11.16.2015

My Thoughts On Life. And Death. And Life After Death

Sometimes something will happen that absolutely rocks your world. A circumstance, a person or a moment that you hear about and instantly feel connected to it for one reason or another. This week a tragedy happened that has impacted me in ways I can't explain.

On Wednesday morning I logged into my Facebook account to see post after post about a girl from my hometown who had moved to Indianapolis with her husband to spread the gospel of Jesus and start their own church. She was at home on Tuesday morning with her 15 month old son while her husband was working out at the gym - during that short time a man invaded their house and shot Amanda in the head while her son was unharmed in his crib. Amanda's husband returned home to find her unconscious where she later proceeded to leave this Earth and enter the gates of Heaven along with her 12 week old unborn baby.


While I had only met Amanda once in a quick moment and didn't have a personal relationship with her this story has torn me to pieces and has prompted so many questions in my head, mostly consisting of "why?!". All weekend long I would find myself thinking about her - decorating for Christmas filled my eyes with tears as I envisioned what her family's Christmas will feel like this year. Making dinner sent me into a spiral of thoughts about how she was most likely doing the same thing just several days ago in her own home, the same home that she experienced the scariest moment of her life in. To think that just one week ago at this time she was flourishing, living life with her sweet family and now - she is no longer on Earth but with her Father for eternity. You see, in the short amount of time that I have learned about Amanda, it is evident that she was a devote follower of Christ and in everything chased after Him.

Last evening, her funeral was aired live online. I had told Shawn earlier in the day that I wanted to watch it to which he advised I shouldn't because he know I would be a wreck. And while he was right, I was a wreck, I wanted to watch it for a couple of reasons: a) being a Christian myself I have questions when situations like this arise. They don't make sense, I want answers. I wanted to hear how a preacher would explain this type of devastating tragedy and how such a horrible circumstance could be made good. b) I believed her life was definitely worth celebrating, regardless of how little I knew her c) I have been intrigued by her family and friends in the midst of this situation. These people have faith like I have never seen. In Amanda's husband public statement he says: "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt her desire for me would be to continue what we’ve started here in Indy. I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come."


To be able to say those words - "He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph...that the best is truly yet to come" days after his wife was murdered in their home blew my mind but yet, I believe it.  

Here's the thing - none of us on Earth will ever understand completely why these things happen. It's not our responsibility to have all of the answers, it's His. As the pastor said yesterday evening during the service - the moment we have all of the answers is the moment He ceases to exist. Our God is a mysterious God. While we can't begin to fathom His purpose in this mess, He has one. He always does. What we do have here on Earth is hope - a hope that is unlike any others. I can't imagine a life where death is the final point in somebody's life, that there is nothing else. Without this hope of everlasting life, a home where we can spend eternity together forever, these situations such as Amanda's is nothing but a horrible, disgusting, sad story. But with this hope of Heaven and Jesus Christ, her story is yes still horrible, disgusting and sad - but it's also an opportunity. An opportunity to see Christ work in ways that you can't watch Him work when all is well, an opportunity to open the minds and hearts of those who don't believe in anything beyond this life. People will spend their eternity in Heaven not because of Amanda but because of what Jesus did through Amanda's tragedy. This world is a very scary place full of hurt, pain and suffering - but this world is not our home. I am so thankful to serve a God who invites us into a relationship not a religion, that loves unconditionally despite all of our wrong doings [mine being many] and simply asks us to believe. 

I don't know your story or your beliefs, but I do know mine. Faith was always a normal part of my life from a young child - my parents both having a relationship with Christ and of course encouraging me to have the same. And while I always believed that there was a God, my faith didn't mature until a couple of years ago. It all started when my dad was having a standard procedure done and the doctors accidentally perforated his colon, leaving him near death. He was in and out of the hospital weeks following with complications and one of the mornings that I knew he was in the hospital, I was at work answering phones in the call center. Shawn was sitting at the hospital with my dad because at the time I didn't feel strong enough to see my dad in those circumstances - I had been texting Shawn periodically to see how my dad was doing and I would get the occasional "all is well! no worries" leaving me little room to worry. It was during one of my calls that I suddenly felt the urge to pray like I had never prayed before. I had no idea why or what was happening but I remember looking at the clock on my computer screen and just praying fervently over and over "Lord, please protect my father at this very moment in time. I will mark the time - 9:31 am that at this exact moment in history you heard my cries and you performed a miracle. I will never deny your name because I know that right now Lord, whatever it is you are doing, you are the only one in control of this situation. Please father, let it be okay." 

I never said a word about any of this and showed up to the hospital that afternoon. I asked how things had been going and that's when Shawn broke the news to me that things got really bad earlier that morning. My father had gone to the restroom alone and in there and passed out with a pile of blood underneath him. During my father's fall he somehow managed to pull on the cord that signaled he needed help to the nurses. They were able to find him lying there and had a doctor rushed in immediately and were able to get him back to stable condition.

I asked Shawn the time this all happened, 9:31 am.

Jesus lives.

This life is hard, it doesn't make sense, people are hurting, tragedies happen and questions will be asked. I just pray that whatever you situation may be, you have hope that this isn't it. Amanda's legacy will live for years to come while Jesus's will live forever.

In closing, if you are the praying type - please pray for Amanda's husband Davey, their son Weston and the rest of her family and friends. I can't imagine what they are going through and what the days ahead will look like for them, but I do know that they have Jesus and with Him, they have everything. Thank you Amanda for loving Christ passionately and without a doubt - this world will be changed because of your relationship with Christ, this I believe.

