Friday night Ali stayed with friends as they tried to deal with their friend Katlin’s death. Friday night Bill and I went to dinner to spend some time together and talk. God gave me a gift that night…as we were sitting there eating, a Third Day song was playing in the background in the restaurant, light snow was falling down outside, and for a moment, I felt the rush of life stop and felt a peace only God could give.
Yesterday was Katlin’s funeral. I had BSF in the morning, Ali had asked to have some friends over after the funeral, so I ran and got food between BSF and the funeral. The funeral was a beautiful service to honor Katlin’s life. At one point I remember my arms feeling numb…I had to touch one to see if it still had feeling in it. Many tears were shed as the pastor gave a beautiful tribute to Katlin and boldly explained the only way to God and the only way to Heaven is through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. AMEN! According to her pastor, Katlin knew and loved Jesus. I’m very thankful…we know where she is today…in His arms.
Four girls and one boy climbed into my car as we drove in the procession to the cemetary. Silence filled my car, except for a few sniffles here and there. It was bitterly cold. The kids walked quickly to the grave site after we parked. I walked a few yards behind, trying to imagine what Karen and Jerry, Katlin’s parents were going through. Unbelieveable pain filled my heart for them. The girls each touched the casket and said goodbye before walking back to the car. As I was walking back by myself, something made me look to the left. I couldn’t believe what I saw…my friend Jill’s grave stone. I hadn’t been back to the cemetary since her body was buried there that day, just a few days shy of a year ago. I walked over to her grave…the stone was absolutely beautiful…tears streamed down my face as I touched the stone and soaked in how beautifully it was decorated with valentine decor…hearts, red artificial flowers and a big red heart hanging behind the stone.
Walking back to the car, the tears were stinging my face as it was so cold outside. The kids eventually came to the car. I pointed out Jill’s grave to Ali…my heart broke as she cried even harder. Jill was so special to Ali, and how hard this has been for her to grieve Katlin’s death which is so fresh, as she also grieves Jill’s death of almost a year ago. We drove back to the school for the funeral luncheon.
I drove home…thinking of how Katlin’s family will get through the next days, weeks and months. I unloaded the trunk filled with food for the soon-to-be arriving kids at our home when I arrived home. Bill already had part of the meal in the oven. Soon our basement was filled with over 30 teenagers. It was fun to hear them laugh again, sharing memories and encouraging each other. They played the Wii, ate, drank lots of lemonade and just had fun together. It did my heart good, and I think it did Bill’s too. We sat upstairs in the living room…taking it all in as we did nothing but watch American Idol.
Today…I’m hanging on to hope. I’m trusting God through all of this. I know He’s in charge. I know He’s in control, no matter how out of control I’m feeling. And I’m thankful for that. As I’m in what seems the busiest days of my life, I know I need to seek Him and continue to do what He’s calling me to do. As I’m grieving Katlin’s and the anniversary of Jill’s death, I need to remember to go to God in my grief. Only He can give healing that lasts. As in these next three days I’ll be driving over 400 miles to different events and functions, I will trust God to protect me, to protect my family and I’m praying He gives me great joy. I am also praying for God to meet Ali in her grief, to give her what she needs in each moment. He knows her even better than I do, and I’m thankful she loves Him and loves Jesus.
Hanging on to hope…
Today’s scripture on my calendar says…You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. –Job 11:16.