Thursday, February 26, 2015

Six Years

Thank you Lord for the bright sunlight streaming through my windows this morning. Those heavenly rays remind me of God's goodness today. Six years ago this day was covered in darkness, darkness that I carry with me each year. I want this year to be different.

Don't you just love this amazing picture taken by James' sister?

I spent yesterday afternoon journalling my feelings about this day and I gave myself a pep-talk about not sitting around in sorrow for what I've lost. My heart didn't listen to my head and this morning I woke up with tears. As I glanced at the clock I saw I still had 6 minutes before I needed to get out of bed. Six - February 26th - Six Years ago. I decided to spend those six minutes in prayer. I prayed for James' parents, his brother and sister, his nephews. I prayed for the families for the two passengers who were also killed six years ago. Those families have been on my mind this year. I pray for the pain they are feeling today and I also pray that the Lord will help them to heal and find forgiveness in all of this. It's a hard situation - oh hell it just completely and totally sucks - there it is. It sucks to lose someone you love. Okay, okay I can not sit here and go through what I've already poured out in my journal. I won't do it - I WILL NOT be sad today. I will rejoice in the time I had and the memories that were made, yet I really can't talk about them today either without tears - I know that will get better eventually.

Let's talk about what I can talk about (without tears).

Yesterday, I finished Raw Faith by Kasey Van Norman and I feel like God was working on my feelings about this tragedy as I finished this book.

This verse that she touches on reminded me a lot of what I went through after James' passing.

You know that when your faith is tested, 
your endurance has a chance to grow. 
So let it grow, for when your endurance
is fully developed, 
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:3-4

If there is any event in my life that tested my faith it was the tragedy that occurred six years ago. I spent so much time in the "Whys" and "How Comes." I couldn't not grasp how God could let this happen. 

Here are also a few quotes that spoke to me yesterday from Kasey's book

When painful circumstances come our way, we're not just called to roll over and play dead in passive acceptance. We're to use the trials to grow our faith and to make it stronger...

...we can see suffering as a season that breeds prayer, compassion for others, a deeper sense of self-reflection, and the kind of humility that knocks out all traces of arrogance and self-reliance. 

The pain doesn't go away, but now our trials have purpose. Our faith is no longer determined by our actions; instead, our actions are motivated by our faith. Life is defined not by "I have to" but instead "I get to" 

Those may not make perfect sense to you and actually I am not sure exactly what I was thinking when I marked them, but they are great things to remember. 

Six years ago I pledged that James' death would not be in vain, that I would make sure that I spread his story, thus the reasoning for a tattoo that stretches down half of my right leg. That message looks different today then what I had envisioned. The message that I want to give you today is this:

You've been given one amazing life and God added to that the amazing Grace that we receive through his son Jesus Christ. One life, it could last 105 years, it could be gone tomorrow - what will you do with your one life? Who will you touch? 

And I believe I say this every year, but now is the time to tell the people you love how much you love them. Tell them today because we are not promised tomorrow. 

To read more on James' death, here is the post I wrote a year after his passing:

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