Two years ago this evening was the accident that changed our family forever. In these last two years, we have learned so much.
What it's like to plan a memorial service and funeral with a teensy casket. What it's like to feel you are going out of your mind with grief. What it's like to have your loved ones bend over backwards and lay down their lives for you in their support. What it's like to have an entire community back you and grieve with you.
What it's like to have your worst nightmare come true and be every bit as horrible as you ever imagined, but what it's like to have the all-consuming love of a Holy and Sovereign GOD wrap his arms around you and never let go.
You see, before this tragedy struck our family, I was big on fear. Fear that a family member would die. Fear that I would die and leave my children numb with grief for the rest of their lives. Fear of this, fear of that. Fear, fear, fear. And it ruled my life. I would lay awake at night imagining what it would be like. And it was so horrible, it would bring me to tears.
Somewhere along the way, I wondered if maybe it wouldn't really be as horrible as my imagination led me to believe. I even started getting the idea that maybe the anticipation was more horrible than it would actually turn out to be.
Well, I found out... and the answer is no. It really is that horrible.
I faced my own grief at the loss of my precious nephew whom I held when he was one hour old. My nephew whom I spent his entire first week of life with in the hospital. My nephew who I would never get to know. But worse than that, I had a front row seat to watch my sister grieve her child, her baby, her heart. For me, that was the hardest part as I watched Kate walk the road of grief so long and arduous that I would spend hours on my knees, begging God to relieve her suffering.
Yes, it really was that horrible.
You see what I never could imagine in my anticipation of a loved one dying was the other side of the coin... the other "part of the deal"... that comes with the grief - the all-consuming love and comfort of Christ Jesus, our Lord. I have never known his love, his presence, his everything, until I knew deep grief of the soul. I always anticipated the horror, but I never knew how beautifully God would show himself to our family in that time. And I never knew how sufficient it would be.
Although many lessons have been learned, that is the treasure that has stayed with me the longest. I am no longer ruled by fear. NOT because I am a strong person - I am not. NOT because I am a smart person - I am not. Only for this reason: Because before the accident, I had heard about and believed in God's love. After the accident, I KNEW God's love.