This morning, I read about a little girl, Taylor Smith, who wrote a letter to her future self with clear directions not to open until 2023 ( unless otherwise noted) . In the letter she encouraged herself to seek God no matter how life turned out. Taylor died unexpectedly a few days ago and soon after, her parents found this beautiful treasure. The faith of this little girl was inspiring and, of course, I cried my eyes out. How can her parents go on?
For the past week or two we have been begging God to heal my pastors son, Luke who was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. The whole time, my pastor and his family leaned on the Lord and trusted Him no matter what He willed. Amazingly, Luke's surgery went better than expected and he seems to have minimal side effects. The thousands of us who prayed for him proudly proclaimed, "Praise God!" "God is Good" and "He answered us". God was glorified and lives were touched and I am so so thankful. But what if God chose to use Luke in a different way and took him home to Heaven? Would He still be good? Could we still proclaim, " Praise God?" Would that mean, He didn't answer us? Is God good to Taylor Smith's parents?
Today, E woke up with similar symptoms as this little girl who died last week. She had a fever and has been throwing up. Symptoms that all of our kids have had before. What if God chooses the same fate for my baby girl? Honestly my mind can't even entertain that thought because He doesn't promise grace to imaginary circumstances. But I want my heart to be ready no matter what comes our way. When He took my dad, I really struggled. I wondered if He was good, I wondered if He was even real. I could not believe Proverbs 3:5-6. My heart was not prepared to handle that kind of tragedy. I thought it was but I didn't have the truths that He is good, He is sovereign and everything He does is for my good and His glory stored in my heart. I didn't know that His definition of good, is for me to look more like the image of His Son. Life is beyond terrifying without the peace that only God can bring. I have actually woken up in the night with panic attacks begging him not to take my children. Yes, I am a Christian but I struggle to trust him and always have since I can remember. I am afraid to die and afraid for my children to die. I have believed the lie that this is just how I am and there is no hope of true peace and I will always be afraid. But I am seeing a light, a small twinkle at the end of a tunnel. I am seeking Him in His word. It sounds so simple and something we have all heard before but His word and His truths are the only way to be completely satisfied in Him. You will never have real peace without it. Does this mean that we won't grieve? No, there is no worse torture in this world than the agony of grief and I still feel it over the loss of my dad. But there is comfort in God. God in His mercy is showing me these things through His word, my husband and church.God used Luke Sprott's aneurysm and the faith I saw in my pastors family to cause me to seek Him and want to trust Him. I am committed to His word and clinging to the promises that HE IS GOOD NO MATTER WHAT. I am claiming Proverbs 3:5-6!
What about this mommy who just lost her little girl. How can they proclaim that God is good even though He chose to use Taylor by taking her to Heaven? Read what she wrote, read what her little girl wrote. Seek Him! Read His Word! Trust Him!
Here is the link to Taylor Smith's letter to her future self. http://www.viralnova.com/12-year-old-letter/
Here is what her mom, Mary Ellen Smith wrote on her FB status. All I can is WOW! This precious, grieving mommy knows that God is good no matter what and God is using her and He is being glorified through this horrible tragedy. This makes me want to know Him even deeper.
I want to share a few things from the outside looking in that you may be wondering. What happened? Why? How could this happen?
Taylor Smith had just returned late January 1st from a six day trip with our youth group. She was so excited to be home and to share with us about her trip. It was the last conversation we would have as a family of four. The kids took turns showing us pics and videos from their time at the One Thing conference. We had asked what their big take aways were. Taylor had been greatly impacted by dancing to a song by Misty Edwards called Shine Like the Stars. The verse literally says: we will shine like the stars, we will live after we die. We actually downloaded the song right then and there so we could all have it in the coming months to worship with. Her other big aha moment was about the importance of being "hot" in our faith toward God rather than just "lukewarm". There is a passage in Revelation that speaks of this if you want to look it up. This was interesting to me as a mother because Taylor was the least lukewarm person I know. I know every mother thinks her child is amazing but Taylor loved (and lived) out her relationship with God in such a big and outward way that we were often challenged and led by her spiritually. Her hope for 2014 was to share this idea even more with her friends and see her generation ablaze for His kingdom.
The hard truth. Taylor woke up the next morning with fever and some achiness. She had had a flu shot in the fall. The next morning she saw a doctor and was treated for flu. She got worse rather than better and literally was talking to me one minute and unconscious and in heaven the next. We don't know a medical reason why yet and may never. (as of now we've been told it was from complications with pneumonia. We had been assured that there were no signs of pneumonia whatsoever on Friday when she was at the Doctor.)
My why revelation: This is not a bad thing happening to a good person. This is a hard thing happening to a world who loved a brilliant person. I was reminded last night how I have puzzled over why God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. She was close in age to Taylor, An unmarried girl. I always wondered how did he choose her. I had a revelation of sorts related to this going through a box of Taylor's things last night. We were looking for some things to share with you at her memorial service and we grabbed her special box from her room. The box was full of God. Her journal, which every entry was a scripture, a prayer, an exhortation to herself to live more Him, or a wondering about Him. A book of poems. A book of sketches. Letters undelivered encouraging others in their faith. A gratitude journal. And my favorite, a letter to her future self with reminders to do more for God. She was full of God. She was in middle school. Public school. Where our culture says life is about being famous for all the wrong reasons, or boys and crushes, or sex, or your parents being idiots,or being popular. Her box of her most secret things contained not one jot or tittle of what our culture says twelve years old are. She was like Mary. She was looking and longing not for the things of this world but for the Messiah. I am not trying to be sacrilegious. It was just an aha moment of the "why" for me. She was chosen of God. She wanted to change this world for His Glory. She wanted as many people as possible to be reconciled to him as possible. God saw her heart, heard her prayers, and answered her. We pray for revival. We pray to be used. Then we need to be prepared for the possibility that sometimes the road to his kingdom coming isn't paved with gold and the American dream but rather dirt and blood like the way to the cross was for Jesus. Jesus' life wasn't easy. I'm sure as his mother Mary's was equally as challenging. Sometimes the answered prayers are hard roads and gaping holes. My world is forever changed. You will never shut me up again about the truth of who God is. I am praying that my life is not the only one changed. That many will be hot for him in 2014 and shine like the stars. Revolution is coming. He is coming. Love you all. Love well.