It’s been three years.
I only just met you, but already knew so much about you from my church family. They told me story after story as we painted and cleaned up the home you would be moving into.
God called you all to do ministry with us in Marion, Oh. You sold your home in Virginia, left your job and packed up your little two year old for the long trip towards a new beginning.
The church rejoiced. I’d never seen our pastor and his family so excited (they watched you grow and saw you as their own daughter).
I honestly felt overshadowed by your brilliant light. That you would very quickly replace me in their hearts because of your history, your love, and your faith. But it was a selfish fear and I drove it away by pouring myself into servitude. Helping prepare the way for you to come and settle here.
I wanted to know you. To be your friend.
You were here only a short while. I met and played with your beautiful son. I laughed with your amazing husband. And I hugged you, in passing, as we hurried about one Sunday. I hope to get to know you more—there will be plenty of time for that. I thought as we smiled and went our own ways.
Things were looking up. God was with us and nothing could stop our momentum as a family of believers….until…
I climbed into my car after work, and heard my cell ring. I answered and it was my husband Aaron. With a heavy voice he told me that Rachel Sullivan was gone.
I couldn’t believe it. The world stopped, and I saw Isaac’s precious face and her husband Jared’s smile flash across my conscious.
“There was a car accident…” Aaron didn’t say much more because he had our pastor’s son with him.
I hung up the phone and for the first time in my life I screamed and punched the dash, cursing God. “F**! F**!” I yelled with everything inside of me.
I had to pull myself together, after all…I didn’t lose Rachel…my church family did. Those who knew her since she was a small child, those who laughed with her and spent hours in her company.
Our pastor’s kids wanted us, needed us…
They came over and we hugged for a long time, and we took them for a long walk. And I vowed I would try to fill the bottomless void Rachel left behind.
I never did come close.
The next few days were slow, and shock filled. Isaac didn’t know and didn’t understand.
My mom had him and the pastor’s daughters over to swim and we all smiled and played with him while I balled inside. “THIS IS NOT FAIR!”
God why did you allow this to happen? You called them here!! Are you not our protector? I thought you were good! That I could trust in you!
My resentment and distrust grew. My rage and brokenness remained even as everyone else picked up their lives and tried to move on in faith.
I comforted, I cried, I prayed…and Rachel still remained gone.
We drove all the way to Virginia to attend the funeral. It felt so wrong…Isaac was turning three…and his mommy was going to miss it, and all the birthdays after that.
I remember the happy pictures on the slideshows…I remember Jared. Alone and crying. Living the worst nightmare. And I remember sitting in silence with my church family as they played the song, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fall).”
Rachel always wanted to have a baby and Isaac was a dream come true. She loved being his mommy. She loved coffee and people (working at Starbucks-where she was headed before the car accident).
She was gentle and fun loving. She was faithful and a good friend. I know this because of all those her life touched. She had ministry dreams which her husband is now pursuing.
It was this that put a wedge between me and God. I pulled away from Him and began to doubt He was who He said He was.
I wish I could say that I have fully overcome or that I have the answer as to why this happened to those I love with all my heart. But I haven’t and I don’t.
Honestly, I have to learn to accept that I probably will never know the answer. I have to chose (just like with any tragedy, loss, hardship, and attack of the enemy) to still trust and to still believe regardless of what I see or feel.
The reality of God and His Word have to be more important than my own feelings and this world’s realities. Death is coming for all of us someday…young or old it will find us. This is a temporary plane—and so we must fix our eyes on eternal matters.
We’ll all see Rachel again. And what a glorious reunion that will be for everyone her life touched here.
The devil’s sole purpose is to make us forget who God is, who we are, and our authority to change our lives and those around us. I know that if we were to ask Rachel whom she loves and trusts—her answer would not have changed, even now.
If I don’t trust Him…who will I trust? Who has the power to save? Who is our only hope of salvation and restoration?
