Wish you were here…

The saying that “Time flies when you are having fun” should also apply when life gets busy. A lot has happened since my last post. Some good and some not so good.

On the good side, after a lot of prayer and a lot of time seeking God’s will, Lost Mountain Baptist Church licensed me into the Gospel Ministry on August 29, 2010. Two years ago, I never would have guessed that I would be standing on stage accepting the church’s acceptance of me and Stephanie and our ministry with the youth. Now, I cannot imagine wanting to do something else. For the first time, I feel like I am centered in where God wants me and making a difference in the lives of students. Steph and I are still waiting on God to open the door for us to be in full time ministry, but until He is ready, we are both leading and serving where He has us.

We also got to take our annual fall vacation with her family to Pigeon Forge. This year, we were able to see the production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” that Steph had done while she was teaching at Landmark Christian School a few years before we met. To say it was awesome would be an understatement. I had to play it off like I was bored in a feeble attempt to recover from making Steph watch the sequal to “Wall Street” (which was awful to say the least) but Joseph was incredible. I found myself constantly looking at the stage and lights and wondering if we could do it at LMBC with our youth.

On the not so good side, after a 2 year battle with cancer, my Aunt Judy went home to be with Christ. She had suffered tremendously and why she held on for so long none of us will ever know. I watched as family members took turns staying with her at night just so she would not be alone. After her passing, Steph and I were able to spend some time with my cousin Jill and it was great getting to reconnect with her. She is one of those people in my life that I don’t get to see much but when we do, we reconnect almost like no time apart has passed.

Aunt Judy’s memorial service was unlike anyone that I had ever been to before. Sure there was music and songs of remembrance of the memories of her. Two pastors spoke of her to help the family deal with their grief as expected and stories were told, but as the service closed, her pastor got up and reminded us of one last thing about my aunt Judy. He reminded us of how much she loved Alabama football. One of the flowers at the service even had Roll Tide written on it. The family all started to laugh a little bit because we knew what was coming. The tears that we had, not for Judy, but as the pastor said, tears for us and OUR loss, now were starting to ease as the Alabama Fight Song began to play. Sitting behind my Uncle Ferrell, I watched him throughout the service grieving for the loss of his sister, now began to laugh and clap because he loves Alabama football as much as Judy does. What a great way to be remembered!

As I look back over the weekend and the stories that were told, the pictures that were shown of Judy with family and friends, it was something that my mom said that will stand out with me for a long time. My aunt was saved. I have no doubt that she is in heaven right at this very moment with other family members that have gone on ahead. Family like my grandparents and my cousin Kevin. Mom made the comment that “She’s in heaven right now with momma and daddy tellin’ them how mean to her I’ve been.” It wasn’t that mom was mean to her. All of the family did what they had to do for her but to hear that reminder that she is in heaven, with my other family members, just brought an incredible peace to me.

And one day, I’ll see them all again, but I’ll never hear the Bama fight song without thinking of Aunt Judy and know that she’s in heaven right now, probably walking the streets of heaven wearing a Bama shirt saying “Wish you were here!”

I wonder if her mansion in heaven has a steep driveway like all the ones she had while she was here….
Thanks for the memories Aunt Judy. Roll Tide!

“I’m gonna miss that smile,
I’m gonna miss you my friend
Even though it hurts the way it ended up,
I’d do it all again.
So play it sweet in heaven,
’cause thats right where you wanna be
I’m not cryin’ ’cause I feel sorry for you,
I’m cryin’ for me” – “Cryin for me” – Toby Keith

Dear God,
There isn’t anything I can say right now that would mean as much as thank you! Thank you for my family and how even though we may be far apart, we are always there for each other. Thank you that one day, I will see them again.

Keith