Bus wreck, Church bus accident, Loss, Overcoming loss, Tragedy, Uncategorized

Bibles and Bus Wrecks

Last Friday 17-year-old Sarah Hammering died in a church bus accident in Atlanta, GA. on her way to a mission trip. As I watched the video clip of her mother Karen read Sarah’s journal for reporters, I was tremendously moved. Sarah referenced Bible verses and reflected on participating in God’s divine nature, loving and serving the children of Botswana whom she called her “little buddies” and confidence in God’s desire to do great things. What a doll.

Her family looked shocked yet determined to wrestle eternal good from their sudden reality: a heap of metal, tire marks and luggage scattered across Camp Creek Parkway. Though stunned by grief, The Hammering’s default reaction was to seek a higher purpose. Let this one fact be known: Sarah will not have died in vain. This family is determined not to let this happen. The Bible verses their daughter journaled about will impact people whom she has never met.

This determination reminds me of the many ways to process loss. One way is to bring good, the other is to want everyone in the world to feel the pain you feel. King Solomon encounters the later in 1 Kings 3:16-28 where two mothers fight for custody of an infant. The women who lived in the same home each claimed that the living baby was hers. #sisterwivesprobs? After listening to each case, Solomon brilliantly asks for a sword to cut the baby as to give each mother half. The true mother begs him to let the child live while the mourning mother says, “do it!” If I have to suffer, then let everyone suffer is her attitude. It is a noble choice and only one born of God which can be on the front lines of fire fighting even after one’s home is a smoldering heap of ashes.

What God has covered this family with is the peace which passes all understanding. Not that their road will be easy but it can be eventually surprisingly  beautiful as God redeems this incredible loss. Despite our most valiant effort to live a painless life, no one I have ever met has been able to pull that one off. In the season of trial there will be just two choices: living a life we really don’t want to live or not living at all.  We can accept the challenge before us moment by moment with grace and dig in or choose to be miserable. We can take a deep breath and be part of the solution or scream because our lives should not be this way.

I am inspired by this family. I implore you to pray as I know the millions of prayers have been the gas in our family’s tank for eight years this July.

“Gradually we learn to trust the wounds and failures of life, which are much better teachers than our supposed successes.” -Therese of Lisceaux

Christian Faith, Loss, Overcoming loss, Uncategorized

Why? God Understands Your Suffering or Why God Understands Your Suffering

My friend, Robin, is on my mind and heart today as she attends the funeral of her husband, Kevin. They have two children; Harold and Henry. Harold was one of Maggie Lee’s favorite little people at school. The feeling was mutual as Harold bestowed the highest honor upon Maggie Lee posthumously: naming his cat after her.

There are no words to say at times like these, really. Nor will there be for a long, long time. There is, however, hope to be found in the wisdom of those who have walked the unenviable path of loss, a road we will all journey on sooner or later.

I found comfort in the faith and wisdom of Jerry Sittser in his book, A Grace Disguised. In those pages are his honest wrestling with God over losing his wife, mother and child in one car accident.  Here are his thoughts on God’s suffering;

“The Incarnation means that God came into the world as a vulnerable human being. God was born to a woman, Mary. He was given a name, Jesus. He learned to walk and talk, swing a hammer and wash dishes. God embraced human experience and lived with all of the ambiguities and struggles that characterize life on earth. In the end he became a victim of injustice and hatred, suffered horribly on the cross, and died an ignominious death. The sovereign God came in Jesus Christ  to suffer with us and suffer for us. He descended deeper into the pit than we will ever know. His sovereignty did not protect him from loss. If anything, it led him to suffer loss for our sake. God is therefore not some distant being who controls the world by a mysterious power. God came all the way to us and lived among us.

The God I know has experienced pain and therefore understands my pain. In Jesus I have felt God’s tears, trembled before his death on the cross and witnessed the redemptive power of suffering. The Incarnation means that God cares so much that he chose to become human and suffer loss, though he never had to. I have grieved long and hard and intensely. But I have found comfort knowing that the sovereign God, who is in control of everything, is the same God who has experienced the pain I live with every day. No matter how deep the pit into which I descend, I keep finding God there. “

Christian Faith, God, Loss, Maggie Lee for Good, Sharing God's Love

SO a God Thing!

When Maggie Lee was in Second Grade at Lakeview Elementary, I remember her rushing into my car at carpool line, bursting with excitement to share an amazing story. Eyes wide and face dancing with animation, she exclaimed, “Listen to THIS, Mommy….This is SO a God thing!”

Well, today, on the second anniversary of the bus wreck, SO a God thing happened that I could not keep this to myself.

Colleen Gibbs has been my bff since 7th grade. She was there for my first comedic performance at Camp Tejas. She worked in meeting planning for 12 years until I finally convinced her to book my events since both halves of her brain actually work. For her precious family’s Maggie Lee for Good project last October 29th, they held an art show at their home. This was no ordinary art show, there was a prayer station for my family, a build-your-own snack station and a fabulous display of Kathleen and Meredith’s art work.

Incredibly, The Doucettes raised $305.00 with this project and decided to donate the entire amount to our World Vision Child in East Khasi Hills, India; a girl named Rinky. Amazingly, just today when we returned from our trip to Houston, (Mimi got a new knee, LOOK OUT WORLD!) we received a letter dated 16/Feb/2011, thanking us for the donation. On October 29th, 2010, three precious curly-haired girls took on an art show as their Maggie Lee for Good Labor of Love. July 12th, 2011, their kindness boomerang-ed and fell into our laps at a most opportune time.

And, without a doubt, that is SO a God thing.

East Khasi Hills Area Development Program

“Greeting from me and my Family. Once again thank you very much for your love and your support to me and my family. I have received the gift you send me through World Vision. With this money we have spent school fees, school uniform, school bags, Gass Chulaspot, text books, exercise book and trousercloth. These items are very useful for me and my brother and my sister. It has helped the burden of my father. We do not have anything to give you in return but only my gratefulnessand gratitude and prayers for you. God bless you.”

Christian Faith, Loss, Sharing God's Love

Our Dear Jay

Jay Greenleaf died Tuesday Night.

At 49, this loving Christian husband and  father was on the golf course when lightning struck close enough to him to usher him away from those who love him most.

I thought I was un-shockable. I was wrong.  As I glanced down at his picture on the front of his program on Saturday, I thought, “Great picture of Jay. What in the world are we doing celebrating his life? How can his be?”

An instrumental force in launching Church for The Highlands less than a year ago, Jay was a master at showing people Jesus’ love and compassion, not just content with knowing of it himself.

Besides delivering Meals on Wheels and serving on a myriad of boards, Jay invested his life in his precious wife, Aprile, children Sam, Dylan and Maddie, their friends and so many other people.

John and Jay became fast friends when Jay asked John to coach Upwards Basketball with him 4 years ago. Our girls were in the same grade and John thought it would be fun. Little did he know when he agreed that Jay was the Bobby Knight of Upwards Basketball.

A guy whom he coached spoke at his service Saturday. He said of Jay, “I was clumsy, I’d fall down. A lot. But, Coach always encouraged me to get up.”

I think that’s a pretty amazing epitaph, don’t you?