One week ago today, July 7, 2017, we lost my husband’s sister to a tragic car accident involving an 18-wheeler. He received the call from his dad about noon and my husband immediately called me.
She was 43 years young. She was in her prime. She had dreams.
From what we understand, it was instant. No pain, no suffering.
Saturday we went and spent a few hours with his dad and step-mom at their house. Sunday we went to church. Monday we spent at the funeral home for visitation and again on Tuesday before the funeral that afternoon. Wednesday we were back at church and yesterday we spent the day together and enjoyed it with a walk, a movie and a visit to the used book store. Today my husband is back at work and so am I, at home writing.
I’m not one to say nice things about people once they are gone unless they were true while they were living. My sister-in-law had so much love to give. From the moment I met her she treated me like family. She truly was one who never met a stranger. She didn’t care where you had been or what you had done, she looked past those things. She loved her family. She wasn’t perfect, neither am I and neither are you, but she loved with all she had.
Every death we experience in this life, brings us closer to our own. It makes us stop and ponder our own mortality. It puts things into perspective, even if for a short while before we go back to living like it’s never going to happen to us.
But it will. It will happen. Each of us will pass from this life.
It doesn’t matter if a death is expected or unexpected, they each leave their mark and they each hurt in their own way.
The death of a child, a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a distant relative, a friend…they are all different.
I’ve lost all of my grandparents, a brother, uncles and aunts, cousins, my dad, and now a sister-in-law.
The one that affected me the most was my dad. It completely changed who I am. It left a hole in my heart that was unbearable. A hole so deep that it went straight through. I thought it would be there forever. That is partially true. That hole is still there but it’s filled with God’s love. I picture it like a knot in a tree…you can see the mark and you know something happened there but it’s filled in now. It just looks a little different.
His death affected me so greatly that I couldn’t attend my uncle’s funeral six months later and I couldn’t attend my grandmother’s funeral six months after that. I wasn’t ready.
I prayed every day for months that God fill the hole in my heart. He did and it took time. It wasn’t instant. I still pray that way when I’m more aware of it.
I learned a lot about God when I lost my dad. I think it was mostly because of how much I had to lean on the Word and who God was in my life, every moment of every day, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have made it.
Right now I hurt for her husband, her kids, her parents, her brothers and sisters, her family and her friends. The pain and loss doesn’t go away when the funeral ends. If anything, it’s more apparent when everyone else goes back to their regular, uninterrupted life, and yours is not the same. There is an empty place. There is a different atmosphere the person you loved used to fill. There are routines that are forever changed. There are realizations that come with time that you didn’t think about before. There are moments you don’t know what to do because you want them there so much. Even in all of this, you want people to stop looking at you with that look. You want things to be as normal as possible and realize that means a new normal. Life will never be the same as it was before.
I don’t know how people do it without God.
I wish there was a way to help people understand how good He is. How much He loves us. How much He comforts us. How much He sustains us. How much strength He provides for us.
I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to blaming God for bad things that happen in our lives, for the hurt we endure. When I lost my dad I had a heart to heart with God. In tears I told Him I was angry with Him and I wanted to blame Him for it all but that I was choosing to seek Him in all things instead. I wanted wisdom and understanding. I wanted to see His goodness in all of it. I didn’t want the enemy to win. I refused to let the enemy steal, kill and destroy anything else in my life.
There is no price I can put on the things I learned by seeking God during that time. It’s been over seven years now and I am still learning from it. I believe I will the rest of my life.
Each passing day and with each death experienced, I develop a deeper understanding of 1 Corinthians 15: 45-58 –
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
To know the Law, the Law of Moses, and understand that it pointed out the sins in people’s lives is a revelation in the Word. They weren’t just laws to live by – obeying these laws won’t get you into heaven – they were laws meant to shine a light on the sin in people’s lives and how much they needed God.
Adam was created flesh. His flesh sinned, his flesh died. We were created for a purpose. To love. When the flesh chose disobedience over love, God devised a plan – out of His love for us.
Satan thought he had won.
God made himself flesh, a living sacrifice. Jesus Christ. The Anointed One.
This is how we have victory over death. Death takes life away. Believing in Jesus gives us eternal life. It makes a way. It opens a door. It pulls us out of the grave and makes us walk in the reality of who God made us to be and what we are called to be: LOVE.
We will all perish one day. We will let go of this shell that houses our spirit and soul. The Word tells us the Law will not save us. The Word tells us that we have Christ living on the inside of us, that we were crucified with Him and that we have eternal life. There is hope once this flesh falls away. There is more once this flesh is no more. That is the victory. That is how satan loses. That is how his head is crushed under our feet – because God loved us enough to make a way. He didn’t let the story end when Adam sinned.
Don’t let your story end. Call on Him. Ask Him to give you wisdom and revelation in His Word. Take your victory. Refuse to be a victim of the enemy.
The verse that carried me through so many days when I wanted to give up and stop fighting the good fight of faith, was Jeremiah 33:3 –
Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
The words “great and mighty” don’t necessarily mean “good and happy”. They mean God will walk with you and talk to you and explain things to you, if you let Him.
I know where I’m going when I leave this body because I have victory over death.