Carolynne and I are learning about tragedy the hard way. Very honestly, we don’t like it. We wish we could say losing Grant has “strengthened our faith” or that we’ve already stopped wrestling with “Why?”, but we’re not there yet and we know that’s OK.
We have, however, learned that in our circumstance something truly supernatural is occurring through God’s people. So many of you have broken the rules the world lives by so you can minister to us. You’re caring for us. You’re standing in the gap on our behalf with prayer, time, presence, sacrificial generosity and protective concern. We’re not just seeing your love through our cracked, opaque lens of our grief, but it’s gleamingly, crisply clear to us that God is at work through you. You haven’t been afraid to go against the grain of what feels comfortable.
You’ve missed work, you’ve cried with us publicly, you’ve traveled thousands of miles to be present, you’ve given charitably of skills and money, you’ve sent precious cards and you continue to speak openly with others about Grant, Jesus, and Heaven. Without anticipation, tragedy quickly and forcefully catapulted Carolynne and me into living life very differently and Christ’s love showing through you is the one piece making a difference for us right now.
You need to know people are recognizing this supernatural love easily. They tell us over and over again in conversations and in comments from across the country. Friends of friends, funeral home staff, people we really don’t know but who still inquire, neighbors who have seen you quietly working at our house….only to leave at the drop of a hat so we can come home to beautiful potted flowers lining our sidewalk, a new ceiling fan installed, weeds picked, our annoying shower fixed, homemade meals, and a mowed yard. We receive personal notes and encouraging scriptures from you, we smile at the handpicked flowers left on our porch, we adore pictures drawn by Grant’s friends, and we read texts from friends who’ve stopped by Mt. Auburn sometime during the day, just to let us know they’ve been there.
We’ve been learning that tragedy makes people break lots of the world’s rules and causes them to act like Jesus more than ever before. Each of you is a solid example for Carolynne and me about how to love others selflessly and for that we are humbled and forever grateful.
Of eternal and most importance, we are also learning that tragedy causes people to break rules that apply to matters of the heart. Since losing Grant, we’ve been told about relationships that have been restored, people who genuinely want to go to church for the first time, and some friends and family who want to get in step with Jesus once and for all---they’ve known they’ve needed to for a long, long time. Please don’t hear these words as dramatic or proselytizing, but as a mere glimpse of our experience as a couple over the last three weeks. We didn’t ask for any of this---this is how it’s been unfolding beyond our control in front of us. All things do work to the good, for those who are called according to His purpose. We believe our God can still change lives today--we're seeing it happen at a very high cost.
Carolynne and I are two very devastated parents who had to break a parent rule and pray for the Lord to take our feisty little Grant on home to Heaven. At that point, there was no better option than for our spirited, treasured, obedient boy to be completely handed over to Jesus—the only One who we’d be willing to give Grant up to.
As I leaned over Grant’s hospital bed, I softly kidded him that “people are going to have to consider Jesus a little more seriously in their lives because of all this ruckus.” Please join Carolynne and me in breaking more rules by speaking confidently of our Lord and living in a way like no other. Please continue to pray for us and be praying that people--either your closest family members and friends or perfect strangers—will consider Jesus a little more seriously in their lives.
Jeff and Carolynne
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