We want to thank you for your care and prayers for us as we continue in ministry. The Lord brings comfort and grace enabling us to serve in the churches. It is good to be busy about the Master’s business.
Today marks one year since we lost the presence of our son Chris on the earth. Our family never imagined something like this would happen. It is not normal for parents to bury their child. While each of us has grieved in our own way, we have all felt God’s comfort. Chris had it right when he said that he felt sorry for us because we would be the ones dealing with the loss. He would be absent from the body and present with the Lord. That was good for him. He understood what we would be going through. That is an example of the thoughtfulness Chris had for others.
I want to share thoughts from the journey I never imagined taking. I hurt more that day one year ago than I had ever hurt before or since. It was the deepest of pain. I was thankful for family and friends that were there. Many people around the world were praying. Thank you all for your care.
Today is the one year mark of Chris being in the presence of the Lord. Our loss has been his gain. As I think of this, I know each of us will face death if the Lord does not catch us away first. It will be a gain. Meanwhile, we groan for that day.
- I have learned that there are depths of pain I had never experienced. As a Christian, we can feel from the depths of our souls. It is ok to experience emotion because God made us emotional beings.
- I have felt the comfort that only comes from God holding you in your sorrow. His arm holds me up when I am the weakest.
- I have examined life and eternity in ways I never did before this. This life is short. Eternity is forever.
- Death is the beginning of great things. As good as this life can be; heaven is better for the Christian. As N. D. Wilson compares death to the carnival rides in his book, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, “Death is that black strip above my head on the measuring board. When I’ve reached it, well, then I can go on the gnarly rides.” Chris is on the gnarly rides. There is comfort in that.
- I have had many people express love and concern for me in this journey. Many encouraged me to take the time to grieve. I have felt the grief and embraced the emotions it brings. I have not wallowed in self-pity or nor allowed my emotions to control me. I have acknowledge the feelings and worked through them. Even now, I am sad, glad, comforted, and joyful all at the same time.
- After our loss, God has put many others who have experience deep loss or pain into our lives. There are many who have suffered greater loss than we have. Our hearts go out to them.
- I am thankful and challenged by the testimony of Chris. He lived life and experienced so much in the time God gave him. His testimony will remain and will never change. In this, my heart goes out to parents who are broken because of a child who is not walking with the Lord. Broken relationships continue to hurt hearts.
- There are some things I will never resolve in this life. I cannot resolve the whys. Nothing satisfies my understanding. This is where I have to trust the Lord in that He knows all things and somehow, someway, there is a reason.
- Many people have unresolvable issues in their lives. These are things we live with as a part of our earthly existence. My brother had cerebral palsy. It is a part of his life he cannot change nor will ever change this side of heaven. Others carry things from their pasts that cannot be changed. These will never be resolved to total satisfaction in this lifetime. I will always have an unresolvable event in my life. I have a son who has died. I cannot change that fact. There is nothing that can take it away. For the rest of my life I must live in the reality that my son has died.
- Understanding unresolvable issues has helped me to reach out to others who are hurting from things they cannot resolve or change. To understand that fact is to start to heal.
I could write much more about each point. These are some of the thoughts rolling around in my mind. Those who know me well know that I could go on and on….but I won’t.
Thank you so much for your prayers for our family. Michelle feels the loss of her husband very deeply. She and the children have a house not too far from us. They are active in their church. The children are busy with school and music lessons. Michelle is becoming a very good speaker for women. She recently spoke at a well-attended women’s retreat. She is open to speaking as the Lord gives her opportunity.
Chris’s brothers and their families are working through many emotions. The boys were very close and have deeply felt Chris not being there. Peter is still writing books and Joe is still a Biblical counselor.
For those on Facebook, you can see pictures of our family that have been posted. There have been many expressions of love and care from our friends and family.