Since the day I heard about you, I have not stopped praying for you. I continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way. I pray that you would bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God and that you would be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might. I want you to have great endurance and patience while you give joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued you and me from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (paraphrase from Colossians 1)
There are just some days that get burned into our soul. This weekend was once a special celebration for our family. It is the weekend of my mother-in-laws birthday and the anniversary of my mom and dad. What made it even more joy-filled was that it was my anniversary too. But that all changed at the end of 2005 after 20 years of marriage. I have great compassion for people that lose someone special. There appears to be an unseen connection to the day that they were no longer there...something in you changes...its as if your body knows intimately the emotional DNA of your life and is deeply connected to it. So every October, on this weekend I remember. I'm flooded with emotions. I smile. I cry. I need the great endurance and patience Paul speaks of. I continue to give thanks...joyful thanks to the Father. Someone once said don't pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one. For all of my friends that feel the loss of someone close right now, I pray for you and for God's strength to keep growing in you. I pray that you will see new fruit...that your knowledge of God would increase and that you would continue to understand His purposes in all that happens and when you don't understand, you'll just love Jesus.
Tomorrow on what would have been year 29 for me, I will stand on a stage in front of the greatest church in the world and preach about hope. I'll let them know that God is IN every storm and you just have to accept that by faith. That broken crayons still color. I will rejoice in my three incredible children and their beautiful spirits. I will bless those whose presence in my life is felt in a much different way than before. And I will think about my parents 57th year together and Memaw's birthday, and give joyful thanks to God for all of them. And I won't stop praying for them and for you.
Jesus redeems. Jesus forgives. Jesus loves every one of us.