I downloaded the latest album by my favorite band, Hillsong United, yesterday. It's entitled "Aftermath."
Aftermath. That word strikes me right at the core. It causes me to reflect on my own "aftermath" experience, my aftermath after tragedy, and the aftermath of such an amazing man going on to glory.
What has happened in a year full of so much heartache, so many tears, so much pain? What good has come out of it? And my most pressing question, what glory has been given to Jesus?
For He is the only reason I'm here in the aftermath.
Now hear me when I say that the "good" is not the answer to the "why." Just because good has come out of tragedy, it doesn't mean it was the reason for the tragedy. It just means that our God is big enough to use the most horrible circumstances to bring good and to bring hope to a broken world, all while bringing Glory to Himself.
He creates beauty out of ashes. And He creates beauty out of my aftermath.
I passed our friend Scott in the hallway at church today. A year ago this very day, Scott brought that message of Hope, that message of the Truth of who Jesus is to over 700 people at Tony's memorial service, a standing room only crowd of the very people Tony had made it his life mission to invest in. God equipped Scott so perfectly; I sat there in complete awe amidst so much shock and pain. Even more amazing was the fact that no one who had a part in the service, from speakers to the musicians, had consulted prior to the service. God scripted the order of worship and all that was said that day. I recall that all I could utter was, "God, what are you doing? What are you up to?"
And that was just the beginning of the aftermath.
A few weeks later, through circumstances only God could orchestrate, my story of trusting Jesus in the midst of tragedy was shared with a crowd of thousands at the Easter Service for Passion City Church.
A month after that, I was attending a Beth Moore conference where I felt the prompting of the Lord to begin a blog about my journey as a widow. That's is where "Loving on the Edge" was birthed. Just yesterday, it hit 25,000 page views. I take no credit. God scripts. I write. Almost all of my blogs come during the very hours when I'm at my wits end, when I feel I have nothing left to give, much less to write, when I can't even articulate complete sentences.
Over the last 12 months, my aftermath has included hundreds of messages from family, friends and even strangers of how Tony's life, his passing, and my response has impacted them for eternity. For some, it has led them to accept Jesus as their Savior; for others, it has brought them to examine their faith with a fresh lens and has given them hope that God is big enough to handle their overwhelming odds.
I don't tell you all of this to brag on on anything of myself, or even anything of my husband. Honestly, I'd trade all of this in just to have my Tony back, even for just 5 minutes. But since that is impossible, I choose to boast in my Jesus, my Lord, for creating beauty in my aftermath. To Him alone belongs all the glory.
He's in my aftermath. He IS my aftermath.