I thank my God every time I remember you.
I’ve always understood that verse to mean that I am so grateful for the life of a person… that when I think of them, I thank God for them. When I think of how dear my children are to me… sometimes moved to tears by the undeserved gift they are to me… I thank God for them.
And that is beautiful and it is true.
But Ericlee and Dorina have inspired a new interpretation in my heart.
Every time I think of either of them… I see, in their lives lived out, that GOD IS GOOD. And when I think of them, I think of His goodness.
And upon my remembrance of His grace and glory and intimacy revealed in their lives… I find an overflow of gratitude in my depths to God for His sovereignty.
I thank God every time I remember them.
Many of you know that recently Jeremy commissioned me to spend ten days in Fresno, to walk with Dorina the journey of pain and grief and mercy in the first days after Ericlee made his gold-medal winning leap into the arms of Jesus, his Savior.
We wept. We laughed. We sang. We questioned. We sat silent. We smiled through tears. We ached. We hugged. We shouldered this grief and bore it with all the strength that God offers. I walked in her shadow, honored to be welcomed into this sacred place. Observing. Being.
I didn’t know what gifts I had to give until they were given and God smiled on my mourning heart.
And I saw a smile on hers.
The anthem over my friendship with Dorina has been “For Good” from the musical Wicked. These excerpts are especially meaningful to me:
I’ve heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are lead to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you’ll have rewritten mine
By being my friend…
Because I knew you
I have been changed…
Watching joy and sorrow dance with Dorina has been an experience to change me.
She is a woman of grace. She is brave. She is trained… living a life that chooses Him as Lord of her life… as Lover of her soul. A life that chooses trust. That chooses depth. That chooses intimacy with Him. Built on a foundation that isn’t easily rocked or cracked or swayed when life’s storms come.
Because He has overcome the world.
And when the fallen pieces of this world reach your doorstop… how you’ve lived up until that moment determines everything after.
Dorina’s “everything after” reveals that grand glory of God and His long-time residence in her heart.
She makes me brave, too. And all of this, not because she is able to muster up some crazy ability to walk this road well… but because of the work of Christ in her. His sustaining work in her inspires… dare I say, all of us?
And if she does it well, then she does it because of the wellspring of Life that promises to quench our true thirst.
The wellspring that we all have access to (John 7:37-38)
For HIS glory.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
And so, when I remember Ericlee and Dorina, I thank God.
Yes, for them.
But more for how good He is.
How can I possibly say He is GOOD at a time like this? In pain such as this? In loss such as this? HOW IS THIS GOOD?
The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. -Nahum 1:7
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. – Psalm 27:13
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. – Genesis 50:20
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Ericlee’s life and death reveal this goodness. Check out Ericlee’s Ceremony of Life and decide for yourself…