Two weeks ago, I posted a short message on my blog asking you to pray.
They found James yesterday. But I'm going to back up a little. There were several more events that happened after I posted that message. The following Wednesday, Matt and I went to a prayer/worship service at our church (instead of LifeGroup) hosted for the community for James. It was really pretty amazing. The place was packed. But the atmosphere was so positive. It really shocked me. And at the end of the service, James's sister and brother got up to speak. And they were so focused on God and so positive. Not positive that the outcome of this situation would be positive. But positive that God was in control and that James would be safe no matter what the outcome.
Then last week I got an email from Jodi (who hosts our LifeGroup every week) asking for volunteers to go to Ocean Pond this past weekend to help serve food to all of the volunteers that have been out there so diligently working. Matt and I couldn't make it that Saturday night, so we signed up to go Sunday after church with most of our LG. We signed up because we just felt like we needed to *do* something. And that maybe this could be our way to show support to the family.
What I didn't intend on happening was that his family would lift US up. That they would encourage us. That they would minister to us. I used to work with James's sister years and years ago. We haven't spoken much since then - just kept up mildly through facebook. And I met his mom, Tammy, a number of times during the time that Lindsay and I worked together.
Tammy blew me away on Sunday. To see God so evident in her life. To see that she was okay with this. Not that she was okay, but that she knew that James was serving a higher purpose now. And that God was working through him tremendously. She encouraged me the entire time that I talked to her. She was so positive. And so full of God. Not grief, or anger. Peace. Trust. And it floored me. To see God like that.
One thing that she said that stuck with me is - James is fully protected now. He lived his life for God, loved those around him, encouraged others, and loved Jesus. And he died in the middle of that. And now he'll never have to experience loss, never have to be heart broken, never have to be angry or sad. And her telling me this in the midst of searching for her son blew me away.
My heart has been heavy since hearing the news yesterday morning. It's effected me much more than I thought it would. I think because we were just there. Just saw the pond. Saw all of the vehicles from out of town. Saw the dogs. Saw the boats. Talked to the volunteers. And divers. Got ministered to by his family.
I saw a video on Facebook tonight of the family getting to talk to the dog that found James.
And I was effected.
I think about my conversation with Tammy, and I'm effected.
I think about everything that's happened in the past 2 weeks, and I'm effected.
I think about what this young man's testimony and what his life has done to this community, and I'm challenged.
God is bigger. God can use anyone. God can use anything.