I was surprised when I went to your funeral. There was grief; how can hearts not be broken when a child dies? But amidst the tears, there was a hope. It was something more than a 'well, at least now she's in a better place' hope; it was an unwavering hope that stems from a sure faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished by His death and resurrection (although I didn't understand that at the time). Your sweet sister gave me a butterfly pin to help remember you by. I still have it. I don't need it, though, to remember you.
For months after we all said our good-byes to you, I thought. I wrestled with the idea that anyone could be certain of God. I replayed, often, the conversation we had. You pointed out that I was a sinner in desperate need of God's magnificent grace. You explained, in your childlike way, that Jesus Christ had come and died (and rose again!), that my sins might be forgiven, so that when I too faced death I wouldn't have to be scared. I read lots of books about God. I even picked up my dusty old Bible that I got when I graduated Sunday School back in the day and I read some of it. I started praying, even. What a big step for a 19-year-old who had turned her back on anything that pertained to God.
Then I made my decision, Sarah, in April 2002. I decided that no matter what it cost me, I would follow and serve Jesus Christ. What a sweet relief to my weary soul, to know that all of my sins - large and small - had been washed away by His death, and to be so assured of my destination when my days here were complete.
Much has happened since then. I have been married for 6 1/2 years to a wonderful man and I have three beautiful little girls. Hannah just joined the family in October. Her older sisters delight in her, much the same way I'm sure Erin & Lauren delighted in you when you came along.
I'd like to think that I've given Jesus control over every area of my life; I would like to say that no matter what He asks of me I would give it in an instant because of all He has done for me. But there is one area that I struggle with so often. I wonder, if He asked of me one of my daughters for the sake of someone else's salvation, would I be so eager? The answer, almost all of the time, is one of hesitation. A mother's heart is jealous for her children. But, for my salvation, and for the sake of countless others, the Lord used you so mightily in your 9 years to draw people to Him through Jesus Christ. Your life impacted not only mine, but the lives of my husband and children. I am grateful for your life and I am grateful for the hope you had in facing death.
I pray nightly that God will use my precious girls as they grow to make others want to know more about who God is and how wonderful He is to live for. What a privilege to share the love of Jesus with them and to watch as they share His love with others. Because of you, I never take for granted how God can use the faith and love of a child to spread hope to a lost and dying world.
I look forward to worshiping Jesus with you on that side of glory, and to introducing you to my daughters!
Merry Christmas, sweet Sarah :)
Your sister in Christ,