:33 –  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (That means you too.)

Once we begin to seek Him, His Kingdom, and His righteousness then we should come to a point where we not only say but also truly believe that “God’s got us”.

The core of our family is strong and unbreakable because the core of our bloodline is the blood of Jesus Christ. The Body’s DNA is infused with it . . .

Romans 8:37-39 – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In other words, “God’s got us”. Yes I am proud of my family heritage and our attributes but more than that I am boasting on the goodness of God Almighty. This is just one individual’s observations of one family’s account of God’s goodness. He placed this within each and every one who believes in Him through THE Sacrifice of His only begotten Son.

Romans 3:21-26 –  But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Cousin Sharon wasn’t the first to show this type of freedom and strength. Neither was my Grandma Rosie. Grandma Rosie raised or helped raise many in my family. As Cousin Sharon’s mom, my Great Aunt Virginia (we just call her Aunt Itty), said to me recently and I have heard it before from other family members, “[Grandma Rosie] raised her children with love”. Now don’t get it twisted, that love came with discipline which (when balanced through Holy Spirit) is Love. We can see the fruit of that love through how close many of us are. When I say close I don’t mean geographically. God Almighty in ALL His Wisdom used someone to instill that into Grandma Rosie which she passed down to her children, their children, and their children’s children. Or . . . as one of my uncle’s always quotes and it has become a staple in a lot of families including ours (due to a popular animated movie in the early 90’s): “We don’t die. We multiply.”. So true in so many ways. That in itself is an amazing blessing from our Lord.

The core of our family has always remained strong. Where’s the proof? As we were saying good-bye to Cousin Sharon’s earthly form, we were praising our Lord. We know we will see her again. We were worshipping Him as we celebrated the life He allowed us to know on this earth. If we can’t praise our Lord through our pain and every storm, how can we say to Him “I will praise Your Name ALL the days of my life”?

The strength of the Lord runs through my family as it does yours if you believe. It is our individual and corporate trust as well as belief in the Lord that activates every gift placed in us for the use of God’s Kingdom. Grandma Rosie loved her family and the Lord. It is because of her heartbeat for the Lord that many of my family’s hearts beat for the Lord. I can’t doubt that her heart ached for Him because I know His heart ached for her. Grandma Rosie’s heart beats in every single one of her blood relatives, including Cousin Sharon. Just as the Shulamite woman said she was the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley whose heart longed for her Beloved, I have no doubt that the Rosie in Sharon will continue on with the blessings of the Lord throughout ALL Eternity.

Forever is a long time. Destiny awaits, Children of God. It’s never too late to turn our hearts back to Him. He longs for us just as we long for Him. We can’t know our purpose let alone serve it without having a personal relationship with Him. He is the Master Builder. A hammer doesn’t know how it is supposed to be used until a person comes along and uses it. That is true of us in the hands of our Maker. Cousin Sharon was whatever God needed her to be at whatever moment God needed her to be it. The heart of Jesus bled for her and within her. Do you believe the same about yourself? It’s never too late to start.

To those before me and those after me, thank you. To my fam, I love you ALL and thank you!! To any and everyone that has been, is, and will be a part of my life, thank you. It is through a heart of gratitude that we begin to enter the bedchamber of our Bridegroom (read Matthew 25)!! Happy Thanksgiving!!! Selah!

Alicia R. Shipe

River Rose
Digital Art: 11×14: ARS


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