During a trip on the East coast in 2016, I was asked to meet with a couple whose twenty-something daughter had been recently killed in a car crash. A friend of a friend asked if I could give them some time, so I met them for lunch during a free moment in my schedule. I never know what to say to people who are experiencing such loss, and though I felt like God was in the time we had, I was left to wonder just how helpful it was to them. This weekend, four years later, I received this email:
You may not remember me, but I will never forget you. I knew one day I needed to email you and thank you for taking the time to share some love with my husband and me. We were connected through a friend of a friend and met you at a restaurant on a rainy day. Our daughter had been killed in a catastrophic car accident about six months prior, and I was clinging with all I had to Jesus, my only hope. I can’t say I remember what you said that day, but it’s like the saying, “You may not remember what someone said, but you can remember how they made you feel.” You made us feel loved. You shared God’s love, and especially meaningful to me, showed my husband that men can talk about feelings and God’s love in a real way.
Much has happened since that day. Of particular note, about a month after our meeting, a woman in my Bible study suggested we study He Loves Me. You had told me it was your favorite book you ever wrote. I loved the book and bought several copies to share with friends and family. God has been so real, so good, and so over-the-top caring that he has literally blown me away!!!!! There is no doubt I would never be the person I am today without him, and I am grateful beyond words. Now I have occasionally been asked to speak to other bereaved parents. While challenging, I am willing because I want them to know God is there; he is the key and their way through the valley.
I am a little embarrassed I have not written in so long. For a while, my old laptop lost email, the only place I had your address. Since then, I have never had quite the words. I was moved today and decided there never are just the right words, just write. All I really want to say is thank you. Thank you for being “Jesus with skin on.” You are part of a raw but beautiful story. God is creating a beautiful tapestry, and I am grateful beyond words for him and his love and grateful for your threads in it.
I was deeply touched by her email this weekend, but it was more than an encouragement to me; I also hope it is an encouragement to some of you.
- Maybe you’re in a tragedy and barely holding on to your faith. God is bigger than your pain and can triumph over any adversity.
- Maybe you have a friend going through a painful time, and you shy away because you don’t know what to say to them. Call anyway! Words are not what matter most.
- Maybe you don’t know how to talk about your hurt and grief with honesty and authenticity (Yes, I’m talking to you, men.)—hang out with someone who does.
- Maybe you are groping to find where —keep looking for all the ways he is pouring his love into your heart.
- Maybe you have been a thread in someone else’s tapestry, and they never got back to you. Jesus knows; let him tell you what it meant to him.
- Maybe someone was a thread in your tapestry, and you never got around to thanking them. Four years, or a decade or two, isn’t too late.
You will never regret pouring a bit of his love into the world. Every drop of it pushes back against the anger and judgment that tries to rule the day.