Saturday, August 20, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
This past two weeks it seems so much has hit our household. We had two very different but also very close friends pass away. Both were sudden and without warning. So much threaded through the halls of my mind. Some of those threads went into rooms that are closed and not used much anymore, just to be opened and re-examined. Others opened new doors to rooms that I had not seen before. But, through all the processing I was amazed at God's grace.
Our friend Jeff had a sudden massive heart attack. Though all the details are a bit unknown as to why it all happened, his family and friends stood vigil by his bedside until he took his last breath. I was honored to be one of those friends. There to be strength for his wife and dear friend Beth and just to do whatever I was asked or needed to do.
One of those things, Beth just wanted me to be there by her side. Just standing. Just being strong. Just being a rock for her while the wind of change was blowing through that room. Seeing her virile, precious, husband's life ebb into Jesus' arms. Having to make some heart wrenching decisions about life support. Having to watch her daughter just ache at the loss of her Dad. To be honest, the day never seemed to end. But it pressed on and so did we as the night turned to morning and the final breaths were taken.
I will never want to even speak to what Beth was going through in those hours upon hours. That is her story, but for me so much was shown to me in just a small span of time that I thought that God was exploding through the room.
For me , standing beside that bed and hearing the heart of a wife saying goodbye, hearing his daughter tell him all the things that she loved about him, and a Mom saying goodbye to her son but begging him not to go had my heart wanting to run from the room. But my Father in Heaven wanted me stand. I am not sure that I was all that needed at the moment, there were more than enough friends by her side. But for some reason God wanted me there and just wanted me to stand. When I realized that, it was in that perfect moment that we started singing "Amazing Grace". All of us around Jeff's bedside. Not loud but definitely strong. The peace, just like a river…surrounded that room. Tears were already flowing down his cheek, along with everyone else and I know , at that moment , he knew how much he was loved. He felt love surround him. He heard his family's cry and he also saw the Father waiting on Him. Waiting on Him to finish his goodbyes. In those long hours of holding on , love and grace were what flowed.
This week my friend Noran went home in her sleep. This is a woman that lived life well. She loved with all her heart, she prayed with all her might and she walked every day with Jesus. Though she went to sleep and did not wake up I know the Angels of Heaven walked her home in those wee hours of the morning. What a blessing and a comfort of grace that she did not suffer. She just woke up at home completely healed. But for us, one great prayer warrior has gone home.
As I witnessed my friends going into the arms of Jesus this week, I was struck by the amount of grace God has extended to me. You see, Dean has had three heart attacks and well, we all know Olivia's amazing story. I came home and loved on my family and I have a new appreciation of love and grace. Every moment in our life is designed by God. He is the only one that knows the hour and the day that we will go home to be with Him. I have seen my Mom and Dean's parents and sister welcomed home to be with Jesus and the Father. I know, in those moments of passing that they would not want to come back for anything. My sweet friend Noran and Jeff walked into Jesus' waiting arms this week. The celebration must be huge in heaven. But for those left behind, life is fragile and a gift. Each and every day is a gift to those of us that have been touched by the amazing people God has placed in our lives.
So this week I think I am going to be just a little quieter to hear what my friends and family are really saying and not just the words. I want to hear their heartbeat and their struggles. I want to understand their needs. I want to be thankful for every minute God has placed them in my life to help me, make me just a little better, and loved just a little more because they were in my life. Because for me, that is the grace of God. Prayerfully, I can also be that same person for them.