Ding. I looked down at the text that had just come in from my daughter.
“I need you to pray. Tiffany’s mom flipped their four wheeler into the pond with Tiffany’s niece and nephew. They are on the way to Erlanger”.
I’ll never forget the impact of those words, it was as if someone had punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. Waves of nausea washed over me. My ears began to ring and my vision went dark, I thought I was going to pass out.
Still gasping for air I dropped to my knees and began to pray but words eluded me. I heard a sound I didn’t recognize. There it was again. I’m still not sure whether it was an audible sound or that I simply heard it in my spirit, a groaning that seemed to come from my heart. All I could eek out was ” Oh God!”
As I pressed into my prayer the words finally came. They trickled out at first but before long they fell over the edge of my lips like a waterfall.
God may your peace envelop them
Remind them of Your truth
Guide the doctors
God may their faith remain strong
Strengthen them according to Your Word …
Ding. Another text came in. This time I was hesitant to read it. I just knew deep down …
“No one made it”
As word got out and the body began to absorb the news and come together to minister to the family I found my response was not uncommon.
Person after person told of being weighed down with an incredible mantel of grief that nearly crushed the very breath out of them.
Heaven was being bombarded with the intercessory prayers of the saints, begging for mercy, peace and comfort for those who are left behind. Sometimes with words, sometimes with deep, deep groaning.
A community of believers, each one Jesus with skin on to those who need to see God’s love manifested in a very tangible way. A love that snaked its way through the funeral home and spilled out into the parking lot, not minding the 2 1/2 hour wait to be shed abroad into the hearts of a family suffering such an unimaginable loss.
A fellowship of suffering by nearly 1200, groaning under mantles of mourning they still carried, took the time to attend a memorial service in the middle of the day, to show the family how much God loves them. God’s love embraced the family and drew them close.
It was a time to celebrate life, eternal life. Life that doesn’t end – life that simply changes clothes. Renee stepped out of her “earth suit” and is now clothed in righteousness.
The Pastor’s words were medicinal and the praise and worship was a soothing balm. Breathing became less labored. The groans began to morph into an amazing melody, almost angelic.
And this song came to mind describing what was happening so well
(click title to listen to song)
Where there once
Was only hurt
He gave His healing hand
Where there once
Was only pain
He brought comfort
Like a friend
I feel the sweetness
Of His love
Piercing my darkness
I see the bright
And morning sun
As it ushers in
His joyful gladness
You’ve turned my mourning
Into dancing again
You’ve lifted my sorrows
And I can’t stay silent
I must sing
For Your joy has come
Your anger lasts
For a moment in time
But Your favor is here
And will be on me for
All all my lifetime
© 1992 Integrity’s Praise! Music Words and Music by Tommy Walker
A community came together to minister to the family. They had been carrying their grief for four days, nearly smothering under the oppressiveness of it. But in God’s perfect time He gave His healing hand to those not family who needed Him to lift their sorrow.
There was a oneness of Spirit from the beginning to the end of the service. A single mind. Focused on one thing. That unity of Spirit encircled the body drawing them together into one, single minded entity.
The weight of the mantle was lifted by His love piercing the darkness and His healing hand brought comfort to those not family. They began to see the morning sun usher in His joyful gladness once again!
It’s not that they don’t remember the hurt of the family, they do and they continue to pray for them. But the oppressive weight has been lifted, their sorrows have been lifted so that they can sing of what He has done!
Mourning turned into joy!
The family, having been given those days of grace, will now be able to mourn without being crushed in Spirit. They too will experience God’s healing hand, they will be comforted and His love will pierce their darkness and usher in His joyful gladness.
He will turn their mourning into dancing again! They will not be able to stay silent, they will shout and make Him known and we will know that His joy has come!
Now I know even more deeply what it means to weep with those who weep.
Could it be in that weeping and carrying the mantle of mourning we are allowing those who are suffering to “breathe” and take care of business until the time comes that they are taken by the hand by the God of all comfort to walk them through – Piercing their darkness with His love healing their broken hearts turning their mourning into joy again!
BJ thank you so much for this. It expresses the exact way I felt during those dark days. And it also expresses what I how I saw the ‘family’ of God come together in a mighty way!
Stephanie, thanks for responding! I pray it blesses others who read this. It was really amazing to me that so many people were feeling the same thing. Unity brought the “family of God” together as they became single focused on the Monroe/Askew/Cohen family. Imagine what unity would be there if the body of Christ were single focused on Jesus!
Wow, thank you for writing this. I am so touched! God has blessed our family more than we could ever deserve!!!
Lucas, thank you so much for writing. Your family has touched many lives and all who were watching saw Jesus on display! I know you still have difficult times ahead, but I also know the same God who was there on that tragic day walking you through will be with you through the days ahead. We continue to pray as God brings you to mind. Stand firm in the truth that you know and glorify God throughout your life. That is what would not only please your mother but your heavenly Father as well.
My daughter & I were, also, profoundly shocked & saddened when we heard that Renee & her precious grandchildren had had a fatal accident.
Charlie & Renee were our neighbors in Mountain Shadows. I will never forget how Renee came out as I strolled Danielle by their home. She was referring me to Dr. Oliver Jenkins, her childrens Pediatrician. Being from CA & new to TN, I relied on many new referrals for our daughters medical care.
I am forever grateful to Renee for sharing her love of her families care with us.
We had many great comforting experiences living in that home surrounded by strong Christian families.
When my husband, Dan, bravely challenged his Multiple Sclerosis, I knew I would always be lifted back up by one of God’s angels in the form of a neighbor or friend.
The loss of a child or spouse is so profound that only a strong Faith & community of Love can help us Sing & Love in peace again.
Dan went to be with the Lord in February 2007. I thank God every day that He gave us our daughter Danielle & that she now has her daughter Madison Alyse.
I am challenging myself to stay the course of God’s will in this new chapter of my life in GA living with my Dad. He will be 87 June 1st.
God is great & God is good, I pray daily that I will be a blessing to Him.
Thank you for all the beautiful, positive messages of love for the Monroe family that have proven to lift me up as well. As we share in our Christian families challenges and celebrations we grow spiritually & strengthen our bond to our Lord God Almighty.
Susan thank you for your testimony. Although I didn’t know Renee I have been touched by her life and the legacy she has left, for that I am forever grateful.
I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s passing that is very difficult.
May the Lord continue to strengthen you and show you how much He loves you in the days ahead. May you be a blessing to both your earthly father and your Heavenly Father.
The mantle of mourning. I had prayed for this family unknown to me as I saw on Facebook this sad event. Thank you for sharing this word of encouragement for all the body of Christ. We are one in the Spirit.
Alison, Thanks so much for praying. Please continue as the Lord brings them to mind. They still have some difficult days ahead, but their faith remains strong.