Since I have so many things to catch you all up on, the following posts will be in no particular order. I shall write today, try again later this week and so on. Forgive my lack of things in the chronological order, but I will start with what is on my heart right now.
This summer, our school community lost two women in a tragic way.
One woman was Julie Willard. She was a mom of two boys, one already grown and one still in high school. I was blessed to know her because Nick taught her boys and she heard that I was a Thirty-One consultant. She opened up her home last fall and hosted a party, in which I was able to meet many of her friends.
What I noticed about Julie at that party was that she was always making sure that everyone was comfortable and happy. As I got to know her more and hear others mention her, I realized that she was a very charitable person who always gave of her time to step up and help anyone in need.
This summer, Julie passed away suddenly. And by suddenly, I mean she was texting a friend about a random thing one minute and 15 minutes later her son found her unconscious on her bed. She never woke up.
I cannot imagine the pain her family is still going through. No chance to say good-bye, words let unsaid, future plans left unmade. She will not see her boys get married or have children or see them find their dreams.
The second woman was Lisa Heath. From the moment that I met her, I always loved her name because my best friend's maiden name was Lisa Heathcote. Lisa Heath had battled cancer for a few years so her death was not a surprise, but rather a long, drawn out tragedy that still left the same results-she will never see her kids graduate, get married, have children...it is unfathomable to me.
Last summer, Lisa was told she wouldn't live much longer, but was miraculously healed. She was able to have another year with her family. She knew the cancer was back this past spring and just a few weeks ago, she went into liver failure. Yes, she had that extra year, but it was never enough.
I missed both of their funerals. Julie died on July 4th and her funeral took place while we were at camp the following week. Lisa died on July 26th and her funeral was while we were on our family vacation. I received the text from her best friend (also my good friend) while I was in the midst of the Thirty-One Conference. Everyone was around me, "Woo Hooing" about the new purse line and I looked at my phone and read, "She is in Heaven now in the arms of Jesus."
Have you ever been in one of those moments where your world stops while everyone else's keeps going? I sat there, stunned, tears rolling down my face while 16,000 other women kept laughing and smiling over bags with their friends.
I tried to get out. I left the room and tried to find a space where I could be alone to call my friend, but everywhere I looked there were people. In those moments, it suddenly becomes a mystery to how everyone can be so happy and not realize that you are screaming inside.
My heart is still hurting for her husband, who lost his partner in life. And especially for her kids, twins, who are in Abby's grade. They are too young to lose their mom. Although, is there ever an age where we are old enough?
I have no explanation for why these things happen. All I know is that it makes me appreciate the time that I do have with my family right now. So when I am getting frustrated because I have been interrupted ALL DAY while trying to write this (seriously, every time I sit down to type this, I get about a sentence in and one of my children needs something-and this is the girl who wrote two 10 page papers in one night in college and received awesome grades on them), I need to keep my attitude in check.
I am here right now. I am with my children. I am seeing them grow and reach milestones. I do not know how long I have left, but I want to cherish it all. We are given a sliver of our time here compared to what lies ahead.
And what lies ahead will be oh, so glorious. Julie and Lisa already know. They are not asking the questions or wondering, "Why God?" They are with their beloved, waiting for everyone else to taste what they now know.
To quote from one of my favorite passages in the Jesus Storybook Bible (not just for kids, people), "And the King says, 'Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more being sick or dying. Because all those things are gone. Yes, they're gone forever. Everything sad has come untrue. And see-I have wiped away every tear from every eye!'" And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, 'Look, I am making everything new!'"