Friday, March 28, 2014

it's been three years.

This morning, Maddie and I spent a few minutes at the graveside of one of our childhood friends who died tragically three years ago today. It's the one event I can trace that forced me to "grow up" in so many ways, and changed my perspective on life and Jesus. I got a grasp on the fact that life is truly fleeting, and it's your relationship with Jesus and the way you love others that really counts in the end. Today, I am almost the exact same age my friend was when Jesus took him home…and I have to ask, if I died today, what kind of story would I leave behind?

I've also learned that time does NOT heal all wounds. Jesus does. And He sometimes He does it in such a way that it hurts - but it makes us stronger. I still get a hard achy feeling in my stomach when I think of Tommy, but I also have hope - and the knowledge that he's with Jesus. And I know that with all my heart. Nothing like having dear ones waiting in heaven to turn our eyes upward!

Tommy's testimony challenged so many - he was a dearly loved member of his close-knit family, and a dear friend of not only our family, but many, many others. The Celebration Service for his life was attended by hundreds of people, and was one of the hardest, most powerful, moving and spiritually encouraging days of my life.

Every day, I find more comfort in Christ on a deeper level - because He is an ever deepening ocean of mercy towards us. He grieves with us, hopes with us, encourages us to the higher road. He's there with us every step, and when the Valley of the Shadow seems to smother all light, He's still there.

I left a little index card at the graveside with some excerpts from Psalm 84 - a psalm I claimed earlier this month when the Lord was walking me through dependence on His sovereignty and teaching me joy during the waiting seasons of life. Here are the verses I chose:
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God...Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion...They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion...For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere… " - Psalm 84
Yes, I still cry. Yes, I still wish the "big brother" of my childhood days was here. I wish he was graduating from UVa this summer. I wish he could've lived a long life. But this year more than ever, I'm learning how to process this Jesus's way - and trust Him to work it all for His glory…even when it's still hard to see how.


  1. Oh, Liza, I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Sending extra hugs and prayers your way. Blessed to see how God used this tragedy to bring your where you needed to be.

    Love ya,

  2. Oh Liza.... I know the horror and reality that something like this brings, and how it all comes back again when it comes to 'that' date. God's promises are sure and steadfast. He will continue to bring you through and heal the wounds that death brings. Prayers going out to you and the family.
    In Christ, Heather
    2 Corinthians 4:16-5:8
    He giveth more grace!

  3. Oh, Liza, I remember that day. As I read these words, all I keep thinking is "Blessed is she who believes the Lord's words." Blessed are you and all who knew Tommy Four — who saw not God's wrath but God's mercy through his sudden death. Blessed are you who see the fig tree wither and still rejoice in the God of our salvation. Words are too simple to express my thoughts. You are loved, dear one, by the God Who washes away all our tears and turns our darkness into light.