Hold on tight

God said some good words to me today, and maybe they're meant for you to hear. 

In October 2015, we watched two of our best friends, Devin and Bobbie, lay their son to rest. It was tragic, painful, and every bit of my faith was shaken as we had to say our goodbyes. It was the week of his fourth birthday, and I can relive that day like it was yesterday. It's strange, really, because it all seems so vivid, yet blurry at the same time. 

I was sitting at my desk when Travis called. "Babe, Dutch is missing and I'm on my way to help search".. I left work immediately and headed to daycare to pickup Maclin, trusting that everything was fine, but still knowing I needed to be there for our friends. I hurriedly checked her out for the day, got her all strapped into the car, and headed home as fast as I could. I made it about five minutes into the drive when my phone rang again. "They found him". I was so happy and instant relief swept over my heart. Silence. Travis didn't say a word. It took me a minute to realize that he was still on the line, he just couldn't speak. Then I could hear him crying, and the next few words were explaining that there had been an accident. I pulled over on the side of the road because I couldn't catch my breath and I kept telling myself what he had said wasn't true. 

This can't be happening. God, really.. why? 

The next couple of days were so very difficult, but the pain we felt was nothing in comparison to what our friends were going through. Something so awful makes you question every ounce of Gods goodness, at least, it did for me. I was so confused, and even to this day, I still don't understand. We never will. The days were long and hard, but we were side by side with a close group of our friends, and we all leaned on each other for support. 

The sound of Amazing Grace began to fill the church, and in the very front row, as close as they could possibly be to their son, they stood up. Their hands in the air, holding each other, praising Jesus in the middle of the storm. That's faith. In that moment, my friends taught me that no matter what happens in this life, no matter what the days bring, I have a God who loves me with all His heart, and He will make a way. 

The road has been long, and they have experienced pain every single day. But, they've also experienced so much joy. Back in July, we were at their house for a cookout. Bobbie took me inside and I went into Dutch's room for the first time since he made his way to heaven. Some things were different, but some things were the same. That's when she shared the news that they would be bringing another baby into this world! I will be honest and tell you, in that moment, I broke down. I was so happy for them, and so proud of the way they have shared their story, shared hope, with others. "We get a second chance", she said with tears rolling down her cheeks and a smile on her face. Wow. What kind of faith and strength, for two people to endure the worst possible pain, and profess the love of Jesus to others. She has always encouraged me with scripture and has helped me outline my life by speaking truth over me, and I will forever be grateful for the amount of love she has shown me. 

I don't know why God weaves devastating times into our lives, but I do believe that He loves us, unfailingly, each and every second of every single day. 

There are a lot of people hurting over the recent loss of another little boy in our community. What were those words God said to me today? Press into loving others deeply, to hold the broken-hearted. Stay present in the lives of the ones you love, especially those who are weary, and stick close to whatever God is doing - even if it seems completely impossible. Let Jesus seep into your bones and love others the way He loves us. Redefine your thoughts on love, faith, God and community. 

Be the light in someones darkest hours. Be a map that guides others home, and let them know they're not alone.