Amanda has been one of my longest standing friends, we have known each other since 6th grade and she is an amazing person. She posted this story the other day on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you. Amanda has been through some pretty difficult circumstances in her life, ones that I cannot relate to, but like many of us, came to a place when her world dropped out to see just all sufficient Christ is in our lives. When she first shared with me the news of her neighbor’s son’s death, I wanted to go back in time and erase what she had witnessed, and I kept thinking to myself, “How is she coping with this?” However, in the midst of this tragedy God has brought out something miraculous and beautiful and I wanted to share it with you because personally, I have a hard time knowing what to say to those who have lost loved ones, there’s nothing you can say or do to bring them back and I feel like I’ve been inserted my foot into my mouth when I said anything, but I hope this story will help you see that actions do often speak louder than words:
On December 7, 2012 our neighbors across the street from us lost their 30-year-old son. That was a Friday. Monday, I walked dinner over to them. This act was way beyond my comfort zone and like nothing I had ever done before. I bought a lasagna and prepared it, along with green beans, bread, and brownies. I had purchased a Christian sympathy card and wrote that we were praying for them and so were our friends and church.
As I was walking up their driveway that day it struck me that I had never come to visit this couple before. Many times I had thought about baking cookies and taking them over–especially when I saw that the mom had a cast on her leg. When the dad answered the door I said, “I brought you dinner.” He dropped his head and with tears in his eyes, he thanked me for my kindness. I apologized to him that I had never come to visit before and walked back across the street thankful that I had written more in the card (since I wasn’t able to say much).
The next time I saw the dad (up close) was at our community fire house for their Easter egg roll. I went over to him and asked how he was doing. He told me that they were doing just fine. I told him that I had been meaning to come back by and ask them. He said, “Well, thank you for your thoughts but we’re doing fine.” I told him that we’re still praying for him and he just looked at me so I said goodbye.
I pretty much felt dismissed. I decided that that was the end of my efforts towards them. Not because of ill feelings but because I didn’t want to become the unwanted neighbor pest. I was going to send out an email to my friends and church members that I know have been praying and tell them what had happened. But I didn’t.
And, for some reason I didn’t once pray that the Lord would open up another opportunity for me to minister, in some way, to this family.
And then today happened.
My mom had off of work today so she drove down and was here with me [at the house] when we heard a knock on the door.
It was my neighbor–the mother of the man who died.
I offered her a seat on my couch and for the next two hours she talked with my mom and I about everything from gardening and her troubles with slugs (!) to the struggles with her son and his ultimate suicide. She relived that morning and, so did I.
We found out that she is a believer in Christ and a member at a local church. She told me that she had recently really been struggling again with her son’s death and crying all the time. She has stopped going to prayer time at her church too. It’s just been so hard for her. She really struggled with guilt over the death of her boy but she shared a wonderful example of answered prayer and God’s love for His people. She said she was worshiping the Lord in church one Sunday when the Holy Spirit came down on her from her head to her toes. She felt the Peace that transcends all understanding and her guilt was lifted. Praise the Lord!!
I asked her if her husband attends church with her and he does not so this will be my next area of prayer focus.
She thanked me again for the meal that day and she said they dug right into it. She also told me that that was the only meal that they received. How sad! She belongs to a church and there was no help given to them in that way. I am so grateful for our church family and their willingness to help out with this need in the lives of our members.
And what a lesson learned. It was the Lord that led me to their home with dinner that day. And I had no idea the impact it made on their family or how the Lord is going to continue to use me and Jamie (and my mom) in their lives. You see, when my neighbor was getting ready to leave our house she asked if we know anyone who cleans houses. Because of breaking her ankle, and her and her husband both needing their knees replaced, she is going to need some help. Well guess who cleans houses for a living? My mom!! And she has been needing a new job to replace her recently vacant time slots.
I just shake my head and marvel at the Lord’s kindness to us. And His ways are certainly bigger than our ways.
I really felt the need to share this with whomever will read it. It made me think of the verse about being ready in season and out. I had no idea this morning when I woke up what the day would hold. That was true on December 7th too. But I take comfort that the Lord knew and He was with me every step of the way.
Are you secure in your standing with Him? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We could take our last breath at any moment. God is a righteous judge. The Bible says our good works are like filthy rags. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are. Nothing will atone for your sins (and believe me they FAR outnumber any “good” we can do) except for the blood of Christ. Don’t put it off any longer. This might be your last chance. Repent from your sins and make a decision today to follow Christ.