I consider myself beyond blessed to be the mother of not one, but two little girls. Little girls who will one day grow into women. When they came into this world, I never could have imagined that I would one day be left bringing them up alone. Parenting as a single mother, I have learned how important it is to surround my children with good influences, both men and women, because I know they are taking in the world around them and paying attention to the adults in their lives. I have learned how important it is to be the kind of woman myself that I want my girls to emulate and surround them with strong and faithful adults.
I wanted to share today some personal thoughts that I can only hope will be a small light to others who are currently engulfed in the darkness of suffering the death of a loved one. Simply put, death is the end of life. There’s a popular saying that “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Life will inevitably end for every single one of us, and I can attest to the fact that there will still be expenses to pay when it does. It is most important to remember that our God has already overcome death and is absolutely more certain than our government.
Death will come for all of us one day, but it is not anything we need to live in fear of. First of all, the time of our death has already been written (Psalm 139). One of the most comforting pieces I read after Taylor passed was an article on the Christian view of mortality that quoted Stonewall Jackson. When asked by his captain the source of his bravery, Jackson replied, “Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”
“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.”
My late-husband had a similar approach to life as Jackson. He would often remind me of this sentiment when I would nag him not to text while driving or encourage him to eat better. Taylor liked to tease me that the worst case scenario in any situation is that we die and go to heaven and I would have to add on, “But you don’t need to try to get there early.” It seems silly to reflect on this now because I know that God’s ways are higher than ours and He has already fixed the time of our deaths.
We are even reminded not to be anxious about this fixed time in Matthew 6:27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” If God knows every hair on our heads, we can guarantee he knows every thought in our brains, every feeling in our hearts and the exact instance those vital organs will cease to function and sustain our life on earth. We don’t need to worry about what is on the other side of this permanent cessation of vital organs because we know that bodily death is not the end for the Christian. We know that the battle has already been won and that death has been defeated. We know that what awaits us on the other side is a world free of sin; free of mourning, crying and pain. What awaits us is freedom personified, offered to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
I have just started diving into a study on the book of Job and have been reminded of those early stages of grief. I wanted to re-share a post I wrote in the summer of 2020. Growing up, my parents always warned me to “choose my friends wisely.” I don’t know if they were aware that this advice is all over the Bible, but the older I get, I see just how important it is to surround yourself with good people. I am still completely amazed by the support and grace I have received from everyone around me and the scriptural wisdom is just as true today as it was last summer as well as over 2,000 years ago.
“‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'”
To this day, I get overwhelming feedback from people who attended Taylor’s memorial service telling me that their biggest takeaway was that they wanted to be a better friend. The legacy Taylor left behind is a display of God’s will for our relationships with each other. I know he would be honored to be remembered this way because he valued his friendships immensely. I hope Taylor’s story and his attitude towards life can serve as a push for all of us to reach out to the ones in our own circles and approach our friendships following the examples given to us in the Bible.