There is a family in our small group at church who was in a terrible car accident last month. Four children were in the car with their mother on an average Monday afternoon and the 5-year old boy (the only biological boy) died. The two oldest daughters still have a long road ahead. I think anyone with children can imagine that mother’s pain. A mom’s worst nightmare unfolding…we’ve all had that thought and wondered, would you be okay if that happened? In the midst of this terrible tragedy, I have never seen Christ shine like he has in this family and in our community. I have never been more confident in Hebrews 11:1 “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This world is not all we have. Jesus has called little Micah home and all of this will be restored. One day. His ways are higher than ours and He is good. All the time. We can’t see it yet, and it doesn’t make sense now, but we are sure of what we hope for…that Christ conquered death and we stand firm in our living hope that “He will wipe away every tear…there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” (Rev 21:4) God is being glorified through this family and I have never seen so much love poured out by friends and complete strangers. I don’t think there’s a person in our city who hasn’t been touched by this and who hasn’t responded in some way. The mother, Ryann, spoke at the funeral/”celebration of life” about hope in God. It was one of the most amazing testaments to Christ I have ever seen. The link to the story of the celebration of life is here.
The death of this precious boy has stirred something in me on a personal level than I wanted to share. Something ugly in me that has been released, confessed and that Christ is transforming for his good. Thank you Jesus and thank you Micah for what you have exposed in my heart. The last time I saw Micah was when his mom had brought him and his younger sister to play. It was his first and only play date at our house. His sister is my daughter’s age and they played together while Micah looked for something to do. Our house isn’t exactly equipped for 5-year-old boys. Then, he saw it. The only riding toy we had. A red car. He got on it and took off, from one end of the house to the other as fast as he could. Until he found the dining room table. Then he ran the red car into the table. Over and over. When my husband called to tell me he had passed away, I was sitting on the couch, dining room table in front of me. No words for how I felt. I broke down in tears and wrote this letter.
You are in heaven now. With Jesus. God made you in His image. He made you lively, precious, all boy…you came over and you drove that red car into my dining room table over and over…and in my heart, I did not have joy that you were in my home…and now you’re gone…forever. And in our one encounter on this earth, I was more worried about my dining room table than getting to know you, to touch your face, to talk to you…now I look at that table and want to throw it out the window. My heart…it’s dark, Micah…and all I can say is…I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for my desire for control, for in the box, for neat and tidy…I’m sorry that you never got to see the joy Jesus has given me by saving me…you didn’t see Christ in me and I only passed by you…once. Tell that Jesus who you are with … tell him I am so sorry…tell him to help my dark heart….to help me let go and love people like he would. I’m throwing this stuff that ties me down away…this world is so fleeting…Jesus, will you help me? Micah, I’d love for you to come back and drive that red car all over my dining room. But you can’t. So in your honor, I’m asking Jesus to open my eyes to who is in front of me each day and help me see them as he does and love them as he would. And please, Jesus…take extra special care of Micah.
This life is a breath. A breath!!! Like many people in my path, I would only pass by Micah once. How many “dining room tables” do we hold onto in life when God’s children are right in front of us? Can we agree that we have things that keep us from receiving love and loving big? Things like control, fear, shame, secrets, expectations, grudges….can we please ask God to help us shake them off? And open our eyes to His children who are in our path every day?
I heard a sermon recently about being free. About how we will spend thousands of dollars to go to Africa to see wild animals. We’ll put it on our bucket list. Yet, there is a zoo down the road with the exact same animals. Why go to Africa? Because something in us wants to see God’s created things living the way they were created to be. We want to see them in the wild, living free. God, I desire to live as you designed me. Not as a zoo animal caged up. I am positive God didn’t create me to protect a dining room table. And that He created children to want to run and play with nothing in their way.
God has used Micah to unleash in me a freedom to let go and love big. I pray each morning, “Lord, give me your eyes for today and each person in my path. Help me to walk in the Spirit.” My path has not changed, but HE has changed the way I see people in it. Wow!!! I have put down my phone, stopped racing a million miles a minute toward my agenda, looked at people’s faces and asked “God, give me your eyes. What is YOUR agenda for this person and how can I help?” Pray that prayer and watch what God shows you! Pray it in an elevator and break the silence!
God has answered this prayer daily. He particularly answered it in the Target parking lot in a way that blessed my socks off. I was with my daughter with our cart full of groceries. We were headed to the car and saw a man sauntering toward us with a sign. Typically, I would run from a man like this. No time for this. Will he hurt me? My kid is with me, we gotta go. But not this time. “God give me your eyes for how you see this man.” God cares for the lost. He makes that clear over and over in Scripture. This man was lost. I made eye contact as he walked toward us and motioned him over. He held a sign that said, “I am deaf. Please help. I need $1.” I asked his name. He motioned he could not talk. Of course, he was deaf. I reached out my hand and placed it on his shoulder and told him I was going to pray for him. As I began praying, he leaned in for a hug. A big, warm, sincere, messy embrace. He hugged like he needed a hug. He couldn’t hear me but I held Him and prayed for Jesus to heal him and for him to know the love of God and I told him how in heaven the deaf will hear and blind will see. He just looked at me as I spoke. His eyes were blue and beautiful, full of love and tears. He was hurting and very sincere. Mary was right there with us. I gave him the cash in my wallet, just $2. He said goodbye and pointed to the sky, then his heart, then me and nodded and left…it was like a hug from God.
My friend Liz reminded me that Micah’s brother, roommate and best friend (his adopted brother, Asher) is deaf. She reminded me that one of Micah’s closest relationships while he was here was with a deaf boy and that he had a heart for the deaf too. She suggested that perhaps when the man pointed to the sky, then his heart, then to me…when he said “God loves you,” perhaps he also said “Micah loves you.” Thanks Micah. Thanks little buddy. Thanks for teaching me not to miss the moment. And reminding me I wasn’t made for the zoo. I love you, too. I love you, too.