Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US. And it’s the 55th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. People are gathering at their relatives and friends homes to celebrate and reflect on what they are thankful for. But today, I am still struggling to make sense of the recent death of one of my daughter’s good friends, Tara, age 34. She died in a car wreck – she was on her way to see a friend. And today, so many are traveling. I’m praying for all of them, especially our daughter and her family.
Tara was the mom to a 10 year old son and 5 year old daughter. She was the wife of a Sheriff’s Deputy. She was the only daughter to a mom and dad, the only sister to their son. She was the best friend to so many friends. And she had an incredible impact on our family. Because of her, she gave me my daughter back!
This may help you understand why I am struggling with her death – my daughter was a bit lost and Tara helped her find her way back to good health. And in part, she helped our daughter maneuver through her two subsequent pregnancies. And they even shared a time of being pregnant together – our oldest grandson was born a few months before her daughter. And they had another good friend who gave birth to twins a few months before our first grandson. They were quite the trio. There is nothing better for a woman than to share being pregnant with a good friend or two – I had that privilege myself!
I could hardly sleep the night I learned of her death – my heart went out to her family and especially her mother. She and Tara were especially close. And her husband – as a law enforcement officer, he is sworn to protect and serve his community – but yet his wife died in a car wreck in their community. Her precious children were – well, just so precious to her! She frequently posted pictures of them on facebook so I feel I know them both, but yet I have never met them in person. I was praying without ceasing the first night – and now every time I think of her. Praying for God’s comfort to surround them, to hold them, to fill them with His love and wonderful memories of her.
Tara and I had a special relationship and she promised we would see each other soon. She reached out to me recently. She is so much like my daughter, “…please don’t ask questions. I just need to know where in the Bible I can read about being tested and why and how. I just need some support right now from God….” I shed a few tears as I love her heart. We’ve chatted about the Lord a few times before so I know she was searching for a closer relationship with Him. First verse I sent her:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
I told her there was so many. And then I sent her:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name… 1 Peter 4:12-19
Then I thought of another verse:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
After telling the Disciples about what was coming, He concluded with this:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
My heart was so blessed when she later responded, “Thank you so so so so much. This is just what I needed 💜.” I instantly thought of our these, our last communications. What was she going through? I can only surmise.
She had a dream of 10 years. Because I was a retired Law Enforcement Officer (LEO), she had talked to me about her dream and wanted to do the same. Since she was a mom and her husband was an LEO, I explained how rough the hours are in the home life. So she changed her goal. Soon after our communications, she became a Code Enforcement Officer in her county! Oh, she was so proud of this and she shared pics of her in her “uniform” many times on both FaceBook and Instagram. We were all so proud of her.
I haven’t been sure how to express my grief and my thoughts. But then today, my husband’s and my devotional spoke to my heart:
“…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:14-15
How long will you live? No one knows. Life is like a vapor. You are here for a season, and then you were gone. The most important day you have is today. The Bible says much about today. It is the day of salvation. It is the day the Lord has made. Now is the time to serve the Lord God. Do not delay. Make today a masterpiece.
This devotional was written by Dr. Ted H. Traylor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Florida. He continues:
As a pastor, I frequently go to the cemetery with families to bury loved ones. Most often they are older people who have died, but not always. I have been there for infants, teenagers, and young adults. We never know how long we have. That is why today is critical.
Now is a powerful tool. one of the most important factors and having success is to focus on a goal and take action. Since death can come at any time, here are a few questions to ponder:
- Have you settled the questions of eternity with Jesus?
- Is there anyone you need to forgive?
- Is there a person you need to tell “I love you?”
Now is the time. Today is the day.
Please join me in praying for her family. And the families of all those who are grieving this holiday.