Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Catching Up: Part 2

Random Katie Fact: She LOVES brushing her teeth!
And this just happened to be a tooth brush party.
From L to R: Serena, Katie, Dimon
On Thursday, November 6th, Ron and Jerri Reddig invited the dorm over for a massive bonfire and a delicious hotdog dinner. The burn pile was MASSIVE! I have never seen anything like it! Even though the air was pretty chilly, the fire kept us plenty warm and comfortable. It was a fun evening.

That next Friday was pretty chill after the kids got back from school. Some went and played soccer in the gym. Several watched a movie afterwards. Others just hung out. I didn't sabotage the team by participating in the soccer game, but I did watch with joy. I loved watching them move and score. Their personalities showed in many ways on that gym floor. I am so grateful for these kids. I am so grateful for this quick-moving season. Someday, I won't be able to watch these same kids play soccer with their wild and vibrant personalities. Someday, we'll all be scattered again across this globe. It was a good reminder to treasure these moments.

On Saturday, several of our guys and a few girls went to the Jamboree game at the high school to watch the Lustre kids play basketball. Saturday was our last warm day; the sunshine was beautiful.

Katie painting Aleyna's nails. 
That evening, several of the kids wanted to go to town, so thanks to a kind donation by the Lewis family, we enjoyed Chinese food, and then the kids went bowling. It was a fun evening. 

Life change very quickly though. Sunday didn't begin well. We learned that a 17-year-old in the community, Brett Norman, passed away in a tragic automobile accident. While driving a stock trailer with his little brother, he missed his turn and rolled his vehicle upside down into an irrigation ditch. He sacrificially was able to get his little brother's seatbelt unbuckled and pushed him out, saving him, while he was unable to unbuckle his own belt in time. One of our girls knew him very, very well. Several of the other kids had heard of him. It was and still is very devastating news. 

These things don't make sense.

Simple answers never seem to make the pain go away.

Pastor Frank reminded us in church that suffering is to be expected. (He is so right. I need that perspective.)

It never ever feels normal though. Ever. Our souls know we were made for more than this.

The only one thing that allowed hope to seep into the pain of this tragedy is that Brett knew Jesus Christ, and He had committed to following Him in a personal relationship, to trusting Him as His Lord and Savior, and we know that He is in Heaven, being fully loved and known by God Himself.

We're hurting, but Brett is better than he has ever been. Reminds me of this song.

Because Brett sinned in his life (like we all do), his relationship with God was ruined. God is perfect, and He isn't able to stand any sin. God REFUSED to let hell be the only option for all of us humans that He loves, so He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment we deserve, the punishment needed to satisfy God's anger.

And Jesus said, "Yes."

He came here and died a horrible death (physically, emotionally, spiritually . . . holistically) that we deserved so Brett didn't have to . . . so you don't have to experience that separation from God. We all have to die, but death isn't a curse anymore. It's not the end like it is without Jesus. It doesn't mean that we're taken away from God's presence. It means we're invited INTO God's presence if we have accepted Jesus as our substitute, as our Savior. It means death is just the door into Heaven.

Have you made that decision?

This hope doesn't take away all of our pain. I'm comforted to know that Jesus is crying with us, that every tear we have cried moves Him. Even though He sees the big picture, He sees that we wouldn't want anything less for Brett if we could understand, He also allows Himself to be affected by our pain, by our confusion, by the questions. He is gentle. He is good.

More to come soon.