I’m beginning to realize how much I need God. Whether I live or die (to live is Christ to die is gain), I choose to believe in Him and trust Him to make all things new.
He is still my protector and shield. His plans for me are good. What happened to Rachel was not His will or His plan for her. But He has brought beauty from ashes…and her legacy lives on (still transforming lives and bringing hope).
Our church is as strong and united as ever! In our pressing onward God has poured out His goodness and blessings.
Life goes on.
I say all this because I know that we share this brokenness. Some hurt dealt us by the enemy. He is the one who robbed you like a thief in the night, he took from you what was not his to take.
Please hold on. Don’t give up on God or fall into the trap that says; “He isn’t good!” What do I know of goodness? What do I know of fairness? Fairness would have been for all of us to die for our sin instead of Jesus.
Doesn’t God deserve the chance to explain and answer your questions in Heaven someday? Hasn’t He done enough for you to deserve at least this?
Rachel may have died, but God blessed her with so much all the years before her death. Look at her son, her husband, the thousands who knew and loved her. I refuse to let her life be summed up into this one accident. Her memory deserves so much more.
I’ve made the decision to keep climbing. Keep pressing. Even if I’m bloodied and broken I am going to finish my race! And the devil can push, torment, and beat me all he wants, I’m not letting go of this ladder! I’m going to stand back up every time! Because I can’t go back to not knowing the truth. I can’t deny who I am and who God is! No one can rip this from me!
If I made a list of all the good things God had done for me, it would go on and on endlessly…and my list of all the bad things that seem to fill my mind so easily would be very very small.
Fight the good fight, run your race. Don’t be afraid of death but of a life/eternity without God. That is the final death the “real” death we can all easily avoid.
Love God and love people, and when it’s time to die—you won’t die. And your legacy of love will live on long after, paving the way to Christ’s return.
You, my brothers and sisters, have a bright future. Don’t ever forget it! Rachel was a window into the brightness of Heaven. Surround yourself with others who share that same Jesus light so you never forget what is waiting in Heaven and what you can release now.
Our time is short…make it count.
God bless each and every one of you. ❤️
One thought on “A Thief in the Night”
Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:
“38 And anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 40He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives the One who sent Me.” Matthew 10: 38,39,40
Hope we are all being tested, it is very sad, to lose Rachel, but then again her difficulties or suffering in this life here are over and her actual life has begun; I’m sure from the little I know about her and your outpouring here along with the others demonstrates how much she meant to the ones who knew her. But God through Jesus really knew and knows her more than we can fathom in our so broken and inadequate understanding. There is a good and absolute reason Rachel was allowed to pass now, and you will know why whether during your lifetime here or in the next the answer will be provided!
We are all being tested and proven, so we have to as difficult as it is, pick up the pieces and carry on in faith, even more devoted to and loving of our Lord Jesus. I disagree with any victory of the enemy in all of this as the enemy is weak and powerless in reality; because God the Father has all the power and glory! He could have stopped this from happening or allowed it as He did for His purposes, and we can’t question that if we are truly faithful and trusting! I know this myself from a firsthand knowledge as my life was about to end a few times, but did not, and I’m no better a soul than the next average or not average one, but God did intervene and save me from death for His purposes and plan; that’s the only reason I’m still here, as He still needs or wants me to be here.
This life is so short and like a vapor or flickering flame that can be extinguished with just a sudden breath or wispy breeze; that candle is now no longer glowing brightly just that suddenly, and as we are shown by Rachel’s traumatic example; in a manner of speaking!
This is not a joy ride or meant to be for anyone though so many make it a game of let’s try and outdo, or get the most money or popularity and fame,! That is a waste of time and foolish, because the simplest and most minute things are the most important; in those then quiet moment when we are truly disconnecting from this fake manmade “ways of the world” craziness! That is when revelation can make an appearance!
“38and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
That says it right there in my heart, I understand that total submission to God’s will and with complete utter humility is the thing that pleases Him more than anything we broken humans can do; and yet so many people especially in this modern high tech glitzy world, are not about that at all, but are more about “Self and Pride” getting to the top or outdoing the other guy while having success and things; all of it so much vanity!
