I think of Jennie. I've thought about her a lot this week. Her radiant beauty...freckles and blue eyes, a ready smile that melts your heart...kind...loving...vibrant
She would have been 11 on February 21st...now she will be forever 10.
Jennie is with Jesus.
We are here...pilgrims...the light of Christ, shining through us in these dark places of our globe. Each one with a purpose...a cog in the wheel of our Father's divine plan. Each one so loved...cherished by our Father, created in His image...
Our days are numbered. Time finite. A gift.
While we sojourn on this planet, we do the work that our Father has prepared beforehand that we should do.
Jennie's work here is done. She was faithful...she is part of God's great plan...although no longer on this earth...yet she lives on...we will see her again...her family will be re-united again...their 'home going' so much more glorious...such a celebration.
But for now they carry on...the spirit of Jennie, their memories, the void of her passing and in her mom's words..."the ache is so great...I've never felt so much pain..." Oh God of all comfort, be near them now...
Death has touched me a lot these past few months. Friday's funeral, the most recent and the death of a child, hits closest to home. The tears Friday probably could have made a pond...for sure a river of wealth flows from our suffering...
Jennie had arrhythmia and on Monday, during gym class at school, her heart stopped. Her death...unexpected by all sojourners on this planet...not for God...probably not His will...but part of His plan...to be used for His glory.
I have had to unpack 'death' a lot this week.
You see, Jennie was my eldest daughter's friend...not a close friend but someone she knew. They spent 5 years of Sunday School together, birthday parties, and church picnics. The funeral on Friday was Hannah's first.
There have been many questions without answers, tears, and new doubts...That's o.k...God understands. It's good to seek, to question, to doubt, to explore those difficult places.
Death is not final as I once thought. Those who love the giver of life, live forever ...we will join those who have gone before us one day, when it is our time.
Death is a great teacher. We learn...
...to live with less regrets...love deeply...celebrate the gifts of our loved ones with reckless abandon.
We figure out what "abundant life" really is and live each day like there are no tomorrows...
Since early December, I have loved my husband of 10 years more deeply and intimately. I have laughed more, cried more, and enjoyed each day more fully. I have held each one of my children longer...buried my nose in the fragrance of their hair...rejoiced at their antics...listened to their songs...and treasured the moments...
...I have found more peace in the glorious messes of our lives and understood more about His grace. Our love, however flawed, is real.
Oh Lord, help me (all of us) determine to spend our time more wisely,abandon vain pursuits...enjoy every day...celebrate the ones we love...live with fewer regrets...seek wisdom, gain understanding, develop prudence, learn discernment...value one another...choose righteousness.
I join others in the knowledge that when we love Jesus, our time on earth is a pilgrimage. One day we will be with Him forever and we will see Him as He is...in the meantime we fulfill His purposes, and prepare to worship Him forever.
Jennie has done that.
It is only through Christ that we find true peace in grief.
In the bulletin of Jennie's funeral, I read this beautiful tribute...
Our precious daughter Jennie,
From the beginning you touched our lives, you filled our hearts with joy. You had an abundance of love. We honour you today, and the God who made you who you are. There are no words to describe the void left in our hearts. Your relationship with us we will cherish and celebrate for the rest of our lives.
In the words of her Saviour Jesus Christ...
Well done, Jennie...well done.
We love you.
Mom, Dad, Matthew and Jacob
Jennie's Mom and Dad find courage to suffer, the strength they have found during all this, is from Christ alone... and from years of drinking from the well of Jesus and cultivating the knowledge of Him.
Jennie's mom said, "The Lord has prepared us for this."
God is so gracious, so kind to His children.
One day we all want to hear Our Lord say, "Well done."
It's all about Him...not about us.
Today on the way to church, Hannah asked me, "Mom, do you wanna worship God today? Do you feel like singing?"
I was touched by her honesty. I asked her, if she was thinking of Jennie.
Hannah said, "Mom I'm sad because I can't imagine Mr. and Mrs. Swales singing and I'm kinda mad at God for taking Jennie. I don't feel like singing."
Ah...I understood her first question.
Hannah I said, "It's o.k. to be sad for the Swales...to be thinking of them...
to not feel like singing. It's o.k. even to be mad because God understands and because He loves us."
I said to Hannah then, as we went into church, "I am going to worship and sing today and I feel like singing even more today...because of Jennie."
I smiled at her and gave her another hug.
Since I've been home I thought of all the worship songs we sang at the funeral, "How Great Thou Art, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and It is Well With My Soul."
I'll have to remember to tell Hannah that Jennie believes those words, and so do Mr. and Mrs. Swales and many others...that I believe them. I'll have to tell Hannah that it takes courage to worship when you're sad...when someone you knew died and it doesn't make sense. I'll have to tell Hannah the verse that talks about making a sacrifice of praise...or maybe I'll just have her read this.
It's hard to understand...perhaps we never will...until we talk to Jesus face to face.
....and yet we seek, yearn, long to love Him more, die to self...and choose to silence our doubts...we learn to trust when we don't understand...simply because HE is faithful.
"In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death."
Proverbs 12:28 NASV
"...The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Job 1:21 NASV
"Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait I say, on the Lord!" Psalm 27:14 NASV
"His master said to him,'Well done, good and faithful slave;you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of the master.'" Matthew 25:23 NASV