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. … Continue reading
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. “
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.”
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?
Here is a my faith story from the CBF- LA Spring Assembly at Church for the Highlands on May 7, 2011.