Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Picture of God's Grace

Last night was an extremely difficult one for my family. My oldest brother, Mike, died while we were at the hospital. Mike was only 45 years old and had been sick for a while, so his death was somewhat expected, but it was difficult nonetheless. Luke and I were so thankful God allowed us to be with my parents when he passed. We were able to be a great support to them at a time when they really needed us. Watching my parents lose their firstborn son was so painful--I've never experienced anything like it. But I have learned so much over the last 24 hours of how God is true to His promise of pouring out grace to believers during times of trial.

I have written often on this blog of God's sovereignty and how I cling to the promise that He is in control over everything. Yesterday morning (or maybe it was Thursday evening, all my days are kind of blurred right now) I came across this post on one of my favorite blogs. I know that giving me this to read was yet another act of God's goodness and Sovereignty. Here's the link if you want to read the full post:

To give a quick summary, the author was writing about how we tend to fear too much when we see someone going through a trial. Instead of praising God for His faithfulness in helping this person through their ordeal, we immediately succumb to the fear of "How would I handle that situation?" and worry that it could also happen to us. It was a great reminder of how God does promise to give Christians grace during times of trial. I shared what I had read with my mom yesterday afternoon, just hours before Mike died. My mom is a Christian so she already knew the truths I was telling her, but it was a good reminder for her and I know she was encouraged by it. Little did I know when I was sharing it that I would get to see God's grace poured out on her just hours later.

Mike died about 8:00 last night while Luke and I were at the hospital, along with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and a cousin. Everyone of course was very upset, but I was especially concerned about my parents. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to support and comfort them. I stood behind my mom and held her for about 1 1/2 hours while she held Mike's arm and tried to memorize his face. She kept saying that she didn't want to leave, that she didn't like the thought of them taking him away. Holding on to my mom while she let go of her beloved son was so hard that it's difficult to even write about it. But even though she was deeply grieving I will forever remember how throughout the night she was such a picture of God pouring out His grace on one of His own.

At about 9:30 we left the hospital room. I was standing beside my dad as everyone was getting their stuff together to leave, when I looked over at my mom. She was standing at the foot of Mike's bed, looking at Mike with such a sad face. But despite her sadness and deep grief at leaving her son, she was also such a picture of strength. She was very composed and it was almost as if I could see God pouring His strength into her body. It was an image I will never forget. It also reminded me of the blog I had read and enabled me to later praise God for giving her that strength, instead of succumbing to fear over what would I do in her situtation. I thank God for giving me that blog to read, and for giving me such a strong Christian mother to be a godly example in how to handle trials.

Please be praying for my family. The next few days are going to be so difficult. I am going this afternoon to shop with my mom for Mike's burial clothes. This is going to be an incredibly difficult and emotional shopping trip, but after last night I know God will pour out His grace upon us. My younger brother is flying in from Louisville today and will be able to be with my parents 24/7 for the next few days. I'm so thankful for that, because I know his pastoral training and sensitive spirit will be a great help to my parents. I just spoke with my dad and it looks like the funeral is going to be on Wednesday, with the visitation Tuesday evening. Please pray for my family especially during those times. We thank you so much for your prayers, and we praise God for His faithfulness and grace that He has promised to give us. To God be the glory....



Anonymous said...

Stacie & Luke,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this very difficult time. Your parents are very fortunate to have you and your younger brother to help them through this. Let us know if there is anything we can do... I'd love to watch the boys for you at any anytime.


Neel said...

You have a great blog!! Please visit mine too. It also deals with Jesus and our relation with him:

It will be updated every week!!