Over the past week or so I’ve had the opportunity to witness God’s grace first hand. It has been beautiful and excruciating at times.
To understand I’ll have to take you back to middle school. That’s when a new family moved in to our neighborhood. The Butlers had two girls, Robin and Jill. Robin was my age. Jill was two years younger than us.
Robin and I became fast friends. We had a so much in common: a love of sports, dance, music, even some mischief. But Robin was different from many of my friends. Even at that young age, I could see her love for Christ. Little did any of us know back then that love and faith would carry her through this week.
Robin and I lost touch after high school. We kept up with each other through our parents (our moms both did the neighborhood walk in the morning). That was how I found out about Jill’s brain tumor.
It didn’t seem real. Jill was always so full of life. She was always smiling, laughing, in to something. And she was Robin’s little sister – it just didn’t seem real or fair. I remember being upset and angry that someone so young, beautiful, and Christian had to go through something so horrible.
But Jill beat the odds for six years. Thanks to facebook – I got to keep up with Jill and Robin first hand. Jill would make posts about praying to keep the chemo pills down…. and how she couldn’t wait to have dinner at Rosie’s. I don’t know why I remember those things. I have 500 friends on facebook and Jill’s posts always stayed with me. Maybe it was because she was always upbeat. Maybe it was because I knew one day we would lose her and I wanted to hold on to what I could.
This weekend I learned something truly amazing about Jill. Robin told me she was never scared. Not when the doctor told her she had a tumor. Not when she realized her time was getting small. Jill truly had no fear. What a testament! I What a wonderful way to glorify our God!
And her family is just as faithful. In the days before Jill passed, I left a note for Robin on facebook letting her know I was thinking of her and praying for her. She responded by saying the coming weeks would be hard but “God is so good.”
Her faith was just as strong at Jill’s visitation Saturday. She was hurting – no doubt about it. But there was a calm about her that you can’t get from anything but faith. And that calm didn’t stop with Robin. Her sweet parents had the same serenity about them. You could feel their trust in the Lord and their faithfulness.
I thought about closing by telling Jill to rest in peace. But that would not be fitting for Jill. Jill, have a party in heaven tonight – show them how its done. Those of us here on earth will do our best to watch out for and love your family.