This weekend we celebrated the marriage of my sister (in-law) Karen and her now husband Michael. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding. Karen looked stunning. As I’ve gotten older and my knowledge of Christ has increased and my faith has deepened, I’ve come to appreciate weddings more. Specifically what is said at the ceremony. Sure the receptions are always a blast but my ears are more attentive now when the pastor reminds us of Who created marriage. Karen and Michael wrote each other very sweet, genuine vows. The pastor, Steve (who is actually the music minister at FBC Lutz) spoke Truth about the depth of Gods love for us and how that should effect us in marriage. He is the author of Love.
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 NIV)
As we celebrated Karen and Michaels marriage later in the evening my mother received news that a precious family from our Lutz body of Christ suffered a very sudden and devastating loss. Sharon, a beautiful wife, mother and friend is now home with her Lord and Savior. This news was completely shocking. My heart aches for her husband, her daughters, their husbands and children, and the rest of her family. Anyone that has ever met Sharon, even if just one brief encounter, has been impacted by her sweet spirit. Her love for Christ was so evident and every choice and action of hers was so intentional. She was thoughtful, compassionate and sensitive to the people around her. Before Jason and I moved to Georgia I had the pleasure of getting to know and spending some time with Sharon and her daughter Sarah. In that time, Sharon gave me things that have deepened my relationship with Christ and I have treasured since and will forever. It was her example and wisdom that has effected so much of my approach to prayer. She was so specific in her own prayer life, very aware of the prayer needs around her, and completely submitted to the Spirit. She had a very meaningful and effective prayer life and I am so thankful for that time she shared with me. She has certainly left a legacy. Her biggest ones being the amazing family she loved. Her daughters, Sarah and Alison, are 2 women that I greatly admire. This family, Steve, Sharon, Alison, and Sarah, they are the kind that when you meet they just leave a lasting impression because of their deep love for Christ and His people. We mourn with you and are praying fervently for you.
When an unexpected loss like this occurs our minds go to all manner of places. One of my prayers is protection over our minds. That the enemy would have no hold on us, that he’d be unable to plant doubt, guilt, deceitful, destructive, lies. That we would hold firm and steady to the Truth. The Truth that God is our Creator and he does love us. He has given us the ability to experience love. And as my dad reminded me when we grieve the pain is deep because the love is deep. We have hope because of Christ. We know he has prepared a place for us and Sharon is now there. This doesn’t reduce the pain her family is experiencing. It’s so hard to stay here and have our loved ones go before us. Remaining here we are still subjected to the brokenness of the world. Subjected to the pain of loss. I don’t know the depth or the intensity of the pain this incredible family is going through. But even in my imagining its so great that it brings me to gut and heart wrenching tears. I love each of you and will be on my knees praying every time you come to mind.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. (Revelation 21:4 NLT)