Just last week I celebrated life! It was my birthday and what joy I found in celebrating so many things about life. My husband, Children, and many sweet friends! I have a very amazing and close group of friends from church and would not trade them for anything in the world! Every blessings…celebrated!
This week I am faced with deep hurt. This week I mourn the loss of one of those great friends! We share the same name! Stephanie!
In this time of great sadness I am faced with a decision.
- Think of all of her struggles she shared and become bitter and angry by what the enemy was trying to destroy in her life here on earth. I can think of her sorrow and think of all of he deep pain she must have felt. I could think of the how’s and what’s and when’s and where’s and who’s? I can think about death itself and fear could creep in. I can wonder the what ifs and try and resolve how I could have done something different. I can think on our loss as friends and family and be angry and selfish…Or…
- I can choose to think about love! I can think about her beautiful smile! I can think about our sweet moments at released retreat! I can celebrate her life and cherish the moments God allowed me to embrace her very real and beautiful soul! I can think of the deep love she had for the all children in her life! I can think on how many lives she saved and the difference she made. I can think about how she helped play a part in providing little lives for a sweet family through surrogacy! I can think on her beautiful heart of truly loving others and seeing the best in them! I can think on LOVE! I can think on the coffee dates and the conversations and all of the prayers she prayed for her whole entire family! I can think on her LOVE for her daddy and momma and siblings! I can think on her very unconditional sweet love she had for her husband and boys no matter how hard the days were. I can think on the LOVE she shared through her vulnerability.
Stephanie was just amazing and there are many amazing things that could get lost with bitterness if we choose to let it.
Ephesians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 says ” Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I do not share this naievely believing that we will not struggle I share it as encouragement that when we do struggle we need to remember the good! Remember “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The reality is that it would be easier to place blame and to allow bitterness to plant a seed in our heart. The reality is life is not always good because we are waging war for one another. Stephanie waged war on the enemy and he did not even win this time. That sweet girl loved Jesus and she walked it even in the midst of trials! That is why we need to find it in us to celebrate and think on the good! Hold those thoughts captive and forget the enemy and what he was trying to do! Think on how her name means crowned one and she received a beautiful crown in heaven with many jewels for the life she served! I am pleading with you all to remember Christ commanded us to love! We are to love when it is not easy! Love when it hurts! Love when it doesn’t make sense! Love when we are afraid! Love when we could choose to hate! Our faith is proven in the trials! Christ is revealed in the trials! Glory is given to God by the way we choose to love when we could have chosen to do differently!
I love you all and as our released group prayed last night for family and friends we chose that we will walk with love in this! We love you! All of you!
You will be missed and are greatly loved! Thank you for your servant heart here on earth! Thank you for loving so well while you were here! even in death we see your light because you carried Jesus so well! That is the legacy you left. One of love and compassion! We will share your light sweet friend!