In my previous blog I mentioned the abundance of blessings I experienced in my previous season on life. Today I would like to highlight one of these blessings: the friendship I had with my dear friend Tina.
When I was first moving to Sioux Falls, I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a roommate. Immediately I received two responses from girls who were friends of friends. Excited that at least one would be a good possibility, I emailed both and arranged times to meet. I quickly learned that the two girls were actually roommates looking for a third. We knew from that point on that we were a trio made in heaven.
One evening, as I unpacked, Tina camped out on my floor, and we talked for hours. We had attended the same college but were there at different times. Because of this connection, we knew several of the same people and felt connected on a deep level. We discussed everything that night from our love for ice cream, our desire to serve the Lord, and the difficulties of dating and relationships. Since that night Tina and I had a connection that went from being acquaintances to holding each other accountable on a spiritual level. We called it an insta-friendship.
Tina was a beautiful girl with a heart for service, travel, fun and love. Her smile was always warming any room she entered, and her laugh had the power to ignite each conversation. Tina’s joy was contagious, and even if she hadn’t done her dishes for weeks, she was one of those people I found very difficult to be upset with. She was a true people-person — always making new friends and finding a way to make people smile. She loved her family, her job, her friends and most of all her Savior.
Early this past February, Tina began to tell me of her dreams of going on to grad school and maybe even further. She was a nurse and had future aspirations of furthering her skills and possibly being a missionary doctor. She had such a big heart for service; I respected her deeply for that.
Her future was bright, and she never quit dreaming of what was to come. She always had a new plan, new goals and a new vision of what was ahead.
Then on a cold Saturday while she attempted to make new friends on a last-minute skiing trip, God decided to take her home by the means of a rare skiing accident.
Tina left family and friends all too soon, but returned to her Father at the perfect time — the time He had planned from her birth — less than 25 years before.
Although we see her death as an accident — something off plan and avoidable — it is far from that. God knew. He allowed the hour, the place and the method.
Tina’s smile is forever imprinted in my mind, and her passion for life spilled over onto all of those who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Life is short, and now each day I remind myself that this is not my home. I am here for a purpose, and well, I better get with it. God knows the exact time He will call me home, but I don’t. Because of this I must live passionately, righteously, purposefully, and I better intentionally be telling others of His love before our time comes.
Tina’s death was heartbreaking. Out of selfishness, we want her here with us, but knowing she is in heaven, brings so much peace, comfort and hope.
I recently finished reading Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas and found the following words so wise and true. I won’t go into much detail about who he was, but Bonhoeffer was a theologian (and much more) during World War II, and was losing friends and family left and right. He was experiencing death on a more overwhelming level, yet found the strength to write these words:
Who can comprehend how those whom God takes so early are chosen? Does not the early death of young Christians always appear to us as if God were plundering his own best instruments in a time which they are most needed? Yet the Lord makes no mistakes. Might God need our brothers for some hidden service on our behalf in the heavenly world? We should put an end to our human thoughts, which always wish to know more than they can, and cling to that which is certain. Whomever God calls home is someone God has loved. ‘For their souls were pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness (Wisdom of Solomon 4).’
To those of you who have lost friends or family in Christ, be comforted that they are now home. To those of us who have friends and family who are not living in Christ, we should be alarmed at the tragedy their death will one day bring. Tina’s death was a reminder to me and so many others that we still have time — time to share the hope of our Savior with those around us so that someday their death may be a celebration as well.