It isn’t guaranteed.

Today’s post is a bit different from the norm over here. It’s inspired by the tragedy that has hit my extended family over the course of the past month, and it has just been laid on my heart to share. I just didn’t feel right about posting anything else today.

LOVE YOUR PEOPLE

So since I’m not real sure where to start, I’ll start here: My grandfather (Diddy, we called him!) is one of nine brothers. All of those brothers have kids, who have kids, who have kids. In all, there are probably about 100 people who make up the Miller/Brickell clan. Because there are so many of us, that leaves me with a TON of cousins! Only a couple of first cousins, but dozens of second, third, and fourth cousins. It’s honestly the BEST family, of which I am honored, humbled, and blessed to be a part!

My dad’s first cousin Betsy, and her husband Leonard, have two boys, Justin and Brent. Justin and Brent are both married to beautiful girls and each have two beautiful young boys.

For whatever reason, the Lord has called both Justin and Brent home in the past month. On September 9th, Justin, on his 43rd birthday, had a heart attack. He loved Jesus, so he had a first class ticket to heaven. He was only 43!! His wife and kids adored him. He was a prominent figure in Meridian, MS where this part of the family lives.

Then, just as this family was beginning to sort through the pieces of what was their “new normal,” younger brother Brent and his family were in a car accident on their way to Auburn, Alabama this past Friday, September 29th. Brent’s wife Catherine and their two boys made it out of the car ok, but Brent did not. TWENTY days after Justin. Brent, too, loved Jesus, so imaging the reunion these brothers had in heaven brings happy tears to my eyes. 🙂 All of the Millers and Brickells who have gone on before us greeted each of these gentlemen upon their arrival into perfection with all the hugs that you would imagine loving family members to exchange. What a happy time they must be having up there together!

The fact that Justin and Brent are both in heaven is a beautiful picture. Thank goodness for salvation! But it does not change the fact that Betsy and Leonard went from a full, happy family just a month ago to a less full family with two key players missing. Holli and her boys lost a husband and dad. Catherine and her boys lost a husband and dad.

I’m getting misty as I type this out because I am SO SAD for Betsy and Leonard. Their boys are gone. As a parent, this is something just completely beyond my comprehension. I am SO SAD for Catherine and Holli. Their husbands are gone. This, too, is simply unimaginable for me. I am SO SAD for the four boys who are now without their daddies to take them fishing. Y’all. This hurts me so deeply. I could not begin to imagine life without my daddy. That heartbreak is real. I just cannot imagine!

But you know what is going to get all of these beautiful people through this unimaginable tragedy?

Jesus.

Jesus.

The sweetest name I know. This family loves Jesus.

Friends, Jesus sustains. Jesus fills up empty holes. Jesus walks with the lonely. He comforts the hurting. He wipes tears from the eyes of those who are left with almost nothing else to cry. He does because He IS. “I Am,” he tells us over and over. He’s the Messiah that all signs point to all throughout scripture. He’s the reason we even have access to Heaven.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” – John 8:12

If you don’t know Jesus, I would love to talk to you sometime about how He has changed my life. Seriously. He wants to change yours too! Seriously. Text or email me. Let’s get coffee! And as I have been reminded recently, tragedy does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter what your walk in life is. Life can change in a freakin instant. Life is not fair. But in the end, life’s fairness (or lack thereof) doesn’t matter if you have Jesus in your heart. He wins. He has a place prepared for those who accept him. And that place is perfect. And it’s for  e t e r n i t y !  (Have you ever sat and thought about how long eternity is? It’ll blow your mind. It seriously never ends… So you need to be sure that HEAVEN is your eternal resting place. The alternative would SUCK.)

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

I guess The Lord laid all this on my heart to share because this tragedy is just an all-too-real reminder that we are not promised tomorrow. You honestly just never know. I know that sounds a bit morbid, but that reality has just been glaring me and so many other people in the face this past month. Particularly these past few days.

