Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I'll Fly Away



Last week we got a call telling us that the daughter of the missionaries we work with in Nicaragua died in a freak accident. Taellor Stearns, a beautiful young lady totally devoted to serving the Lord and loving others for His name, died at 19-years-old. I got to know her some in October when we were in Nicaragua and got to see her relaxed, joyful spirit that always made everyone feel included; she made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. 

I sat at the kitchen table in shock when we found out. I suddenly felt sick. It couldn't be real. Sweet Taellor, who was so alive in every way, couldn't be dead. My dad said she had died in a hammock, a branch had broken and she had hit her head on pavement. I can just imagine her, softly swinging back and forth, probably humming, in total contentment. 

It's in moments like these that cause us to think about things such as God's sovereignty, what faith looks like, how to fully trust God in every moment, with everything, how short life really is, and about the kind of legacy you want to leave behind you. These questions and thoughts have filled my head in the days since her home-going. For a Christian, dying is just going home, stepping from this world of uncertainty into the presence of our loving Creator. 

I tend to over-think things and worry about things that may never happen. I like to plan everything, to know every detail ahead of time. All of that has caused me to struggle with anxiety. God has been bringing me verses of encouragement about resting in the fact that, I'm not in control, leading up to Taellor's death. Her death has brought all of these thoughts to a point. 

I was reminded that no matter how much I plan and try to feel "in control", I really am not. I am not even in control of my own heartbeat. My heart, which is so deeply a part of me, could stop beating without my consent or choice, and there would be nothing I could do about it. God can take me home whenever and wherever He wants, in His perfect will. Is God's will really perfect? Yes. I know that. But is it really?  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."~ Jeremiah 29:11. His plans are perfect. 

Taylor's death is already bringing people closer to God. Not only is her family able to share that with Christ, we have victory over death, to the Nicaraguans; but Taylor's death can encourage us as believers to live each day as if it were our last and always trust in God's plan. 

So, note to self: stop worrying. God's got this. Through His redeeming love, we don't have to fear death. Through God's strength alone, we can overcome worry. We will overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. I can now die to my fears and doubts and live in Christ. Sure, we all struggle sometimes but God gives us hope in trusting Him. 

Thank you Jesus for Taellor's love and encouragement in life, and her victory in death. We love You God, and praise you for giving Taellor 19 wonderful years.