Well I haven't written on here for a while. Christmas and New Years has come and gone again, and sadly I didn't get a chance to make any new crafts or bake. (Our oven was broken till the day before I left for school again :( very sad.)
But the reason life has somewhat stopped for a while is because on December 9th, I lost my beautiful cousin Lila. She was only 24, but she had certainly lived a wonderful life. Lila loved the Lord, and is now radiating in heaven alongside our Savior.
I've never had someone so close to me pass away, but it is most definitely the hardest most difficult thing to understand and process. I suppose it's because we weren't made for death. We were meant to spend eternity with our Savior. But we will, once we have passed through this life, onto the heavenly one.
I wrote to a friend recently describing my holiday break:
Elizabeth Elliot, one of my favorite authors, wrote, "Faith's most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain." What she is saying is that the hardest thing for a believer is when everything seems to point to the fact that what they believe is not true. I whole heartedly believe this. Why should someone believe in a God that when they prayed and asked for him to heal one of his children, he didn't. Instead he allowed her to pass away from this life, away from us. It seems as though this should stifle someone's faith completely. But when I see the outcome of Lila's death, and the love of God that she lived with, I can see all of the results from her belief. Her mom, my aunt, was not wailing and sobbing uncontrollably. She was at peace. I've never seen someone so at peace in all my life. It was a peace that surpassed anyone's understanding, and when anyone asked her how she could be so ok after losing her daughter, she just looked up, and said, "Because I know she is with Him." It seemed inhuman, but God has soon given many of my family that peace, when we have sought it from Him.
I've realized alot over this Christmas break. When I saw Lila laying there, it was eye opening. She was so young and so beautiful. Her hair had always been so shiny and long and luscious. But now her hair had been cut off for surgery and her health was fading from her face. Now she laid in that bed with nothing. Her cute clothes were gone, her accessories, her red mustang convertible, her college degree, her hair, her health, her money, all of it was suddenly gone. She had nothing. Nothing except her soul. And all that mattered as she lay there was knowing that her soul would be an eternal splendor in heaven.
C.S. Lewis writes that "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal." Everyone around us, ourselves, our family, our friends, the stranger at the cafe, the girl you see at school that you've never spoken to, they all have a soul.
Many people have no idea what a soul is. When asked there seem to be endless types of answers. But one's soul is made of your mind, your emotions, and your will. Your mind is the part of you that thinks. Your emotions the part of you that feels, and your will is the part of you that chooses. Your soul is either ruled by sin or by Christ. The first time I learned this, it made so much sense! When I disregard what Christ has taught me, I then allow my mind, emotions, and will to be ruled by my selfishness or any other whim of my emotions or desires.
There is more to it, but getting back to what I was saying. C.S. Lewis talks about how every person we see will either be an "immortal horror or everlasting splendor." Meaning they will be a horror in hell forever or a splendor in heaven forever. And when you see people for that, you realize how absolutely important and valuable every single person is in this world. I want no one to suffer, and I have learned through this that I have no idea what that person may be going through. As I went to Starbucks and the clerk asked me how I was doing, out of habit I said, "Oh good, thanks." When inside I was dying of heartache and pain over the loss of my cousin. I realized that I have no idea what someone I interact with, is truly feeling. This has brought me to be very sensitive to everyone, and careful with my words and actions even more so because how do I know if the words I say are only adding to the tremendous pain they feel already.
People are valuable, and who are we to tease or belittle someone. We are all the same, people longing for something greater than this world, longing for something greater than ourselves. We all have this deep longing inside us for there to be something bigger than this world. It astounds me how even the most remote tribes in Africa worship things whether it be the sun or a tree. It alone is proof that something is missing from our lives. And I believe what is missing from our lives is a relationship with God.
This break has been the hardest one of my life, but never before have I learned more about the love of my Savior. He took Lila away from us down here, but for a reason that I have only begun to see. A seed must die for the plant to grow and produce fruit. Until a seed dies, it is pointless (John 12:24). Lila passed away, but now I see the fruit of her life. More people than I can count have come to believe in the Lord through this.
I see life in a new light because of Lila. I see the vanity of "stuff" and things of this world. In the end, no amount of money or even charity can add an hour to my life or anyone elses. We are but a mist, here and gone in a moment. Why do I live my life? If not for things or money, what is left of this world? People. And what is a person? Just flesh and bones? If so, that will just fade away as well, and even if I made that person happy in their life, is that truly it? I make them happy, they pass away, and then what? There must be more. And so why do i live my life? To learn and share of what is to come. The true Home. We all realize that life is short and fragile. But faith in God is more than finding one's balance in life or finding peace. It is only the beginning of a great journey.
I see the futility of the things in the world, and I see the value of every soul in this world. What will I do on this earth while I have my short amount of time? I will pursue God, and love the people that he spends his life loving."
I recently read a book called "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo. It is the story of his 4 yr old's experience in heaven. And let me tell you...a four year old couldn't make this stuff up, much less understand all that he had seen. But he did see it and he sees heaven as fact and tells his little bits of memory as so matter of factly. Heaven is for real.
I was driving back to school when it really hit me. It's a sore that takes a while to heal. But as i drove, looking through my tears, the Lord blessed me with this picture. My dad had told my youngest brother that Lila was like a flower that God had picked. Thinking of that I "saw" Jesus walking through his garden of flowers. Only this garden was an endless field of flowers. Some only sprouting, some starting to blossom. He was walking through them when he saw this exceptionally bright yellow one. This one was shining more than the others around it, having blossomed early and radiating beauty. Jesus picked it to take back home to take to his Father as a gift and show him the beauty this flower held. That flower was Lila. She was ready for Jesus to take home to his Father.
My God is good no matt what. This life is full of trials and pain, but in every season, we all having something to be grateful for. Our blessed Savior loves us with an unending incorruptible love. We are beloved. This life is meant to be used for Him, to radiate his life and share it with every person we pass by. He is life.