There have been too many deaths lately. I know death is all around us and people die every day, but there are some deaths that pull you up short. There are those that send your own mortality colliding right into your comfort zone.
My friend, Christina’s death was like that because I realized that it could have just as easily been me. It was difficult for my kids because they’re friends with Christina’s kids and they realized it could have just as easily been their mom.
Then, there was the local kid who was killed in a car accident Friday afternoon. I didn’t know him personally, but I don’t think that matters. Once you become a parent, you can’t help but be touched by a child’s death. You can’t help but have your heart break for the family who is living your worst nightmare.
This kid’s death was on everyone’s lips this weekend. He attended a fairly small private Christian school that a bunch of kids from church attend. His dad has been a pediatrician in the area for nearly two decades, so many of my friends and their children were acquainted with the family.
Still, even total strangers were heartbroken for this family who lost their 18-year-old child so unexpectedly.
One of my friends on Facebook posted that she prayed that God’s “presents” would surround the family. I know it was a typo – or maybe her helpful computer or phone filled in the wrong word for her, as they have a habit of doing. I couldn’t help thinking about that this weekend, though.
God’s presents do surround us. Daily. And, so often, we take them for granted. Our spouses are God’s gift to us. He uses them to encourage, support, and refine us. He uses them to show His love to us.
Our children are a gift from God.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3
Them, too, we take for granted when the days seems so long, while the years are so short. Wouldn’t it put things into perspective if we knew that we were barreling ahead to the day they would be taken from us? I can’t imagine how short the days would seem with that perspective.
The indwelling and guidance of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God.
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38
Even enjoying our lives and our professions and finding opportunities to do good is a gift from God.
“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
God’s greatest gift, however, is the gift of salvation. I know that Christina’s family and this young boy’s family have found comfort in knowing that their loved one is now with their Savior.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8
Have you accepted Christ’s gift of salvation? That is God’s greatest gift to you – the one that enhances the enjoyment of all the others. If you’ve never accepted Christ, I’d love to talk to you about how you can. I don’t have all the answers and I’m not gifted at sharing the truth of God’s word, but I’m willing to let Him work through me. Email me if you want to talk.
If you’ve already accepted Christ, I encourage you today (and this goes for me, too, because I’m just as guilty as the next person) to take time today to fully enjoy God’s presents – His gifts to you. Hug your children and your spouse. Invest in time with them.
Make every moment count because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow. Life could be over in the blink of an eye. Let’s make sure we’re living it to its fullest.
And, if you think about it today, say a prayer for the Baughman family – the mom, dad, younger brother and sister – and all the friends and family who will be laying this young man to rest today and grieving their loss while celebrating his life. Pray that God’s presence will surround and comfort them.
One of your best posts.
I feel your sadness. We've had too many deaths here too. My kids lost a grandfather last week, and a local boy was killed in Afghanistan. But God is good, and He is working around and through us — certainly through you today! Thanks for sharing your msg.
I've been thinking about you and your family and wondering how you've been doing since Christina's death. I understood your pain and knew the internal struggle you'd have to face in persevering through your school days. I think about Christina's family, too, and wonder about how they are "moving on." Your words today about "worst nightmares" are right on the money. While my older children were going through public school, it seemed like we were hit with one death after another that touched us in some way, with so many being kids their own age. I'm afraid my oldest children have been to more funerals in their young lives than I have in my whole life. I haven't taken the time to count though. I've just done what I could to pull my children closer and cherish my time with them, all without smothering or restraining them, or letting on to the stress I felt whenever I had to "let them go."
Finally, I wanted to say "Bravo!" … and "Well done, good and faithful servant!" It's not my job to say those words to you though. You will receive your reward someday … and I pray that many others will too, after being blessed by the words in your blog, your encouragement to choose Christ as their Savior, and your offer to help them to do just that.
I'm blessed to have the opportunity to read your blog. Thank you for always sharing from your heart.
"Thank you" seems inadequate, Jane. You can't know what your words have meant to me today and how they've blessed me. Thank you.
Christina's family is doing pretty well. They have their good days and bad days, as can be expected, but they're trusting in God and leaning on Him. They're carrying on with the last semester of this school year with some plans that fell into place for them with regards to a co-op and help from extended family and friends and the dad is already making plans for how the next school year will be accomplished with more normalcy and "at home" time for the girls. I think it's going to be a good plan and I'm praying that God will help the dad choose the right "village" to make it happen.
Thanks, Jen. Praying for your family in the loss of the boys' grandfather.
I love this! God's Presents to us are the most important things we could ever have and I love how you've reminded me of it and how you've written this! His Presents of my husband, my little boy, my family, my friends, our church family, and most importantly His present of a life knowing Him, complete with a promise of eternal life!
Thanks so much!
Oh Kris, I can really relate to your emotions here. Since September, we have suffered two tragix losses in our circle. First a friend's perfectly healthy husband died suddenly, leaving her with brain cancer and two young boys. Then, our extended family lost its youngest member one month ago. These experiences have brought me face to face with the truth that life truly is a vapor and that each moment we have is a gift to be cherished and grateful for! May God surround this family, Christina's family and yours with His peace, presence, presents and hope!
If your heart is up for it, here are two link to the story of the little one we lost. I share them to testify to God's goodness and grace, even in the worst suffering a parent could imagine:
My heart goes out to you and your family, Natalie. What devastating losses you've suffered. My prayers to you, as well, for peace and comfort.
Kris ~ I have so appreciated the grace with which you have written about these recent deaths, and the opportunity you've taken to segue into a call to consider eternity. You are beautifully following up on the commitment you made to the Lord to use this venue for HIS purposes. (Not exactly how you phrased, but what I heard you saying.) May He continue to indwell your words as you faithfully follow Him.
Thank you so much for your encouragement, Alene.