Sometimes you accidentally come across something that blesses you so much that you know for a fact it was NO accident that it came alongside you on your life’s pathway.
This is what I am still feeling about Sundays service from Pastors Rick & Kay Warren.
It was a simple tweet that brought this service to my attention. It was the first service back for the Warrens since the tragic death of they much loved son Matthew.
I wasn’t going to listen to it but something in my heart, someone in my head was saying ” sit down for a bit and listen”.
To be truthful I had wanted to hear how they were doing and how they were staying strong in faith after such a loss.
I know personally it is such a daily journey to hold on to my faith when I have so many “whys” in my heart.
Well I grabbed a coffee and settled myself on my bed with my notebook and waited for the service.
I often watch or listen to the sermons of the big mega church’s and wonder so much about them. Do they have strong communities? How can you build up strong connections with so many?
But anyway that’s just me sidetracking lets get back to Sunday’s service.
I will just start with the statement
“I sobbed my heart out”.
As Rick and Kay spoke of the fear they have felt about losing Matthew my heart just went to that place where fear had lived for so many years with Livvy.
Yes I understand that Matthew suffered from mental illness and that Livvy’s Rett Syndrome was a neurological disorder but the truth is they both were severely ill and I know of NO parent who has a ill child who doesn’t live in fear of that moment where their worst nightmare becomes a reality.
That panic that comes from the worsening symptoms or the hospital stays.
It’s like a vice that has got hold of your heart and is crushing it so tight.
Each breath is constricted by the fear. The fear of loss.
Rick spoke with such wisdom, such truth.
‘Take your tests and turn them into your testimony”
How true is this, losing Livvy nearly destroyed me but I refused to give in. I wanted to open my heart and be transparent in my grief and in doing so I have others who have been encouraged by my words.
Livvy’s Smile was not founded as a memorial but as a place of hope. To make those memories that we treasure. To live life to the full as the blessing it is.
Rick spoke my heart when he stated that
“You may not understand but God Knows”
He reminded me that I am engraved on the palms of Gods hands.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:16 ESV
Rick spoke honestly about the battles of life and it was the reminder I needed to stay strong.
Kay then took to the stage and began to speak. Her pain was etched on her face with such a familiarity I know so well.
A mother who has lost a child.
A mother who prayed so hard for a cure for her child.
A mother who had hope.
A mother whose hope was lost.
A mother whose heart was broken.
Kay spoke about her hope for a cure for Matthew and it took me back to that time in 2007 when the medical breakthrough came in the study of Rett Syndrome. There became hope of a cure. It was at this time I allowed myself to believe my daughter would be saved.
As you know my hope was shattered on that fateful night in November 2008.
Kay’s hope was shattered on that fateful day in April.
How do you move forward when your hope get shattered.
“Choose Joy” – Kay Warren.
5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5, 1-5 ESV
This service, this sermon was what my aching heart needed.
I needed to be reminded to Choose Joy.
Yes my hope was shattered when we lost Livvy but I have the hope and the faith of eternity.
I grieve in light of eternity.
That the nine precious years I had with my beautiful daughter will seem like seconds in eternity.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21.4 ESV
I pray for Rick and Kay Warren as I know their pain but I take comfort that they are strong in faith. They know they will be with Matthew again and that like Livvy, Matthew is now free from the tortures of his illness. Free from pain.
I know I take so much comfort from the truth that Livvy is now free from the evil of Rett Syndrome, she is now walking, running, talking and so much more. No more pain for my baby girl, no more seizures, no more breathing problems. NO more.
I am so grateful that i listened to this service and I will be following them over the next few weeks as they speak more on these topics.
The Warrens ended the service with these three statements and i think they are ideal to end this post too.
Live with Peace
Live with Joy
Live with Hope