Yesterday was the memorial service for Retia Dukes in Orlando. The service was a great tribute to her. She definitely left a legacy. A legacy of love that will continue to carry on through every life she touched.
It meant so much to me to get the voice mails I received yesterday from friends that didn't know Retia, but prayed for her over the last 4 months. Thank you for leaving messages that you were praying for me and her family yesterday as we remembered Retia.
It was hard for me to look at the grandkids. These little ones that she loved so much. It still makes me sad and angry that they will not have Retia to share life with as they grow up. Times like these are hard to understand, so I won't even begin trying to explain them. I am clueless. It just doesn't make sense.
It doesn't make sense to my finite mind at all. In a world where so many families do not have an example of unconditional love, why would this family that is full of love and grace have such a significant person taken from them? That question continues to roll through my mind and I have to be honest, I struggle with it.
Yes, I know Romans 8:28. I know that God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. I know that God has been at work in this family and will continue to be at work. I know that, but he never said that all things are good. Losing Retia is not good. It is bad. It is sad. The promise is that God will take all of this bad and sad stuff and bring good out of it. Somehow, someway he knows how to weave a beautiful tapestry out of circumstances and emotions that can get me all tangled up.
We live in a fallen world. This world is not our permanent home. THANK YOU GOD! We will suffer. Even when it is not our fault. I am sad today. I am sad because this has been a long journey for this family, and the journey is not over.
Yes, Retia is no longer among them physically. There is finality in that; however, the journey of learning to live in this "new normal" has just begun. Please do not stop praying for this precious family as the Lord brings them to your mind. They need are prayers just as much now.
While I am sad today, I am thankful for a blessing the Lord gave me on this journey. God has blessed me through the CaringBridge website. God knew I needed to have a visual picture of how big His family is. There were so many people that gathered around this one family. It was good to reconnect with old friends and make new ones as I read the journals and the guestbook.
I couldn't help to think about how much bigger God's family really is. It is huge. I needed this reminder. I needed to be reminded that God has His children scattered all over the place. He knows where each of us are and one day there will be a "great gathering" of all the saints. MUCH bigger than CaringBridge.
Until that day may be about our Father's business. May we continue to love as we have been loved. May we walk where Jesus would walk and remember how He carried his cross up a hill in order to bridge the gap between us and God.
Let's not forget one another. Let's keep caring for one another and allowing Christ to bridge the gaps.