*I wrote this post mostly for my heart sake… it’s not a super sunny post and it kinda feels all over the place, but it’s what my heart is processing and wanted to write and remember.
I don’t know why, but I love In Memory Of segments of shows like CBS Sunday Morning and Oscars and shows like that. I like seeing the lives that impacted our culture and society and that they are remembered even if their contribution was film making back in the 70’s or composing back in the 60’s or inventing in the 50’s or acting just this year.
There’s really so much about 2014 that my heart is still processing and although I can’t wait to jump into 2015 with everything it might bring with it… I’m still aching for those who lost loved ones this year and saying goodbye to 2014 means saying goodbye to the year they talked and walked and held their family members.
This year I have felt others losses in a way that I never before have. I think it’s because I’ve seen a lot of incredible families who have lived incredible stories and sacrificed and leapt and loved without counting the cost and yet none of them could imagine the sorrow ahead of them. I’ve watched as families went to great lengths to adopt and care for special needs kids and orphans only to have to give them back to their Creator as they died in their arms. I’ve seen moms of little ones and lots of ones who were taken from their families through accidents and cancer and there just isn’t the answers I want outside of hearing Jesus say “Casey, you have to trust me on this.”
In many ways, I grew up around the thinking that if you do things right, if you walk the narrow road, if you obey the law, if you do radical things for Jesus, if you keep yourself from sin, If you stay away from sinners, if you use wisdom, if you respect authority, if you listen to the right stuff, if you wear the right clothes, if you love the right person, If you eat the right food…. then your way will go well for you. Then you will be blessed. Then Jesus will be happy. You will live and live happy! You will be safe.
And while those things weren’t exactly spelled out in those words, I found that I was really good at finding what I found fit those things and living safely within them. I found it made me feel protected and approved of. Losing Asher was a HUGE eye-opener for me and a true test for the knowledge that following Jesus wasn’t about those things at all. And that being safe has rarely been in the cards for believers. You see, I was ALL about the stories of Daniel being saved from the mouths of the Lions and David killing Goliath… while staying blissfully ignorant of the millions who following Christ cost them their lives and their whole families.
So, I think God has used these precious sweet hurting families to teach me… to drive it into my heart that this life while so precious is so fleeting. And I can’t control my life or the life of my children through anything I do or act or obey. And so I feel like in a way, I am freed from a lot of fear that I once held onto… a fear that is very real because I know what it’s like to hold a lifeless child and beg God to wake you from this nightmare. A fear that because you found Him to be sufficient and enough and your everything through the darkest times that He will ask that of you again when you find you are loosening your grip on Him and fearing smaller and lesser things.
I find now that He’s replaced that fear with an urgency in my soul. An urgency that feels and looks a lot like brokenness, sadness, vulnerability and an incredible desire to speak up and speak what’s really going on. I’m used to being thrust into that place through tough early years of marriage and the loss of a newborn and a miscarriage. But I really don’t know how to walk myself into this place. How do I life out vulnerability and urgency when it comes at the cost of disappointing some closest to you because of how you raise your kids or the fact that you aren’t as conservative as they are, I don’t know what it looks like when there are so many hurting voices protesting and hurting feet marching and hurting girls being sold and people being killed. I don’t know what urgency and vulnerability truly should look like when homes and marriages of friends and family are being ravished by porn and my neighbors truly are poor but I feel used and resentful that they just want stuff from me day after day, when we struggle to stay on budget but we have so much more than they do. I don’t know what it looks like when I want to change the world but right now my main responsibility is to change diapers, I want to rescue all the orphans but already people think we are crazy, heck, at times we think we are crazy, for wanting more, I want to talk honestly with my relatives and long for close daily relationships but sometimes even just texting feels forced and awkward. I want to dig really deep and make life long relationships at church and invest in the friends I have slowly but surely been blessed with here in fort worth but I long for adventure and change and could move tomorrow and be ready. Something in me longs for foreign soil under my feet and at the same time aches for a place to truly feel like home.
I’m tired of wasting my breath and time on issues that while matter somewhat in where we attend church and how we view certain issues, they don’t matter a hill of beans when it comes to what the world needs most from those of us who know Jesus. Oh that those who don’t know Him would see us loving each other and defending each other and pressing into community even when it’s hard more so than being known for fighting different viewpoints and sides of theology. And since this world isn’t my ultimate home, that frees me up to focus more on what the Gospel would have us do or the way it would have us live over how it benefits us as Americans!
I’m weary of fearing Cancer with every ache and pain in my body. I can’t let the weight of getting it rule my day to day joy of the life I’m given today. Not when so many have lived out a life that shows that Cancer isn’t our biggest problem… sin is and Jesus already took care of that. He can and surely will be sovereign over some rouge cells that usually we don’t even know they are there until it’s a pretty bad situation. So no, I’m not going to fear something that could slowly take my life when so many things every day could kill this fragile body of mine and I trust God in all those unknowns.
I’m over trying to get friends to work on being better and fixing their own lives and rekindling their own marriage… when really they just need to come to the place where they are tired of the trying and striving and they throw all their hopes and fears onto Jesus and trust He is what they need. Oh that we are all willing to trust Him and let Him write our story and to let Him be the life changer! May we feel the freedom it is when we let go!
But letting go sometimes hurts deeply…. and right now, I’m crying for those who let go and let God unravel a story in their homes that brought untold Joy and more adventure than they probably signed up for…. but then also had challenges we might not ever know and sorrow so deep right now that all I can do is cry out to the One who carried me and so many others through the unimaginable and trust that His heart is good and His ways are so much higher than mine… or theirs … or yours… or anyone else’s.
Written in memory of….. Frank French, Bradley Joyner, Jenny Groothuis, Mattie Loux, Debbie Luckie, Christa Hyman, Jerrard and Lyndon Schumpert, Colby McDaniel and Kalkidan “Dimples” Qualls.… and all whose home going this past year has impacted me and has pushed me closer to Christ and long for Eternity more!
and in Honor of Kara Tippets who is showing us what dying to Cancer to the Glory of God looks like. Thank you Kara! You’ve changed my life through your vulnerability and honesty and speaking the truth of what dying for a Believer should look like.
When I said goodbye to Asher I found that THIS is one of the best messages on heaven and what it’s like!