It's a little late, but thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers, as well as the multitude of cards and notes following the death of my Mom a few weeks ago. I appreciate your kind words of sympathy and the many personal notes reminding me of the greatest truths of our faith: "even though we die, yet shall we live."
I know that many of you have also experienced significant losses in your life. Although we know that death is simply a part of God's plan for the children He loves, there is still a profound feeling of "lostness" that sneaks into our souls as we try to adjust to a new reality. For me, one of the most difficult things is the rude reminder I receive several times a day when, without thinking, I have that sudden, familiar urge to "check in with Mom." And then, a split second later, I remember. I still haven't had the heart to delete her phone number from the address book on my phone. One of these days, I know I must - and I will. But not quite yet.
I also know that many of you have experienced the goodness and grace of "family" at times of great loss. It's one of the reasons God made us for relationships, and it's one of His greatest gifts to us. And so I give thanks for the support and the caring of my "sisters" - my sister, Carol, as well as my five stepsisters. In fact, one of them came up with a hashtag we've all adopted - "#SISTERSTRONG." One of them ordered throw pillows with our names and the hashtag "#SISTERSTRONG" imprinted on them. And over the weekend, my sister announced that she's commissioned a friend to work on a "#SISTERSTRONG" tattoo design (oh my …) and she seems to think we are all going to have a tattoo party. Yikes.
The other aspect of "family" that we've all experienced, of course, is our wonderful church family. What a blessing it is to gather for worship, for prayer, for study, for fellowship, and for conversation with others who are walking this journey of faith with us. So thank you for being instruments of God's grace and God's presence to me and to one another as brothers and sister in faith. Keep up the good work, and keep sharing God's love!