Skip to main content

joy and pain


When we were losing my mom to cancer two summers ago I remember getting on facebook and thinking that life still went on for everyone else.  I wasn’t upset about it- it was just an observation that I had at the time.  I was taking her for chemo, and my good friend was going to the beach for vacation;  I was looking for something – anything- that she could eat and hold down, and another friend was eating chick-fil-a;  I was hanging out with my sisters at the hospital texting each other across the room so mom wouldn’t hear us (though she did yell at us to stop texting about her!) and another friend was washing their car.  This is life – people come into the world and leave it each day.  We have day after day of routine and life-as-usual, but even as we are doing that someone else is dealing with a crisis that changes their world forever. 
This does not just apply to tragedy.  I remember Shawn’s cousin saying to me on our wedding day, “Funny, this is such an important day in your life, but to the rest of us it is just another day!”  I thought it was a strange thing to say at the time, but have thought that several times since as I have gone to weddings!
Some days are filled with both of these things.  Yesterday was one of those days.  When I awoke I was excited to read the blogs of friends in Sudan and hear firsthand about the activities surrounding South Sudan’s birth day!  It was exciting to hear about the dancing celebrations from people who have spent their entire lives waiting for this day.  It was amazing to see signs giving God the glory and relying on a hope that comes from him!  It was history in the making kind of day – in a good way!


Then later in the day I got one of those phone calls that you never want to get.  A wonderful young man from our Compelled Church went missing (and presumably drowned) while kayaking with his girlfriend at camp.  At this time his body is still missing and shock is settled in to everyone.  He was a sophomore at college – a brand new Christian this year.  God had cleared the way for him to meet people who would lead him to Christ in what seemed like a random way, but as I look back I can see His loving hands in the whole thing.  Anthony was a different person yesterday than he was a year ago.  He loved God in a real and pure way, and he had overcome (and was overcoming) many obstacles in his life and in his spiritual journey.  To watch him was at times frustrating and at times amazing.  He was a young man who had become full of hope and dreams for a future – one that included serving Jesus somehow. 

And I wonder…why?  Why, Lord?  I know he is with you now.  But why so short?  Why now?  Why when he was on the cusp of learning to live for you?  We were so excited when he decided to work at a Christian camp this summer and had been praying for amazing things in his life.  I know that You are God and your plan is good – but I don’t understand this one at all. 
Then his girlfriend wrote the words of a song (Anthony LOVED music) and I wept as I remembered:  “All of my life, in every season, you are still God, I have a reason to sing- I have a reason to worship.”  I trust you.  You will be glorified in all of this somehow, Lord.  And Anthony is certainly singing and playing guitar with you now in ways that I would never want to take back from him.
Meanwhile life goes on…we will eat dinner, play the piano, weed the garden, go  on vacation... and life will never be quite as we knew it before.  
 How I can’t wait for heaven!!!  

Comments

  1. Heather, we are so sorry to hear about Anthony. You are right, the Lord has His plans and even if we don't understand, His wisdom is perfect and He is always good. Praying that you feel His comfort and experience His grace.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bookends of Beauty

I love the bride of Christ.

I know that many of you reading this have seen the ugly, the broken, the spiteful.  It has been aimed at you or someone you love and the hurt has caused so much pain that you ran.  Maybe you are still physically present, but your heart is not fully in.  I understand.  We've been in full time ministry for 23 years now.  You can't be in this type of life without experiencing some of that ugliness - or handing it our yourself. 

However, I have been reminded again recently how beautiful it can be when it is done as a picture of Him. 

In the last few churches that we have been at where Shawn has pastored we have had a point in our time there where we had to admit that we couldn't do it anymore.  These churches in the States were ones that were under redevelopment - meaning on the brink of closing for one reason or another - and we were brought in to see if there was any health left and to push it in that direction if the answer was yes.  That means …

Kwaheri Kenya

It's my last night calling Africa home.

I feel like the last several weeks I have been on auto pilot - doing the things I needed to do to wrap up work well and get things in place.  This week we had a lot of goodbyes, however my eyes stayed dry and my emotions in check.

But today...

What a hard, beautiful, honoring, loving, joy and sorrow filled day.

I was standing and looking out the window tonight and feeling like this chapter has come to a close.  I don't just mean Kenya - though that is the immediate, in-your-face thing.  But this dream of living in Africa.  Ever since we spent the year in Malawi I have longed to come back and live.  We lived in the most rural you possibly could in South Sudan to the crazy chaos of Nairobi in Kenya, as well as the in-between in Blantyre.  I've seen poverty I could never have imagined, and money that I never knew existed.  I've lived on the brink of war and through insane elections.  And I've shown off this life I've loved …

Tremble

Listening to music always speaks to my heart in ways that seem to break through even my most grumpy, tired, or distant flesh.  I have a current favorite right now that I could listen to non-stop, and whenever I hear it I feel like my emotions explode to the surface. 

"Peace, bring it all to peace
The storm surrounding me
Let it break at your name..."

If you've listened to Christian radio or worship in a place in with contemporary music at all you've probably heard the song "Tremble."  It's not new.  Nor is it filled with a truth I have not heard before.  But something in these lyrics touches me deeply in this time of my life.

Right before we left Kenya I spoke at our church ladies retreat.  One of the things we talked about the first night was how we are in a battle.  We so often and so easily believe the lies that are whispered to us from Satan and shouted to us from the world about who we are, our worth, and our identity.  The longer we allow these l…