Today is a day that will be filled with both tears of sorrow + tears of joy. Two years ago, my brother-in-law was killed in a motorcycle accident. A-Dub was a man of few words, but whenever he opened his mouth, the usual thing to follow was laughter from everyone around. It doesn't seem real that seven hundred and thirty days have passed since he breathed his last breath, and sometimes I still find myself wondering why it happened at all. Those moments of questioning are always answered by the confidence in God that I have been granted access to through Jesus Christ, and His grace has been + will remain sufficient for even my deepest doubt and despair. The struggle has been hard for so many these past two years, but it has been so refreshing to see eyes begin to light up with thankfulness instead of mourning whenever Andy's name is mentioned. Sure, we all still mourn, each in our unique ways, but we have all been learning how to be more intentional with our time + with the people who mean the most to us through the loss of our beloved family member + friend.
That dreadful July night was filled with a lot of things many of us had never experienced before, and I never thought I would ever look back on the sixth of July without feeling the heaviness of despair. That all changed last year, only one year later, when my mighty, merciful God showed me, yet again, how great + good He is when my little brother, Dustin, after years of wanting nothing to do with "religion" or "God" sat on my couch and prayed with me with a sincere heart for the very first time. The previous two months before his confession were overwhelmed with satan's schemes, but they were no match for the Author + Perfecter of our faith. It was then, on the same day that I never imagined I would ever be thankful for, that Dustin confessed Jesus as Lord and became a follower of the risen Savior, Christ Jesus. Once again, my Father took the ashes and made something beautiful from them. Once again, my Father showed me that no matter how hopeless a situation seems, He is bigger + more powerful than them all.
There are still many people that I pray salvation over throughout each day, and though it gets rather exhausting to be faithful in those prayers (especially when my eyes behold such little fruit), I am constantly reminded by my God that it's worth it. The tears I cry are always wiped away by the One who loves me enough to cover me with His feathers + protect me from every single lie that the enemy tries to get me to believe. Yes, death is hard, but praise be to Him who declared that death no longer has a hold on us. Because of Jesus + His love for us, our bodies will experience death, but our souls, the souls of His sons + daughters, never will.
On this day, a day that our God has replaced hopelessness with hopefulness in just two years' time, my prayer is that more eyes will be unveiled + more voices will cry out to the God of salvation in repentance. I believe that the King of Heaven can take your ashes and make them beautiful, just as He did for Dustin just last year. Do you believe it?
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."