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36 comments:

  1. This was absolutely beautiful. Every. Word. Amen.

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  2. boom. and this my friend is why we are on this earth. to know God and make Him know. well done. 💚

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  3. Perfectly said, Erin! I am a fellow Christian, and so often it is so hard to not ask "Why?"...but His plan is ALWAYS higher. These are trying times for sure, but I am so glad that greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world. Love your blog! Hugs!

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  4. This story breaks my heart, but you are right about the hope we have in Jesus. In times like these who else would you turn to? Thanks for sharing a positive message when there is so much sadness right now.

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  5. So touching and truly beautiful. If only everyone could have the same open and wonderful mindset. Prayers and positive thoughts being sent to Amanda's family and may she rest in peace.

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  6. Our son was in Children's Hospital for 11 months with brain cancer. So many time he came so close to death. I remember praying so hard to God. We saw so many miracles during those 11 months. Even though he went home to be with the Lord, I know, without a doubt, that he is in Heaven. I asked why. I will never forget another Christian mommy told me, "We don't know why, but someday we will, and it won't matter anymore." So true. It took me time, but I give all the Glory to God for all of my child's suffering and dying.

    This is so sad, but, your words give so much hope. This was such a beautiful post. Praying for this family.

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  7. This is horrible, but what strength to rely on instead of deny Jesus in this terrible time for their family. How beautiful your words here are and what great joy can be found in salvation alone! I'm sorry that this happened but I hope that their story and yours here can touch souls that have never heard the gospel or who doubted and want to hear more! Praise Jesus, He is so good!

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  8. I saw this story briefly on the news. It's so sad. Earlier, this year, Leslie, from A Blonde Ambition blog passed away from heart complications and not a day goes by where I don't think of her and her family. I definitely agree that God takes our tragedy and turns it in to triumph. While, it's hard, and devastating, and ugly, He can turn it in to something amazing.

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  9. What a beautiful post. God does work in miraclious ways and we will never know the why. We can only believe in him and his love for us! I am praying for Amanda's loved ones as I can not imagine the pain they are feeling. You did a great job honoring her legacy!

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  10. How completely heartbreaking. It's amazing the way God moves and that He shows us signs. It's in times of complete desperation that I see God answer prayers in my life. Perhaps it's because it's the time we see Him more clearly that we are able to recognize that He is there. Thanks for sharing this Erin. I remember briefly hearing about something like this happening but didn't know what happened.

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  11. I have been reading (and loving) your blog for years. I have never commented until now. That was your best one yet. Beautifully said. <3

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  12. So sad to hear you knew this family. I've been following along since the husband said there would still be a service on Sunday because I was amazed by his courage and faithfulness to Jesus and honoring her life. So sorry for your loss!

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  13. Beautiful post. Amanda's husband was the cousin of a friend of mine. I just moved back to Indiana after 10 years away, right when this happened so I have been following it closely. SOmetimes all you can do is write and try to process. I'm glad you shared.

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  14. I agree wholeheartedly, amazing post. I will definitely be praying.

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  15. Love this post, amen and amen. Praying for your fathers God speed healing.

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  16. so much heartbreak and sadness in the world. prayers and strength for everyone.

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  17. Beautiful post Erin! I've been following your blog for awhile and this post made me love it even more! I feel I can always relate to your posts and for some reason I felt the need to say something today. Thank you for being you. Someone who I don't know in person, but can relate to in many ways. Thank you for sharing your story. XO

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  18. My favorite post of yours by far. Amazing!

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  19. Lovely post Erin. Prayers to you and this beautiful family. Susan

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  20. Beautiful post Erin. Prayers to you and this precious family. Susan

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  21. How terrible of a thing to happen. but wow, this was a very moving post. Thank you for this :)
    XO Ellen from Ask Away
    www.askawayblog.com

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  22. This is so beautiful. What a legacy she left behind!

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  23. A beautiful post! So well written. As a fellow blogger, I love your willingness to put your faith and beliefs out on display. Prayers for that precious family!

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  24. This is a beautiful post. I'm so glad your father ended up alright. I've had those spontaneous urges to pray too, and they're always with good reason, it turns out.

    I've been seeing bits and pieces on this news story these past few days and I just can't understand it. How did this happen, and why? Of all things in this world, this spontaneous act makes no sense at all.

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  25. Thank you for posting this and sharing your beliefs. What an unimaginable loss for this family. God Bless them and prayers for healing and comfort in the coming days.

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  26. Thank you for sharing your testimony and thoughts on the subject. Great post!

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  27. Thank you so much for sharing this-I love your blog and read it often, and I sincerely appreciate that you're willing to not only share the funny side of yourself but also this side as well-it is a breath of fresh air and a beautiful testimony to who you are and what you believe. I will be praying!

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  28. So terrible. Praying for her family and friends, especially at this time of the year!

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  29. This post was beautifully written as many others before me have commented. We will never understand the things that happen on this earth but we have to hold onto faith that there is a reason for everything. God is always with us and no matter what happens he won't leave us. The way the world is sometimes scares me, but I have to hold on to his promise to me that when I go I am going to Heaven.

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  30. my cousin also has posted about this horrible tragedy since she knew her and her husband as well.. so sad.

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  31. I am in tears. Beautifully written, Erin. Thank you for sharing this story, your own story, and the call for prayer for Amanda's family. My heart breaks for her friends and family, but you're absolutely right - God is in control. He won't leave us to anguish.


    Coming Up Roses

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  32. It's truly awful what happened to her, and I pray God is with that family. I know He is. It's so hard, as a Christian, to see things like this and still have unshakeable faith, but this family has been such a beautiful example of that!

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  33. i love this. thanks for sharing. your vulnerability is beautiful.

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I read and appreciate every one of your comments. Thanks for stopping by my space and sharing a piece of yourself on this huge ole internet. I meant that in the least creepy way possible. I'm just good at making everything awkward. Anyhow, thank you for your comments. They make me smile :)