Thursday, July 26, 2012

Small Town, Big Hearts

I am from a small town in North Carolina. I always say God kissed the earth and called it Boone, North Carolina. When you grow up in Boone a part of your heart stays there. It does not matter if you move away forever and you come back whenever you know your soul needs the fresh mountain air or you know raising a family anywhere else would be an injustice to your children. When Byron joined the Coast Guard we were so excited about the adventure, of the unknown. Yet at the same time,  we both knew there was going to be so much we would miss about “home”. Not only is Boone beautiful but it is full of beautiful people. When there is something to celebrate like weddings and babies the warmth and love you feel from the community is amazing. Even more, when tragedy strikes and the dark days come the entire community pulls together and helps you get through it as best you can.

It seems this year there has been a lot of tragedy in my small town. It seems that there is more tragedy there than normal. Then I realized I felt that because we all know everyone and we all hurt when a fellow Boone native hurts. We all cry and mourn the loss and we never forget. Life is so hard and when tragedy strikes it makes you latch on to your loved ones and hold on for dear life. But no one really understands unless you are the one that has lost someone. And losing someone when they are young and have so much life to live is so hard to understand. It is impossible to not ask God why? Why did they have to go so soon? Why am I still here without them?

At 26 weeks pregnant I feel my precious baby kicking. I feel movement and life and nothing in the world is more exciting to me than the life that will soon arrive. Byron and I feel blessed beyond measure. We are overjoyed with this blessing and I wake up every day with a new sense of excitement that I had never felt before. The moment you find out that you are expecting the world looks different. You see the world from a parents view point. You look at what you are bringing your child into. So much of this world is beautiful but at the same time there is so much evil and heartbreak as well. I would love to protect my child from anything that could ever harm her or cause her pain but that is impossible. All I can teach her is how to deal with it and where to put her faith. Everyone who is brought into this world will be taken out. Sometimes it is from sickness, sometimes from tragedy and even worse sometimes by another’s hands that derives from pure evil.

We are all born with a good and evil in our hearts and we have to choose which path we will follow. We have to choose how we value life. In all honesty it is a simple choice. It is not always easy but it is simple. And for those who choose good and choose life truly break when a life is chattered.  There is sincere compassion for another human being. I want to teach my children how sacred and special life is. How to value it and take care of it. How to guard their hearts. When tragedy strikes there is one verse that always consumes my thoughts and they are the only words I know to speak to those suffering from a loss…

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

A peace that passes all understanding. Only through Christ can we find that kind of peace. Without Christ there is no peace. There is no hope. There are no bright days. Without him your heart can turn very dark, very quickly. Life will beat you down, Satan comes in to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). He wants to break you down so much that you will not recover that you will turn from Christ or never really find him in the first place. He wants you to focus on the anger and the hole in your heart. As Christians it is normal to ask “why?” but we have to trust in him. God does not want us to go through dark days. When we are broken so is Christ. But this world is full of evil and at times it seems that evil is winning. At the end of our lives is when we look back and see all that we have gone through good and bad. It is when we can see where God was able to get us through the dark days and bring us bright ones again. But as a Christian it will not be until we get to heaven will we see the full work of God in our lives and the love, grace and mercy that Christ is. Until that day when we see all the loved ones we have lost, until we see Christ we have to survive on faith. We have to trust in him fully. And even more we have to show that love and faith to the world. We need to bring others to Christ so they can have the peace that passes all understanding. So that we can all rejoice in heaven. So at the end of our lives we can see more bright days than dark ones. As long as we are in this world there will be tragedy and death. It is unavoidable. My prayer is for  peace for all the precious Boone families that are going through heart break and loss. I thank God for our community and for his grace and love shown through his followers. I pray through tragedy others are brought to Christ and in heaven we can all celebrate together. I love my Boone family and will always be praying. I pray for more bright days and for peace that will pass all understanding.