This is also a great reminder to carpe diem and love. your. people! Always depart from your spouse with an “I love you.” Even when you’re mad. Hug your kids for as long as they will let you. Maybe miss out on an hour of sleep after your kids are down to go have an evening glass of wine with a friend you haven’t visited with in way too long.  Write that letter that’s been on your heart to send. Have that couple over for dinner. Send that text to your mama just telling her you love and appreciate her. JUST DO IT. 🙂

And when you think about it, please pray for Betsy, Leonard, Catherine, Holli, and those four sweet boys. Pray for their extended family. Pray for their friends. They really all need lots and lots of prayers.

Love y’all. 🙂

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39 Comments

  1. Susan Weir October 2, 2017 / 7:12 am

    Spot on and beautifully said ❤

  2. Jaime Dole October 2, 2017 / 7:38 am

    Laurel,

    Thank you for sharing what must have been a difficult post to write. Praying for your entire family during this difficult time and for the days to come ❤️

    • thelovelybee October 2, 2017 / 9:36 am

      Thank you so much Jamie!! Prayers much appreciated!!

  3. Gray Blocker October 2, 2017 / 10:49 am

    Thankful the Lord put this on your heart to post! Such encouraging words.

  4. Vicki October 2, 2017 / 10:52 am

    Laurel, thank you for sharing a piece of your heart and sharing God’s Word with us! Blessings and prayers to you and your family. The Watson’s love y’all!

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:51 am

      Thanks SO much, Vick!!! We love the Watsons so much!!

  5. DeAnne October 2, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Perfect words for the most saddening news. We love the Miiler family and are so thankful for Jesus and eternity.

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Thanks, Mrs. DeAnne!!! Love the Hegis!!!

  6. Rachel Bearden October 2, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    Thank you so much for the beautiful post. I appreciate you checking on us this weekend. I need to read your blog. Rebecca had told me that you wrote a beautiful peace. You’re so dear to our family. Love you!!

  7. Brenda Kemp October 2, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    Laurel so much good truth in this life lesson! Shane went to Justin’s beautiful service ! Shane and Kip had been on a skiing trip with him and his oldest son along with his brother in law from West Point . Then yesterday I heard Clay talking about his Signa Chi brother who was Brent!
    We are truly God’s family because we are entertwined!
    So sorry about your cousins and their precious families!
    Will certainly keep you all in my prayers!

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:45 am

      What a small world, Aunt Brenda!! So glad that Shane, Kip, and Clay all knew these guys! I know everyone covets your prayers! Love you!

  8. Nikki October 2, 2017 / 3:18 pm

    I’m so sorry about everything that has happened to your family. Thinking about you and your family, sweet friend.

    Nikki
    thefashionablewife.com

  9. Vanessa October 2, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    I don’t know this family personally, but I know many who do and I know heart-wrenching grief. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Your words are not only eloquent but they are spot on. Beautifully expressed.

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:44 am

      Thank you so much, Vanessa! Thanks for reading 🙂

  10. Janet Smith October 2, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Laurel dear, your words were such a strong and moving testimony to your admired and appreciated Miller-Brickel family. The recent loses of beloved grandsons,sons, husbands, Dads and cherished friends is incredibly stunning and heartbreaking. But for Jesus there would be no hope, peace, resolution, human ability to find joy again, and knowing that life is continuing eternally for those brothers, to be shared again some day with believing family and friends. Thank you for reminding all us what truly matters in life, no matter how long or short on earth.

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:43 am

      Thank you so much for reading, Janet! You are so right. 🙂

  11. Rita October 2, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    What a beautiful tribute. My heart broke for Holli and boys and now breaks all over again for Betsy and Leonard and Brent’s sweet family. There are simply no words, but you have expressed a beautiful tribute. Love and prayers for all…. including the cousins, all cousins! My brother retired from Miller Transporters as a diesel mechanic and he remembers the boys and little fellows coming to the shop with Betsy in Meridian.

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:41 am

      So sweet! I know, my heart is BROKEN for all of these sweet people. I know they are all so thankful for your love and prayers!

