Today as it rained, I wondered if God was crying with us. We went to our first funeral of the New year to celebrate the life of 13 year old Lydia Kizziar. Even though I did not personally know Lydia very well, I've known her family for just about 10 years. We used to go to church with them when Lydia was about 7. She was quiet, the 4th child of 5, and always wore her blonde hair pulled back tight with barrettes. She followed her 9 year old sister everywhere.
Then when that church disbanded, our paths crossed many times. Her family had ours for dinner and we had them for dinner too. The girls had Valentines Parties and we were invited. Every couple of weeks their Mom would come over to pick up her milk and her kids would swing on our back porch and run furiously around our yard playing chase. My Olivia took violin lessons from a teacher they recommended and we would see each other at lesson time. Then a few years ago, 4 of us Moms decided to get together occasionally for lunch and Lydia's precious mommy was a part of that group. As our children grew, they didn't see each other as much but we kept in touch through these lunches and would share our mommy moments, lessons, and funny stories about our children with each other.
January 4th, just a week ago, we got a call. A mutual friend was on the line and through tears he told us Lydia Kizziar died. What? Our mouths dropped open. Everyone gathered around Dad, who was on the phone, and tried to make sense out of what he was saying. When he hung up he told us, "Lydia had the flu and they took her to the hospital and she died today." Everyone began to cry and we all struggled to pray for them through our tears and choked sobs.
Since then we've had a week to process it all (really, to turn to God for answers). Her death is so sad and every now and then it just hits, that she isn't here anymore. Death is such a morbid word. We think of it as so dark and lifeless but as I pondered Lydia's death, God showed me that she didn't die. Because she was a believer in Christ, she passed from this life to the next. Almost like she fell asleep not to wake back up for us but to Jesus instead. Lydia is more alive in heaven with Jesus than she was here on earth! He has raised her to life with him in glory.
Being shocked by death is so brutal. I mean, if you know someone is sick and dying, you can prepare yourself for their passing. If they are getting old, you know one day they'll die soon and it can still be a shock but not as much. But for a teenager to die so suddenly is hard.
I was comforted to think about how God knew she would die on that day and the exact minute she would take her last breath. In fact, when she was born, he knew she would live to the young age of 13.
He gave her to her family to raise and instill morals and values, to teach his word to her and they did. At this young age, she loved God and wasn't afraid to die. She knew about her eternal home and is now there dancing with Jesus.
Today was a sad and hard day but one I can rejoice in. Lydia's funeral was packed, standing room only, with friends, family, and fellow believers who came to pay tribute to a young girl who lived life to it's fullest. As it rained and heaven cried with us, I thoroughly enjoyed worshipping God together. Lifting our voices to heaven, agreeing with the truth that IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL. I do believe, God cried with us today. We needed His comfort and reassurance that he loves us personally. And through our tears of loss, we can at the same time rejoice that we are His.
How can a funeral be a good experience? When you know Jesus, it's makes all the difference!