Dignified Transfer

Written by Julie Hayden

June 3, 2023

What a month!!!   God has been confirming and leading step by step.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”  I’m amazed at how God is leading in the tiniest of details right now.  I feel like He is shouting “I’ve got you!! You are hearing Me.  This is the way – keep walking!!!!!”

Recently my pastor’s wife, Chiana, invited me to go to Dover, Delaware with her for a conference.  I like meeting new folks and experiencing new church cultures.  Being in a new region provides lots of opportunities to meet new co-laborers and see many new sights. I always have fun with Pastor Chiana and couldn’t wait to meet a spiritual father and mother in her life.

I had never been to Delaware before. I knew very little about Delaware.  In fact, the only thing I knew about the state was that fallen soldiers are returned to the US through the Dover Delaware Air Force Base.  As I mentioned that fact to Pastor Chiana, I thought, “Hmmmm…. maybe there is something to this.”  I researched this process and learned that it is called a Dignified Transfer.  According to the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations website, “The dignified transfer is a solemn and respectful process that returns American’s fallen to US soil with dignity and honor.”

Since the Revolutionary War, Americans have chosen to honor their fallen soldiers.  British Prime Minister William Gladstone said, “Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure, with mathematical exactness, the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.” I’m grateful for the honor and respect we give to those who have given the greatest sacrifice for our nation and our freedoms. 

As I shared in my last writing, I do believe this is a pivotal season where we need to know the times and the seasons and be in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing around us.  It is a new day and many things are shifting and changing.  Oftentimes, change can be difficult.  Most of us fight change – only a few really thrive in extreme change.  

As I pondered this concept of Dignified Transfers I  realized in my life there have been a few dignified transfers but more than not they were quite undignified. I just might have gone through some season changes kicking and screaming.  Maybe you can relate to that too.

I  began to think this conference in Dover was going to be a time of Dignified Transfer.  I was going to honor somethings in my past, and choose to give them a proper and fitting burial so that I could move into the new God has for me.  Oftentimes, by holding tightly to the past, we cannot reach and grasp the present, let alone the future, He has prepared for us.  

Pastor Chiana really thought this was a word for all who were attending the conference.  We prayed that if it needed to be spoken God would open the door.  I was shocked to hear each minister share about this being a new season and it is time to let the old go and step into the new – even when we don’t fully understand.  I was able to share about the Dignified Transfer with our conference hosts who then invited me to share in one of the sessions.  Recently, they had relocated to near the Air Force Base and often hear the sounds of TAPS filling the air and are moved to tears as these transfers are occurring.  Even in their own ministry God has been working to move out of the old and into a new and fresh way of ministering.

Friend, whether it is an old assignment, relationship, work issue, offense, or bitterness in your soul,  I invite you to privately host a dignified transfer and honorably bury whatever is holding you to the past and not allowing you to step into future.  Give it a funeral.  Release it to the Lord in prayer.  And watch for the NEW He has for YOU!

I’ve been amazed as I’ve been doing just that.  I’ve been able to get rid of things I’ve held onto for decades.  They were wonderful ways God moved in the past – but they are not His future for me.  God has given me so much JOY as I move forward.  

What are you holding onto that is trapping you in the past?  Is it time to give it to God in a Dignifed Transfer?  Can you bury that hatchet once and for all and go free?

It’s time!

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