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.
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?
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. 🙂