Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the death of Linda Beard, my late wife. We had been married over four decades. During the middle of that period, Linda and I knew the Lawson family. We knew them so well that we spent regular time in their home or doing ministry together for over a decade. Linda and I were very close to the youngest children as well as Gene and Faylene.
In late May of this year, Faylene passed the sixth anniversary of her late husband’s death. She remembers him like I remember Linda.
So, these two precious people, Gene and Linda, are now with the Lord, having laid aside the cumbersome cloak of this world. Both served God from the heart, loved their spouses, and purposed to serve others as long as they lived.
So, the heritage that both Faylene and I have is precious and honorable. I have not forgotten; she has not forgotten. Rather, we speak of Linda and Gene highly. We have each been with people as they have wept at things either Gene or Linda had done for them. A few of my friends, whom I count close, still have a bit of trouble with the grief of Linda’s passing one year and one day ago. Faylene has seen the same thing, even after six years.
If you are one of those having trouble with either Linda or Gene’s death, or you have unexpectedly become familiar with grief due to the loss of someone close, yet you know Jesus Christ, rest your heart. Linda, like Gene, rests in the hands of the One who made us all. If you are a widow and have suffered in that place like Faylene suffered as a widow, rest your heart. God knows. If you need to weep, either of us will stand beside you and weep with you, because we have been there. But we also say this: Jesus does not leave us as orphans. He remains the ever present One whose care is without end, though we might suffer a little.
Before Faylene and I knew we were going to be married, each of us had not only resolved the grief of the loss of our late spouses, we had each purposed to be about the Lord’s business. Both of us wanted to be on the mission field. We had purposed to do it as single people, but God clearly had other plans that he revealed after my return from the Philippines earlier this year. So, we move forward, not forgetting the heritage of our rich past but fully intending to serve Him as husband and wife on the mission field–no matter where it leads. That resolve began long ago but has been sharpened recently.
For those friends that have stood with us, thank you. For the encouragement of key believers who have reminded us to move forward and bear much fruit, thank you. As best we can, by His grace, we shall. For Faith, Aaron, Rose, and Grace, thank you as younger brothers and sisters in the Lord. Now you have children and are teaching them by example, but you have also encouraged me as well as your Mom. Faylene and I have a common purpose: love Him, love others in His name, and walk accordingly.
We remember the past. We move forward.