Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. We are going to do something tonight we have never, ever done on our anniversary before. My husband is officiating a funeral.
For a man who was murdered.
His 14 year old son has been charged and sits in an adult jail cell today.
We did not know the man. But we do know the son because he has been a part of our church family for several years. Z, as I shall call him, was in my children's quizzing group for two years and he was our top children's quizzer. I found him to be extremely bright with a sweet and quiet way about him. Oh, that doesn't mean he didn't like to pester the other kids - he liked to do that quite a bit. But he was always polite, always kind, and as obedient as any other boy.
We don't know what happened or if Z is really responsible. As expected, rumors abound and the media is having the time of their lives with the whole story. We are praying that the truth will prevail and that no matter what that truth is, that Z's spirit and heart will be protected. At the moment he is going to be tried as an adult but that may change as new details are coming out regarding possible abuse of this boy and his younger siblings at the hand of their father.
All I know is that when I look into this young boy's eyes on my television every evening, I see a scared and frightened little boy that is carrying a burden far greater than I could ever know or imagine. My husband and our youth pastor have visited him in jail several times in the last few days and they are struck by his physical fraility.
My life has seemed so full of hard places in the last few weeks. I took a blogging break because circumstances completely wiped words from my heart and mind. I knew that I needed to take time to focus on Someone else's words - not mine. I have spent more time than usual in the Word and soaked in the wisdom and love of my Jesus. The hard places are still there - but I have been comforted, loved, and fed as I spend time with Jesus. He is not annoyed nor does He tire of my tears. In fact, He cries with me.
The Creator of the universe cries with me. That thought nearly takes my breath away.
There are good things that come out of being in a hard place. God is faithful to do what He calls making beauty from ashes. One of those beauties is that you are given the opportunity to draw closer to Him. Other things that used to seem so important and necessary fall behind and priorities are re-organized. I find that I just want to be with Him.
Another beauty is that when you are in the hard place with other people you tend to bond tightly together with them. A sweetness develops as you pray together, spend time together, and take care of each other.
I was singing Jesus Loves Me to my little granddaughter last evening. The words to that simple song are so meaningful and deep to me right now. I hope Z remembers those words too. Jesus loves you Z - the Bible tells you so. Little ones to Him belong, we are weak but He is strong.
So, although this is not the way I would have chosen to spend my 31st wedding anniversary, thirty one years married to a man in ministry has taught me that we will always deal with the unexpected. It's okay. We aren't in much of a celebratory mood anyway. God is taking care of us.
And ministry or not, we will often have to experience hard places. As I walk through the journey of the days that are given to me, some will be full of happiness and others will be full of tears. Neither one lasts.
Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. You are the greatest thing God has ever given me. I find it a deep privilege to walk our days together - rain or shine - I am with you all the way.