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher. “Vanity of vanities! All [that is done without God’s guidance] is vanity [futile, meaningless—a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes, merely chasing the wind].” Ecclesiastes 1:2
I was raised and still consider myself a Catholic only interested in the Traditional Tridentine Latin Mass but not the current order as it was led away from the more genuine path after the Vatican II Council (11 October 1962–8 December 1965). The current man called the Pope is not, he is a fraud and heretic, just like this man we have for a President was installed. And I say this to point out just how corrupted and crooked the ways of the world have become. The world is a very dangerous and uglier place by the day it seems, because of all the deception and lies that are accepted now as good, and, “that going along to get along” is better than resisting or making waves; but that is the very reason we are in this horrendous mess we find this world now!
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20
It is all futile and will not shake out until the Second Coming as you are well aware, so for us to expect happy days and some smooth sailing condition is unrealistic and flies in the face of the Holy Scriptures! We know things will get very bad, and so bad that even the elect will be teetering or may even lose heart and faith! We cannot allow that as devoted Christians, we have to be willing to carry that cross and suffer whatever God allows for His Name Sake, Jesus Christ; not our sake, for who are any of us but lost lambs and sinners, who are actually doomed to hell without our Savior; to who we do owe everything! And we can’t even come close to showing the degree of appreciation that would align with what He has given to us by our deeds or works; but all he asks is we give Him our hearts and trust Him! While we live one day at a time as Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta put it, and if we do that of course while seeking the Father’s will in all things then we are doing well in our own trials, tribulations and testing! There are no guarantees in this fallen world, but, the one that we do know about unequivocally is from He who died on the cross our Savior; for any who will follow Him! Outside of that it’s truly hopeless!
It’s a God Send that you came out with this today because in-between other things I was working on an assay which is all about HOPE; which I was wanting to complete and publish today but then the wind got knocked out of my sails to accomplish today, so I said I’ll try to complete that tomorrow! Then, I opened my email and saw this article of yours and though I was short for time and even energy to be honest, right now I said to myself; hey I need to comment, and now I think it will be a reblog for sure!
I will complete that work tomorrow, but, I want to leave a portion of it here with your article!
Actually I was suddenly so motivated now that I decided I had to stay the course tonight and give you all I have from my thoughts earlier today, so now I leave the whole of it with your blog article! I know it will help someone, and I feel genuinely in my heart its helping me to fight fatigue, and so my inspiration comes from above; that is all I care about Hope!
Now watch this and contemplate what is being said in my words along with Admiral McRaven’s fine speech he presents in this video! But most importantly what our Father in heaven is telling us in all of these experiences and through our hearts via Jesus Christ our loving Savior who will never let you, me or anyone down if we give Him our heart, then we are going to make it to the promised land; His heavenly kingdom!
I’m leaving a paragraph here from a blog article I wrote back in July that I think will have some good points to consider if the interest was there to read all of this in the first place.
My Hope is that something here will help you Hope and anyone that loved having Rachel here in this life but will find solace knowing it’s a wonderful peace for her now in Heaven while we here still must carry on and do our best to follow Jesus; that is our objective and top priority now. Amen.
Now I say all of this, only because I know after many years that when I see horrible accidents or bad things happen to many people in this world maiming them or ending their lives, which I did see a lot more than I wanted to when working as a news shooter; I say “there but for the grace of God go I.” I was spared many times and I know it, but, my job is to do something with it, so perhaps I accomplish what it is God still wants me to do. Part of that might be to tell all of you this, so each one of you will be more sensible and cautious than I had been and more importantly you will confide in the Lord at all times, seeking His direct input in all you do, so as not to make a big plunder while at the same time increase your faith; because you truly believe, and want to grow in your love for Him!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
God bless you and yours.
Brother in Christ Jesus,
Lawrence Morra III
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