Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ashes, snowflakes and yellow

ash wednesday and white flakes fall in georgia.


ash wednesday and we leave the funeral of our friends' daughter with snowflakes swirling soft in gray southern skies.

it doesn't snow in the south.
that's not supposed to happen.

but, today is a day of not-supposed-to-happen --- this funeral day for a 12 year old girl.

not supposed to happen ---- at least from where we stand. swirl. fall.

this girl who was everything sunshine to anyone who knew her ... even anyone who knew of her.

this girl who was known for singing, "the sun will come out tomorrow."

and, today, her family and friends celebrated the shine of her. the glow of yellow everywhere. bunches of bright roses, bundles of smiley-faced balloons. a congregation of mourners dressed in pops of yellow.

it doesn't fit this day of death.
it doesn't fit this wednesday of ashes.
it doesn't even fit this day of gray skies and its hint of snow.

except that it does.

except it is exactly the perfect color for a golden girl like kylie myers.

i'm not sure any of us will ever see yellow again and not think of the impact this young lady had on all of us ... in her life ... and, yes, even in her death.

yellow. the color of victory. golden, even in grief.

heads bowed, tears falling, shoulders folded ... but bright, bold, vibrant celebrations of yellow everywhere across the room and all i could think from my balcony seat,
"o death, where is your victory? o death, where is your sting?"  ~ 1 corinthians 15:55

let me tell you where it wasn't.

it wasn't when her daddy in his bright yellow sport coat got up in front of the thousand plus people gathered and started his talk boldly declaring this:  "Jesus is on His throne!"

he told us kylie would want us to know that. and he said, because he has learned through our school the importance of repetition, he would say it again. he wanted to make sure every one of us clearly heard him, "JESUS. IS. ON. HIS. THRONE!"

what family wears yellow to their baby girl's funeral?
what daddy gets up and declares God on His throne when his daughter is in her grave?

i'll tell you ---
a family and a father who do not grieve as the world grieves. a family with great grief, yes, but a family with even greater hope. a family who knows with confidence that Jesus "will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more." (revelation 21:4). a family who is certain their child is now dancing with Jesus on the golden streets of heaven under a banner announcing, "new!"

ash wednesday.
a day in the church where we remember our humanity. our frailty. our dust.
"we are dust ... and to dust we shall return."
ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
there's no mark of ash needed on the forehead of those in attendance at a young girl's funeral on this wednesday.
we know.

and the snow flakes fall gently from our southern sky.
white and clean and clear.

and though we know, there's not a one who pretends to understand.

but as kylie's dad, mark, said, "maybe we aren't supposed to."
"just because we can't understand it, doesn't make it not real."
and then he went on to further explain, "i don't understand quantum physics or gravity or the rules of the semi colon or women! but, that doesn't mean these things aren't real and true."

we can't understand the things of God.
and we aren't meant to.
that was never God's plan.
He made that perfectly clear in the garden -- at that unyielding tree of knowledge.
He made that even clearer on the hill golgotha -- at that yielded tree -- the cross.

we can't know.
we won't know.
we aren't supposed to know.

there will be places of great gray ... much mystery ... occasional confusion.
count on it.
because He is God and we are not.
He is creator and, we, only created.

and try as we might, there is no science nor system nor situation which can secure us anything more.

"for who has known the mind of the Lord?" romans 11:34
tell me who?  

recently, i heard one of my favorite writers say this, "what kind of God would He be if i could contain Him and all His ways within the limited boundaries of my brain?" (Jen Hatmaker).

no, be assured, we don't understand.

and it's not just kylie's 7th grade girlfriends or her sweet young sisters ... it's every one of us.
child and adult.
we don't understand.
we can't.

in closing, kylie's pastor offered this: "we trust the heart of God when we can't understand His ways."

and so that was what today was about ----
not understanding the hand of God, but getting a better glimpse into the heart of God.
a glimpse of a God who loves kylie more than the thousands gathered together today combined and multiplied.

this same God who loves you just as passionately ... just as purposefully ... just as tenderly.

that's what kylie knew when she passed from this life. she told her parents and her pastor in her final few days that she had a "strange peace."

this strange peace? yes. the only real peace.
"the peace that passes all understanding..."  (philippians 4:7).

what 12 year old girl facing death has peace?

a girl, who stands in the golden light of her Father's grace.

a girl who was gifted to her family and to this world to lead others to the peace and presence of Jesus.

a girl with a smile and song and heart of gold.

a girl who sings center stage,
"just thinking' about tomorrow 
clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 
'til there's none.
when i'm stuck with a day that's grey
and lonely
i just stick up my chin and grin and say 
oh ...
the sun will come out tomorrow..."

"for my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. 
"as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
as the rain and the snow come down from heaven ... 
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: 
it will not return to me empty, 
but will accomplish what i desire 
and achieve the purpose for which i sent it." ~ isaiah 55: 8-11


Simply LKJ said...

Jody, Thank you for sharing. We prayed for Kylie and her family this morning as a group. Yellow roses have always been a favorite of mine, and now I will always remember sweet Kylie and her bright light for Jesus each time I receive them. We can take comfort in knowing she is no longer in pain, rather dancing with Jesus.

Mom Jodes said...

Jody, I love how you are able to articulate my thoughts and feelings perfectly! Thank you for sharing your heart. Much love, Jody