Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Tempest

It was a strong wind.  The valley clouded with haze as dust swirled on its way to no where.  We had planned an afternoon hike and debated about going, the girls and I.  But the tempest beckoned and in spite of formidable conditions, we headed for the hills.  It was glorious!  I love the wild feel of a storm in the strength of the wind.  As we rounded the corner of a rock face, my youngest was almost knocked over by the force.  But there was no great danger and it made my heart glad to see so many laughs from a gaggle of girls! 

But I was unprepared for the tempest which raged today far away, yet reached across the country, even into our hearts. It was the last day for my sister-in-law, her final fight against the pull of sin's force.  I'm always amazed at how far a life impacts . . . the blessing received by even a slight touch of another.  I hadn't known her very well.  My brother had only been married for six precious months.  But in the short time I knew her, my life was built up.  She was that kind of person.  A perfect fit for my brother. 

Last weekend I purchased adorable little notebooks for each of my girls.  Today was our first day to begin logging our blessings, as per Ann Voskamp's book entitled, One Thousand Gifts.  One item we listed was the wind of yesterday and the lingering clouds of today.  Little did I know how grateful I would later be for those same overcast skies because it seemed the clouds shared in our grief.  And I know it was a gift from the heart of God.  It seemed as if He were closer today somehow, through those clouds, like His tender touch of sympathy.  Yet, simultaneously, the trees all decked out in their blossoms with sprigs of green took my breath away. . . stunning.  And I think of Sheri in the very presence of God and I am jealous.   

My brother spent many years of his life in this part of the country where I live.  He knows these mountains backwards and forwards and has hiked them extensively.  Hunting season usually brings him back seeking the rack of a trophy elk, of which he's succeeded in tagging several times.  But last year was different.  It was the first time he had a wife to roam the hills with him. And the best part was that she loved it!  Having only been married a month, the joke was, "we interrupt this marriage for hunting season."  However, I think it was the first year he'd gotten skunked.  But it was intentional.  They were so in love that he no longer cared about the hunting so much.

I know God loves Sheri more than we ever could, just as he also loves us who remain.  Our purpose is not yet finished, but Sheri's purpose continues as well.  She has only been transplanted.  Shortly after getting married she started a blog about her transplant from the flatland to the land of the trees, the Pacific Northwest.  She was in awe of her boot being dwarfed by the size of a maple leaf.  (It's practically a rain forest over there and they grow them trees big!)  She took delight in her new surroundings, exploring the countryside and quickly making friends with her new family.  I know she is doing the same in the land of the redeemed; meeting her mother-in-law for the first time, and her unborn baby.  But most of all knowing joy in the presence of God. 

I sent Sheri some pictures recently of a few houses my girls were building.  She wrote back telling me how much she loved their houses made of cardboard, sticks, old rags, and mud.  How these pictures tickled her, reminding her of blissful childhood days.  She recently transformed her own house with her touch, making it a haven for her groom.  And in heaven she's found a place prepared just for her.  I know its a perfect fit created by her Maker, because He's promised to have a spot waiting for us.  

Just this morning I finished my study on the book of Job.  I don't understand all the battles that rage in the heavens, nor everything God does, but I do know that He is still good and that He is still in control.  I do know that this tempest will not last forever and that sometime the refreshing rains will come.  Death does have sting.  Death is not natural as many would claim.  We are made to live.  But here's the clincher.  Death is swallowed up in victory.  Even death itself will be thrown into the lake of fire.  And I'm so glad of that!  Jesus lives    . . . and because He lives, we too have life everlasting.  Yet not the kind of living we do here, but real life, without the presence of sin. This is one reason we do not grieve as those who have no hope.  Meanwhile, we're still growing here, waiting for our transplant. 


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your sister-in-law ... so sorry for your loss. Thank you for the sweet reminders of God's goodness in the midst of the hard parts of life.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. Sheri's relative Mark linked to your blog and though you are a stranger, I know the pain of losing a young vibrant loved one. My brother died of a brain tumor 7 months after his marriage, at age 27. I am so glad we know he is with Jesus and have hope of seeing him again. May God continue to comfort you all.

  3. Thank you for writing this, and for the words of thankfulness and hope. I'm so sorry to hear what has happened, and my thoughts are with all of you. Hannah (Shetler) Napier