Because of the last two weeks.
I read about Bryan Turner's accident and it felt like my heart dropped right into my stomach. My first and only thought was, "No! Lord, not Bryan! Of all people....". Bryan was a dear friend from our high school FBC youth group days, one of my husband's best friends in high school, groomsman in our wedding. He was the kind of guy that could bring a smile to your face at just the mention of his name because he was so real, so genuine, so in love with Christ that he very literally shared Him everywhere he went. (You can read more about Bryan in these blog posts, which were written so well I don't feel I could do a better job.....http://www.mustardseeds-jennifer.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-memory-of-bryan-turner.html
and http://www.davidcrowe.org/?p=60 ).
Over the next ten days I, like many, felt compelled to dig out the old photo albums.....although we had seen Bryan sporadically over the last 15 years, most of our fondest memories were during those high school years. Mark and I were both thrown into a time warp as each photo brought back those memories along with smiles, laughter and tears. Mark even found and played much early 90's Christian music, which made all those memories even more poignant. The emotional roller coaster that comes with reliving those memories, praying desperately for a miracle and then accepting God's answer, and attending the funeral (ironically on our 15th wedding anniversary) leaves one emotionally raw and questioning the priorities and effectiveness of our own lives.
The last picture I have of Bryan from our wedding ~ he caught my garter : )
As I looked back at all those photos from youth trips, choir tours, etc., I smiled at those friends that I still see or have had the pleasure of reconnecting with who are still faithfully trying to have a strong Christian walk. Some of them still go to FBCJax, as we do, and some have moved on to other churches and other states. I truly love seeing the ones that still attend FBCJax bring their families faithfully and raising up the next generation in the Lord. My heart is saddened, though, as I look back on those smiling faces in old photos who I know have walked away from the faith in which they were raised. Some of them were the leaders in the group. Most were raised in strong Christian homes and were blessed with strong families that lived their faith out loud and raised them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. What happened? Why have they walked away? Was their faith never really their own? I don't look at their choices in a judgemental way....no one knows how hard life is more than I do. I just wonder.
My family experience was very different from many of theirs. I met my Savior at 14 years of age while attending my first FBC high school camp. I came to him with a broken heart and more burdens and hurt than a 14 year old should have to carry. He took them all and enveloped me in the love I needed more than anyone could possible know. I was very close to making some choices and heading down a path that would probably have affected my whole future, and from that pivotal moment everything in me, everything I desired, was changed. I strive to raise my children in a Christ honoring home, to give them every opportunity to grow and develop spiritually in the hopes that they, too, will choose Christ. I pray that they will each personally choose Him and wish that there was a guarantee.....I wish that I could choose for them. But I can't. What can I do to make sure they don't walk away as so many others do?
So many questions.
Am I doing enough for the Kingdom of God? Bryan left such a legacy of faith few of us could ever match it. Am I consistently living the love of Christ in a real and tangible way in front of those who are most precious to me, as well as those I come in contact with on a daily basis? When my time on this earth is over, will anyone's life be better because I was here? What kind of legacy will I leave?
I'm not completely sure I'm happy with my answers to all of these questions.
If you ask yourself the same questions.........Are you?