  12. Nicola fruge October 2, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    Loved this post Susan! I live in meridian. Grew up on the same street as the Cobb’s. Have so many fun childhood memories of pine cone wars and spotlight. Justin’s kids are the same ages as my kids. We love that family! And Leonard and Betsy are remarkable people. They don’t miss one of their grandsons sporting events. You couldn’t find a sweeter, kinder family. The events of the past month have left our town at a loss for words. But our town is also remarkable at coming together and surrounding those hurting. I know the Cobb’s feel the love and prayers being lifted up. And I think everyone will hug their family a little tighter and remember to value each day a little more. Hope time will heal the hurt.

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:40 am

      I know the whole town of Meridian is loving on the Cobbs so well!! They are beyond blessed to have such a sweet, loving community! I pray that your memories of pine cone wars and spotlight stay forever and ever until you get to see Justin and Brent again! 🙂

  13. Amy Cady October 2, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    Beautiful words! Cannot imagine the pain but You reminded everyone what is important in life and in tragedy. Thank you

  14. Amy Cady October 2, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful words. Filled my heart. So sad for this family. Praying for God’s Grace

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:39 am

      Thanks for your comments, Amy! God is at work here! 🙂

  15. Mary October 2, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    LAUREL, very well said. I’m thankful beyond words that you & Jordan and your spouses are donning the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20). In vs. 19-20 Paul says “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.” He was under house arrest. Peter & John, on the heels of gov’t threats prayed “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” (Acts 4:29). Things are heating up. I can’t begin to understand why God allowed these tragedies, but stand in confidence that He is in the Kingdom building business. His agenda is advancing! Continue to strengthen & encourage your fellow believers ❣️❣️❣️

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:38 am

      Love that, mama! Thanks for the encouragement and for reminding me of such a great couple of passages! Love you!!!

  16. Mary Ann Miller October 2, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Thank you, Laurel, more than I can say. Your love and prayers expressed here are so very dear to us. Our hearts are so broken , but it is such a comfort to know they are now living in beautiful Heaven with Jesus. They were wonderful, precious grandsons and we miss them so. Again, thank you and we all love you

    • Mary October 2, 2017 / 11:54 pm

      Dearest Aunt Mary Ann,

      You are a rock, in the likeness of Christ! I know you are hurting on so many levels, but at the very same time you are strengthening your family; ministering in your sweet, amazing “m.o.”!! I look forward to witnessing the growth of God’s Kingdom through these events, though we only see through a glass darkly for now. Love to you and all of your family❤️‼️

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:37 am

      Aunt Mary Ann,
      I completely agree with my mom!! Thank you for being such a rock. Jesus radiates through you!! Love you! Many, many, many prayers

  17. Whit October 3, 2017 / 8:06 am

    This was, indeed, a tough one. No surprise that you laced it with love ❤️ My heart aches for everyone. Always loving your family and praying for them.

    • thelovelybee October 3, 2017 / 9:37 am

      Thank you Whit! You are the best. LURZE YOU!!!!

  18. Rod Williams October 3, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    Laurel –

    I’ve known your mom and her brother Ronnie since childhood. My prayers are with you!

    • Mary October 3, 2017 / 10:38 pm

      Hi Roddy❣️ You are truly a delightful brother in the Kingdom. Many thanks for seeing Laurel’s post & encouraging her – & all of us. Our hearts are heavy, but there is such a joyful anticipation that is evident among us. Hard to verbalize but you know what I’m talking about. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW….

    • thelovelybee October 4, 2017 / 7:46 am

      Thank you Rod! Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  19. Maria October 4, 2017 / 1:08 am

    Wow ! I do not know any of family or people involved but I tell you one thing ! I have kids and a grandchild and I cannot imagine ! Your words were beautiful and has tears rolling down my face ! God bless you and GOD BLESS the family that lost loved ones !

    • thelovelybee October 4, 2017 / 7:45 am

      Thank you so much for reading, Maria! God bless YOU!

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