One year. 12 months. 365 days. 8,670 hours. 525,600 minutes. A lot can change in a year. There are times in every life that you can look back, pin point and say, “That day. That hour. It changed me.” August 12th, 2016 will forever be a time in my life, and in so many lives, that I will point to and say this changed me. I will never be able to forget the moment when I was first told their plane had crashed. In a moment of such shocking news, I think your mind just stops. It shuts down, because the reality is too much to comprehend. Such pain is too unbearable. It’s too much to grasp.

Now, one year later, that pain is still so great. You learn to live with the grief and the pain, but the grief never goes away. I will never stop hurting for the loss of Lisa, Luke, Emma, and Maren. There’s no remedy for that pain this side of heaven. Initially, it seemed that life would never again go on, but time doesn’t stop and life does go on and you learn to live a new normal. It’s crazy to look back at my posts after everything happened https://thenicarriedyou.com/2016/08/15/aching-heart/ and https://thenicarriedyou.com/2016/09/01/wrestling-heart/ At times, this feels like it was forever ago, and other times, the pain of that moment feels fresh enough to have happened yesterday.

It’s currently 3:52am on August 9th, my birthday, and I’m up in the middle of the night, writing this, because I couldn’t sleep. My heart has been so heavy this week. As I write, the song “Even When it Hurts” by Hillsong just came on. It took me back to just a few days after the crash. During that time, I had no words for the Lord. I couldn’t put together a single prayer, but this song became a lifeline for me. Every time I hear it since, I remember running on the treadmill in our basement with this song blaring.. the lyrics:

“Take this fainted heart. Take these tainted hands. Wash me in your love. Come like grace again. Even when my strength is lost. I’ll praise you. Even when I have no song, I’ll praise you. Even when it’s hard to find the words, louder then I’ll sing your praise. I will only sing your praise. Take this mountain weight. Take these ocean tears. Hold me through the trial. Come like hope again. Even when the fight seems lost, I’ll praise you. Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you. Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder then I’ll sing your praise. I will only sing your praise”

and I was just crying/screaming out the verse of the song, with tears. Tonight, I find myself laying in bed with tears again falling down my cheeks, still holding onto the lines of this song. I remember creating an album on spotify just a week or so after the crash called “broken.” The only songs in there were Pieces by bethel, this song, and Here Now by Hillsong. Today this album has grown to 68 songs. It’s 6hours and 11minutes, and I listen to it every day. It was a reminder of how God grows things out of our brokenness. I’m still broken, but that brokenness allows His light to propagate through.

God woke me up around 2am by impressing upon my heart Psalm 27:13, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

As we reach the milestone of one year without our best friends, family, neighbor, or whatever Luke, Lisa, Emma, and Maren were in your life, I think what God wants us to hear is that He is in control, and not only that but He is restoring and bringing good. We will see the goodness of the Lord yet. That is His promise. That is our hope.

As the year has unfolded, it has amazed me to see the widespread reach Luke, Lisa, and Emma had during their short time on earth. At different times throughout the year, I would hear different people share about one of them and the impact they had on their life. All three of them touched countless lives and left a legacy that has challenged, sharpened, and impacted. I think my mom said it best, “Sometimes I think God’s greatest servants are either called to suffer greatly or get called home early. The Bible is dominated with people like that.”

Today is just another day, but it’s also a milestone, allow yourself to feel today. Give yourself grace and sit awhile remembering, but don’t linger too long. The best way that we can honor Luke, Lisa, and Emma is by following their legacy and reaching out to this lost and dying world by sharing the love of Christ and spreading the gospel.

Luke, Lisa, Emma, I miss you guys more than I can put into words, and I look forward to the day we will all be reunited, until then, I will try my best to honor your legacy of lives lived for Christ and Christ alone.

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