The past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. When people you interact with on an almost daily basis suffer a loss you feel it too. It’s inevitable.
My daughter has a few friends she sees outside of school and gymnastics. One of those friends has gone through the unimaginable. Her parents and siblings have been in a nonstop cycle of shock, prayer and grief. They lost their son, and my daughter’s friend lost her twin brother.
When I first heard what happened, I immediately went back to a week before, when I picked my daughter up from their house. She had a sleepover, and when I arrived there was homemade French toast on the counter. The kids were still in pajamas. I admired their newly renovated bathroom.
I can still see myself in the house, the sun shining outside the windows. There was happiness. It was all around us.
This family is loving and fun, supportive and hardworking. I adore them. This was a house I knew my daughter felt at home in, and she always came home with a smile.
The past two weeks have been consumed with praying for this family, loving them and doing whatever we can to alleviate any obstacles. I have witnessed them grow in their faith, and it has been a testimony to thousands. When tragedy struck their family, they immediately turned to God. They embraced him with all their might, and even though His plan wasn’t what any of us would have chosen, at the end of the day we aren’t in charge.
And somehow they accepted that. Through tears and grief and wishes for better times, they accepted it. No one would have blamed them for turning away from God. It’s easy to do.
But they didn’t, and I can say with certainty witnessing them struggle through this storm has been life changing. The little stuff does not matter. I’ve seen what the big stuff is, and trust me, it’s okay to let the little stuff go.
Life has so many wonderful blessings, and we need to focus on them. Turn away from stressful and negative people and circumstances. Hug your kids. Tell them you love them. Spend time as a family and turn those electronics off.
Since this tragedy struck we have had two family game nights and more family dinners. We went to the park, rode bikes, played outside and kept eachother close.
Which is as it should be.
I’ve told my kids for a few years now that this isn’t heaven. This is, unfortunately, where the bad stuff happens. But if we hold tight to Jesus we will one day get to heaven, where everything is roses. Satan can’t reach us there.
The loss of a child hits every community hard. I have never in my 36 years seen anyone handle it as gracefully as this family. The love and support that surrounded them was insurmountable, and their faith was (and is) rock solid.
This family has demonstrated, without question, amazing grace.
Please continue to pray for the Shipman family.