In the days following Keller’s death, Exodus 14 painted the perfect picture of the protection we felt from the Lord. In front and behind, the Isrealites saw only certain death. Threat of death was pressing in from every side, but Moses saw God. “Fear not. Stand firm…the Lord will fight for you. You need only be still.” The Lord made their pathway dry. Ominous waters towered above them on each side, but the Lord, He was in the dry ground. The Lord provided a light on an unknown and untraveled trail. The Lord created a barrier between His children and their enemies. The Lord surrounded His people on every side. They only needed to be still.
It is only by the power of the Almighty Creator that we were and are being carried through on dry ground. Any perceived strength is 1000% the Lord’s strength. The Lord rallied His troops and carried us through the storm. You are His troops. YOU were and are the hands and feet of Jesus in our lives.
Countless cards flooded our mailbox. Cards from people across the entire country. Cards from people we had never and maybe will never meet. 2 dozen bouquets of flowers were delivered to our door. Packages filled with tender and thoughtful gifts, as well as toys and stickers for Mary were received. I cannot capture the magnitude of love we recieved. It astounds me even now. I am left speechless.
I need to reinforce just how blessed I know my family to be. I am not writing a tragedy. I am not writing because our sorrow was unique or exceptional. I am writing because we love Keller and our God is bigger. I need to tell the world just how much bigger He is.
Love was piled and heaped on top of us. We were fed every single meal for 2 months. (As orchestrated by my incredible and forever friend Megan. Megan gets things done. You need a Megan.) When the meals stopped, (only after asking that they stop – as Megan put it, “This gravy train is only going to stop when you say stop.”) we had dozens of gift cards to provide easy, mess-free dinners out. Every single meal for two months. I am certain that is the actual definition of lavish.
I feared being alone. Alone meant being slammed back into a “new normal” that terrified me. The Lord heard this cry and provided. Nathan had 4 weeks of paternity leave. Nathan’s mom flew in and spent two weeks at my side. Next my bosom friends Kelly, Katie, and Stephanie stepped in to just sit and be with me. I will never be able to convey the fullness of my thanks. I was in the pit. I was riddled with anguish and panic. These friends flew across the country to simply sit and be everything I needed. My mom flew out last minute to hold me tight when panic gripped me. If it is ever within your power to jump on a plane and be with a friend in the midst of grief – do it. This has profoundly and forever impacted me, and the way I will choose to give and receive love.
Word had circulated that my first full sentence after seeing Keller’s still heart was, “We are going to Hawaii.” We had every intention of happily financing the trip. It was a time we needed and we knew the benefits would far outweigh any costs. We began planning our trip. It was a welcomed and necessary mental break. Not long after the planning began, over-the-top insanely generous friends started a Gofund.me in order to finance our trip. We were and are so undeserving of this generosity. We wanted to say no. We wanted to kindly, but firmly refuse. However, right at the outset we had vowed to accept all the love. Our entire trip was funded in a matter of days.
I have trouble talking about this. I completely understand that people in our community were searching for a way to express their love and sorrow. I fully process that this trip was a means to let our friends express the love and compassion tied up in their hearts. We are forever thankful for the almost absurd amount of loved ones we have in our life. We cannot begin to imagine facing the death of Keller without our Lord and His army. It is heartbreaking to imagine someone in the throes of the death of a loved one without the Lord to light the path. I look at my life and see nearly literal mountains of blessings. So many others need copious and absurd amounts of lavish love as well. So many do not have an army surrounding them ready to answer their every need and desire. This twists up my heart in a really complicated and convicting way. We should freely give and receive love to all. I know that I am a part of that all, and I need the active love of God as much as anyone. I just long to freely and abundantly pour the love of Jesus to those huddled in a dark corner utterly alone. I struggle to know how this will play out in my life, but I’m ready. I want a love that showers blessings on everyone in my community and then goes out seeks to love those without community. It’s such a radical and big love. It’s an intimidating love. It’s God-sized love and I want it. I have been shown God-sized love over and over and over and over. Lord – lead us down a path delivers heaps of Your love to those without.
I have yet to send out a thank you card to everyone who showered life-giving love on us. (I hate myself for this. There is no excuse. I so desperately want to convey the full extent of my love and thanks to each person that has touched our lives, that I am often painfully slow in acknowledging and expressing thankfulness to our loved ones. From the very bottom of my heart, please forgive me.) I want to (and will) acknowledge each and every act of love offered up on our behalf. Not a single card was “lost amongst the shuffle”. Love and empathy was felt in each and every card. We will forever cherish your kind words and thoughtfulness. Your gift has shown a light on a period when only chaotic darkness surrounded me. If you have reached out and not yet recieved a thank you – Thank You. Thank you for surrounding us on every side with the mighty love of Jesus. Thank you for being Jesus.
I am very humbled writing this post. I have no words to express the thankfullness in our hearts. This is an incredibly feeble attempt to thank our people for loving us with a God-sized love in our darkest hour. I wish you all could use a telescope, peep inside my heart, and whatever picture you saw would some how accurately convey everything we are feeling. Until such a telescope is invented, please accept our feeble attempt at, “Thank you”. And now – let’s bring that Love to everyone.