Does life ever catch up to change, or are we always trying to adjust to change? I have come to the conclusion that when life finally does catch up, our work here on earth is done and God is calling us home. Change is one way God moves us closer to Him and makes us more like His Son. Nobody is all that crazy about change, but God will use it for our good. No, I will never totally adjust to the change of Taylor not being with us, but especially through all the Christmas festivities. That is one time of the year that his absence is very keenly felt. This was one change in my life, I was not sure I would survive, but God came right alone beside me and picked me up and carried me many times. My life has never been the same, but God has used his death to touch many people, and some has even given their hearts to Jesus. I will say even for myself, I have moved to a place with God that I never would have found without this terrible tragedy in my life, so yes God has picked up the pieces of my heart and used it for good....just like His promise says Rom 8:28.."God will use ALL thing for the good of those who love Him and been called to His purpose". It still amazes me how fairly often one of his friends will just say to me how much they miss him and think about him. A couple days before Christmas, I went out to the site and I could see that somebody had been there and decorated his cross for Christmas.This has always been a prayer of mine..Please God do not let the kids forget how fragile life is, the young sometimes die seeming way before they should. It does truly make me feel good that they have not forgotten him, no, we never will, but to think these 20 year kids still take time to remember him. He had a great bunch of kids that called him their friend. This being the third Christmas without him, I thought to myself, I feel like we have done a measure of healing, maybe even catching up to change in a small way, but God moved us to the next point of change. On December the 2nd, my dad died on the way to the hospital. He had knee surgery on Oct 17th. We went home to spend time with him and mom. He was in the hospital then to the nursing home for rehap. After a couple of weeks, and he was doing pretty well, we decided to go back home. When I was telling him good bye, and that I was planning on coming back in a month or so, he answered with a statement that was so much more true than I ever dreamed at the time. He said "I will not be here when you come back." I said, "well, where are you going to be?" He says, "I will be in eternity." I said, "in that case, be sure to look Taylor up." He looks at me and smiles and says, "He will be the first one I look up." Little did I know that would be the last words I would say to him. On December the 2nd early in the morning, I get a call from my sister saying they are taking dad to the hospital, he is bleeding internally. Then about 15 minutes later, I get a tex from my brother saying, dad did not make it to the hospital. It was early in the morning, so I just laid in bed and tried to imagine just what all dad was experiencing. He just finish his very last battle, he just laid all his armor down and was on his way to see Jesus and Taylor. Just what would that be like!!! I had to think, was Taylor standing on the shores of heaven, right behind Jesus waiting to give his grandpa a big hug. I could not help but feel just alittle bit jealous of dad, he was on his way where I have thought about so very often since Taylor's accident.
After, a few minutes, it really hit me, I never got to say "good bye" to my dad either. I was remembering when Taylor died, I was 7 hours away, out at mom and dad's, and when dad died, I was again 7 hours away. So, again we had to make that long seven hour drive to say "good bye" to somebody we loved. We had to help mom make the arrangements, at times it brought back so many memories, I could hardly take it. I was not sure I would be able to go into the casket room to pick one out for dad, but decided God would help me fight my fears. I went in, and did pretty well, until I came around the corner and seen the exact casket that we picked for Taylor. At this point, the memories came pouring back, almost like we were standing once again at Gillmans'. I found that, yes the memories can bring tears and sadness, but they were not overwhelming and all consuming like they once were, but with the power of God's Grace I was doing fairly well. There is always that first terrible moment when you see them in the casket. It is almost like your eyes are playing tricks on you, and your mind wants to keep saying this is not true. But after that terrible first moment, my eyes settled on dad's face, and my mind went to thinking once again.. dad, what are you seeing right now...Was Jesus the first one you seen, is Taylor with you...was he glad to see you...is it more beautiful than any eye has ever seen, what is the singing like. These are all questions as of yet, but someday the veil will be lifted and I will for myself. What a glorious day that will be. For the funeral, we were trying to decide if we wanted to have them sing "Amazing Grace when they wheeled dad out of the church, this would have been the same song we had for Taylor. Was this too much for us, would the memories at this point be too overwhelming, plus this is final time before we go to the cemetery, or would it be a comfort, it is a beautiful song, and the words fit perfectly, that is exactly how each of us will ever get to heaven..God's Amazing Grace. This song has helped me through some really rough times, but there are some really painful memories wrapped up in it too. As we talked about it, we decided that the comfort of that song out weighed the pain...at least we hoped it would when the time came. The time always comes, which we all dread the most, time to say our final "good bye" to dad here on earth. It always feels like part of my heart is being ripped out. I guess, in a way that is true. Each one that I love dies takes a part of my heart with them. I will never understand how a person that does not know Jesus gets through death of a person they love, or worse if that person did not even know Jesus...now that would truly be mourning without hope. The service was very nice, well what I can remember of it, but I do remember very clearly when Marvin stood up and said, "now we will have the choir sing Amazing Grace, the same song that Leroy's grandson, Taylor was escorted out on in 2009." Well, did we make it out without tears....not even a little bit...but was glad to say that we did all make it out still standing. That was alot more painful than I imagined, but at the same time very comforting.
As we all know, life here on earth was never to be all fun and games, but God is maturing us day by day. Some storms are like little thunder storms, light rains alittle wind, but other storms, can be bright lightening, hail and hard pounding rains and some can be devastating tornadoes and flatten everything. At times I can feel like I am in those types of storms. Sometimes I can feel like the disciples in the boat when that big storm came upon them, and the boat was rocking from side to side and they thought they were going to drown. Peter sees Jesus and gets out of the boat and starts to walk on water toward Jesus. Peter was fine walking on water as long as he kept his eyes focused on Jesus, but as soon as he looked at the crashing waves coming his way, he lost focus of Jesus and started to drown. I had to think that is exactly the way I am. I have often felt like I was in a boat being tossed from side to side and very soon the boat is going to capsize and I am going overboard, and probably most likely drown. In the misted of a storm, as I am looking frantically around for something to hang onto, but when my eyes lock with Jesus, I feel myself calming down, and starting to feel safe. I can even start to climb out of the boat, because I don't even notice the waves all around me, as long as I keep my focus on Jesus. But why is it I can not keep my focus there, but out of the corner of my eye, I start to see this danger, another big waves is moving closer and about to knock me completely flat. I take my eyes off Jesus to take a better look at this wave (my circumstances), and I start to feel this fear, panic again, because this wave is heading right for me and it is huge...now my eyes are completely off Jesus and onto the wave (circumstances,) then like Peter I start to go under.... Jesus in His compassion and mercy reaches out his arms and just picks me up and holds me, and will whisper in my ear...You of little faith. If only I could keep my focus on Jesus, no matter the size of the waves, fear would never win. What a God we serve, What an awesome God.