Week 11: Running for Bella

I never told you this, but you were one of the reasons I decided to go to Florida College after high school. You were so friendly, open and encouraging and had "I love Jesus" stamped on your forehead. I knew that you were my kind of people. You were what I wanted to aspire to be and if Florida College was your choice then maybe that meant I could find more inspirational people like you there.

You've popped up on my Facebook newsfeed every now and then, usually with something witty or spiritual and it always lifted up my day. Until a few days ago when I read your post about losing your son moments after having him. My heart broke for you, yet at the same time, I was so in awe of you. Because even though you were in the midst of extreme tragedy, you praised God. It reminded me of the psalmist David after he lost his son, which further exemplified that you are a woman after God's own heart.

I can't do anything for you but pray and try to encourage. I'm powerless to shield you from this, which makes me ache for your family and friends who are experiencing this with you. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sorry for the pain and suffering that you'll endure for the rest of your life. I'm sorry that all the planning and expectation you had for sweet Keller Norman aren't going to happen. And I'm sorry if reading this breaks your heart all over again.

I'm running for you this week. It doesn't do anything for you and I'm sorry about that. But I wanted you to know that I'm sorry and that you're amazing. And I wanted to share your words with my friends who don't know you when you shared your grief a few days ago. You actually thanked those who had prayed for you, which is so like you, always thinking of other people.

I don't think I'll ever forget what you said yesterday. I've printed it out as an example of a strong, Godly woman to motivate myself to be better.

"Thank you. Exodus 14 has been our truth this past week. We are surrounded on every side - even as waves tower above us and tragedy presses in - we are protected.

The Lord is fighting for us - we just need to be still - and let his incredible goodness and power rain down.

Thank you - thank you over and over and over and over. We feel every prayer. We are bolstered by every hug, card, message - any little bit of love you place into our lives. The road will be long - and we need your continued support and petitions to our God. 

I would like to share a message we shared at the service for our Keller. Our prayer is that through this tragedy - we may all make a more conscious effort to let the world see Jesus. 

'Treat all you see and interact with as if they just lost their child - we don't know the long, dusty, tiresome road that may have brought someone to where they are - and I know for certain that they all need the gentle, never stopping, overflowing, never giving up love of Jesus in their lives - at the very moment you encounter them.

YOU are the hands of Jesus.
YOU are the voice of Jesus.
YOU are the feet of Jesus.
You are the JESUS in this world. 

Be Jesus.
He is risen. He is real. He has overcome.
Be Jesus.

Let them see Jesus today.'"

I love you and I pray for strength and comfort to your family as I run this week.