I have had many requests to post what I read at Nick's Memorial. It was truly a very special day!
Saturday, February 5th, 2011 2:00 PM
I opened my eyes this morning to a drizzly, foggy day, and the first thing that came to my mind was my sweet husband. I quickly realized that today would be the day that so many of us would gather to celebrate his life.
And what a celebration it was. Looking out and seeing the countless loving faces that have supported us through prayer, encouragement, and laughter was a sight to behold.
I couldn't help but focus on the first seat of the fifth row, the chair left empty today in memory of Nick and all the times he lifted his hands in worship and praise even in spite of the pain he felt.
I’m really going to miss that…not the pain, not the struggle, but the joy it brought to Nick’s face, and the hope and love he found in his Heavenly Father. It’s hard to imagine how it’ll feel to go back to that seat and worship without him by my side. It might be a little bit lonely, at times. It might even be a little bit sad.
But then, just as I think I might feel alone, I am overwhelmed by the thought of the love we have felt from all of you who I am blessed to call friends. I know that in those hard times to come, I’ll be able to look around and be reminded of all the special times Nick shared with you---those times he learned to walk more faithfully in the Lord, those times he learned what God’s will was for his life, and those times when he just needed the kind words, the soft prayers, and the smiles through his tears.
Every face I saw today reminded me of the special fellowship that was shared during this season. Nick found so much joy being with the ones he loved. He was always a man who loved deeply, a man with a genuine heart. The friendships we made as a family brought Nick a happiness and a closeness with the Lord I had never seen in his life before. I think you all helped fulfill a part of Nick and give him the experience of feeling safe and loved by a body of believers. Words can’t express the gratefulness of my heart for this gift.
Each gift, each card, each cookie, even each wall post and kind note was not only a testimony to the hope we shared, but a representation of our belief in the comforting power of the Spirit of the Lord. In truth, no matter how many lives our walk may have inspired, no matter how much Nick’s walk may have inspired us, it is the walk we take each day with our Savior that gives us all the hope and inspiration for this life we will ever need.
He is the rock upon which our hope is founded, he is our shelter for whatever storm comes our way. He tests our faith to reveal his power, and he has mercy on those who suffer.
In James, His Word tells us to “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything…Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood that test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
There was a certain comfort in knowing that, while the Bible does not promise us freedom from struggle, it does promise us a faith made complete, and a new life and fellowship with God. I imagine that when Nick met his Savior just a week ago, he received that crown of life, because, though he struggled and wrestled with the will of the Lord, he never gave up on his hope and belief that he would enter a fellowship that we can only try to imagine.
It was almost unbelievable at times, the joy we were able to experience in the precious company of friends. This joy, this peace that truly did surpass all understanding was nothing less than a divine gift from our Father. I will never forget those days, where in spite of our uncertainty, in spite of the pain, we were able to cherish time together as a family, and laugh as if these trials had never come. I know now that the Lord ordained these times before we even knew they would come.
Because I believe in the promise of that old verse, John 3:16, which says that, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe in him will not perish, but have everlasting life,” I know that while I may miss Nick today, my belief in Christ Jesus and the eternity he promises through salvation makes it only a matter of the Lord’s sweet time before I will see him again. My greatest hope is that you all share this hope and belief, and that after our time on this earth has passed, we will all be together in eternal union with Nick and our Father in Heaven.
Looking forward to a new road ahead with our friends and our Savior,