A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about when the unthinkable happens. That was just a couple of weeks following the unexpected death of a homeschool mom in our support group.
I had no idea, at the time, that two short weeks later, we would face the same tragedy a second time or that this time, it would be one of my dearest friends.
Christina was one of my very first homeschool mom friends. She, two other moms and I were in an email group together when my family first began homeschooling in 2002. We realized that we all had girls about the same age, so we arranged to meet at a local park. The girls and the moms hit it off right away. Christina’s daughter is still Brianna’s best friend, nine years later.
Christina’s death is one of the hardest things I’ve ever faced. Not only is there the deep sense of loneliness that comes from knowing I’ll never see her again. Not only is there the heartbreaking thought the crushing grief her husband and children are facing. Not only is there the overwhelming sadness thinking of the milestones that are going to pass without the girls’ mom in their lives, but losing a dear friend so suddenly and unexpectedly at the young age of 35 also has a way of bringing the reality of your own mortality crashing into your personal space.
Losing Christina has shaken me to my core and caused me to reevaluate my life and my priorities. I’ve spent a lot of time letting the unimportant take precedence over the truly important. I keep thinking of a quote by Steve Jobs that I read recently:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?‘ And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
There are lots of things that we have to do that we don’t want to do, but that have to be done – like work, school, housekeeping, paying bills – but too often we get caught up in spending all our energy on the “have to’s”and letting the things that are truly important take a back seat.
My friend Christina loved her family and she truly enjoyed them. She spent the majority of her time with them and didn’t let all the typical American family busyness intrude on family time.
Christina enjoyed her friends. She made time for them and, as another friend said recently, she had a way of making each person she came into contact with feel appreciated and treasured as a friend. She was a giving and genuine person.
Today I’ll be attending a memorial service for Christina. I think she would be so pleased with the way her husband has arranged it. There will be a message from their pastor and a eulogy, followed by a prayer of remembrance for Christina and ending with a time of food and fellowship, listening to her music and sharing our memories as we all celebrate her life.
Her husband concluded the announcement with the comment that the memorial will be “absolutely casual.” Another friend thought this was completely fitting as she recalled a conversation she and Christina had a few months ago in which they discussed hating events where people were expected to get dressed up because it made the two ladies so uncomfortable.
This friend concluded by saying that she’d already decided to wear blue jeans because she knew that Christina would absolutely fine with that.
Yes, she would be.
While I don’t think I’ll ever understand why someone so genuine, humble, giving and loving as Christina was taken so early with a young family depending on her, I trust in the fact that God loves her and her family more than we do.
Christina’s legacy will live on in the kind, sweet, caring, witty, loving daughters that she raised. I also want her legacy to live on in me. As I said, her death has caused me to examine my life and I’ve come to some conclusions.
I want to get over myself. No more not doing something for someone else because it might inconvenience me. No more not taking the time to invest in relationships and make time for my friends. I want to cherish my friendships and let my friends know that I value our relationships.
I want to fully, deeply enjoy my family. No more letting the unimportant and temporary take precedence over the truly important and eternal. I want to make memories with my husband and kids. If I die tomorrow, I want them to remember the fun that we had together and to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I loved and cherished them and that they were more important to me than Facebook and blogging and whatever else I let consume my time.
I want to live life to it’s fullest because there are no guarantees. Everything that we hold dear can be taken in an instant. If I’m not living each day the way I’d want to live my last, then maybe it’s time to reprioritize.
Life is fleeting. I want to know, when I die, I have served my God well, loved my family deeply, and enjoyed my relationships fully.
I also want to know that, when my friends and family die, they know that they’re going to spend eternity with Jesus. Have you accepted Christ as your personal savior? Do you have a close and meaningful relationship with Him? If not, I would encourage you to rectify that right now. There is no promise of tomorrow.
The Bible says the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that:
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
If you haven’t already, admit to God that you have fallen short of His plan of your life and that you have disobeyed him. Believe that He sent His Son as the one and only eternal sacrifice for your sins.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
Finally, trust in Jesus as your Savior.
“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13
“The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” – John 6:29
I’ve always quietly lived my faith, not wanting to push it on others, but I heard a story one time about two ministers who were standing on the road holding a sign that said, “Turn back! Turn back!”
Everyone ignored them until they finally turned to one another and said, “Do you think we should change the sign to ‘The bridge is out?’”
It was a joke of course, but the truth is, if you were driving down the road at 55 miles an hour and I knew the bridge was out ahead, I’d do everything in my power to stop you from plunging to your death.
If you haven’t accepted Christ as Savior, you are barreling ahead toward certain death and an eternity in Hell. I don’t want to shove religion down your throat, but I do want to introduce you to my Savior if you haven’t met Him.
If you accepted Christ today or would like to, but aren’t sure, email me. I’d love to talk to you. There are no promises of tomorrow, so I’m putting my discomfort and dread of confrontation aside and asking you to examine your heart and see if you’re sure about where you’ll be spending your eternity because it could come sooner than you think.