“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”-Marcus Tillius Cicero

Death is a difficult thing to comprehend.

Even if you believe in life after death, as I do, more often than naught it just fills us with so many questions, which can be answered in ways we don’t like, ways we don’t understand, or sometimes cannot truly be answered by our own logic at all.

Why does someone die? Because their purpose is fulfilled? But then why must it be fulfilled so young? How is that even possible when so many people live to be 100 or more? Why must the leave us? And why does it have to happen so suddenly? Why does it have to be so hard?

I had a friend of mine from high school who died today. Very unexpectedly, after a tragic accident at work, and now she is gone.

Our stubborn and strictly human/earthbound state of mind brings us to say things like “It’s not fair,” or “She died too soon,” or even to question why she had to go…
I believe that every person is specifically called away from their life on earth by Jesus Christ when the time is right–when their purpose has been fulfilled, or they have lived life to the fullest extent that He intended for them. But even knowing and believing that in my heart, when death calls a loved one it is so difficult to wrap my mind around it, to fully comprehend it, and to accept it. I’ve been sitting here all morning, crying, and asking myself those same questions I listed up above…Why?Why did she have to die so young? She had just gotten married a matter of months ago, she was going to school, she was surrounded by family, she was living life, and it just seems so hard to believe that she ran out of life to live in this realm. Again, my shockingly human mind tells me that it is unnatural for someone to die so young. We are at a time in our lives where we are supposed to be getting married and having children, not dying…death is supposed to be for when we are old and grey and wiser, more experienced, and surrounded by children and grandchildren…right?

But, even though this is one of those things that is just a struggle to comprehend, I am grateful to be reminded that she did lead a full life. She grew up, made memories, graduated from high school, lived, loved with all her heart, laughed til she cried, fell in love and got married, etc. And most importantly, she had an opportunity to love God and share His light with others. She has stepped out of this human frame of life, but she is still alive, living in her eternity. Her life did not get cut short, but merely moved to the eternal realm.
We will all always miss her, and of course we think of what a tragic loss this is for us. From the eternal perspective of God, however, and now her as well, she did not lose anything, but gained the freedom that she knew she would inherit from her Savior one day. Now she is able to put off the struggles of human bondage, and live a sinless life in heaven where she can dance, sing, laugh, praise, and love her God and Savior in ways she never knew existed til now. And she can wait for those of us who will join her again when God personally calls us as well.

I won’t say rest in peace, because I actually hope that you, Carol Singletary, will rejoice in your new life, being happy to be free in a way you never would have been able to imagine.
We love you.

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“Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now.
Be quiet and wait for a voice that will say,
‘Come awake from sleep. Arise.
You were dead–become alive.
Wake up, wake up, open your eyes.
Climb from your grave into the light.’
Bring us back to life.
You are not the only one who feels like the only one.
Night soon will be lifted, friend.
Just be quiet and wait for a voice that will say,
‘Rise, rise, to life, to life.’
Shine.
Light will shine.
Love will rise.
Light will shine.
He’s shining on us now.”

-David Crowder Band

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“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18

“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like
a flower in the field; for the wind passes over it, and it
is gone, and its place knows it no more.”
Psalm 103:15-16

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though He cause grief,
He will have compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast
love; for He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”
Lamentations 3:31-32

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are
at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away
from the body 
and at home with the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:6-8

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“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again,
and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
John 16:22

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“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.”-Sarah Dessen

Did you know that the lotus flower blooms from the depths of muddy waters?

It unfolds after breaking through the murky surface, to face the light. It closes and sinks beneath the surface once darkness falls each day. Despite repeatedly going beneath the waterline, the impurities never affect it–it remains pure and healthy. And it always, without fail during the course of its life, opens up again in the morning to face the sun.

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“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:19-23

“It is well with my soul…”
You know, those words often put me to shame. To say them and to understand their meaning and apply it to your life means that you are totally and completely trusting God. You’re letting go of it and giving it to Him. As a Christian, I like to think that I am trusting God and His purpose for my life, but as a flawed human being who is in need of His grace, redemption, and salvation, it shames me to realize that I don’t fully put my trust in Him quite as often as I think.
It’s hard!
But nobody ever said that it would be easy, and it’s something that we all struggle with.It is something that I’m struggling with even now. I’ve been through so much emotionally and mentally even in just the last 6 months, and it was not always easy to see His blessings in the darkness. I’ve been living in my current city for about a year and a half and this last part has been so terrible that I would like to forget about it and never think of it again.
But I think back to when I first moved here over a year ago…I was so excited. I had prayed about it, I had visited, I was ready because I knew in my heart that my longing to be here was instilled in me by the knowledge that it is where God wanted me to be. There was a purpose, even if I didn’t know what it was yet–even if I didn’t stumble across that purpose for 5 or 10 years! Now, as I’m working through a bit of a depression and preparing to take a break and leave for a while, I had this thought…what if God put me here to go through this trying experience?Not to torture me, because He would never do that, but to teach me. To force me to look at the strength of my relationship with Him and fortify it.
That is a really, really hard one to swallow. My automatic thought in response to that is, “Well it freaking sucked, so thanks a lot!” But that shouldn’t be my response…My response, from my heart, even if it’s with tears in my eyes, and the sting of pain still tangible, should be, “Okay.I see what You did there, God. And it is well with my soul.” It is so hard to make myself look at this recent time that I went through and see the good that has come out of it. So hard. But, as I’m being reminded, I will continue to see the benefits from it for myself and for others in my life, for the rest of my life. God will never give me something useless. It was an experience that has made me stronger and given me a foundation for helping others who might be in a situation that I can now identify with. And, most importantly, it has drawn me closer to Him.