Jennie and I have been married for nine years today! I remember the morning of our wedding day vividly. While my groomsmen were still crashed out at my place, I left the house early to drive around and process what was about to happen. The song, “Amazing Grace” came on the radio and I was singing along and thinking about this girl that God had brought into my life who was about to become my wife. I was overcome by the grace of God, that He would entrust such a delicate beauty to an ogre like me. Tears of joy and thankfulness began streaming down my face as I worshipped and asked Him to bless our marriage. I can only imagine what other cars thought was happening in the next lane!
Nine years later I still am blown away by God’s grace in giving Jennie to me. She is velvet coated steel. Her touch is soft and her soul is strong. There is no one I would rather do life with.
We have been through so much together. Sickness and health. Good and Bad. Life and death. We’ve done ministry all over the country. Seen God move in power through His Holy Spirit. We have brought four children in to this world and we have one waiting for us in Heaven.
I love you Jenni-flower. You have ravished my heart.
I love that the Bible describes children as arrows in the hand of a warrior. They are weapons to be launched out as bright lights in a dark world. As parents we are archers and our job is to do all we can to help them hit the target.
The honor of being a mom or a dad is that you are entrusted with one of God’s special little arrows. He wants you to fit each one to your bowstring, aim carefully, pull with all your might and then whenever He calls you to, you must let it fly. Our number one concern should be that while we had them in our hand we did everything we could to help them reach heaven at the end of their mission.
Jennie and I have been blessed by the Lord with four little arrows. Three are still in our quiver and one is now in the target. Lenya flew straight and true. Though her flight on this earth was far shorter than we thought or would have liked, she struck the dead center of the bullseye with great eternal impact.
We are not going to take a second we have with Alivia, Daisy or Clover for granted for we aren’t guaranteed how long we will have with them either. As long as God sees fit to trust them to our care they will be planted in the house of the Lord all their earthly days, and our absolute highest prayer for their lives is that, like Lenya is now, they would dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, matters more than this.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. (Psalms 127:4 NKJV)
Alivia was looking back in her daily devotional and re-read the entry from the day her sister Lenya went to heaven. When I got home today she was telling me about it, I was so blessed by her insight and sweet spirit I wanted her to share it.
While on a recent trip to the coast Alivia snapped this polaroid of Jennie and I staring out into the mysterious and gloomy sea on a foggy day. When she showed it to me it seemed to perfectly encapsulate life for us right now. Our eyes are straining to see something that we can’t. The sun is hiding behind clouds and refusing to shine. Life is unfolding in muted colors and in a minor-key.
It has been six weeks since Lenya left this world. She is not gone, just out of our sight. In his book Heaven Randy Alcorn compared it to standing on a dock watching a ship sail away and head to the horizon. Though it seems like it is gone, when it finally disappears from sight, it is not. The ship hasn’t actually vanished, it has just gone somewhere else. To those at the port the vessel is heading to, it is just the opposite. The ship appears where you lost sight of it and grows as it draws near.
That is how we see this through the lens of faith. Our daughter set sail for Heaven 42 days ago. Though we can’t see her, we know that she is with the Lord. Her departure was also an arrival–a Homecoming.
Our eyes are teary and red, standing on the dock where we last saw her, struggling in vain to see even a small speck of her on the horizon. It feels like each day she is drifting further and further away and I hate the passing of time for it. I dread the thought that tomorrow it will have been 43 days since we snuggled and laughed and it seems she will slip away. In one sense that’s true, time is taking us away from our past together with her. But in another more real sense it is doing just the opposite. The day is quickly approaching when we will embark on the same voyage that she did and set sail for Heaven ourselves. As the hours and minutes pass we are getting closer and closer to our future together. Time is our friend, not our foe.
So even though it feels like “goodbye,” it’s actually, “see you soon.” And that brings great comfort to our melancholy hearts.