Advent Blog Day 7 – soaring with the Lord.

but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Yesterday I, and many, many others, said goodbye to a precious young lady – Victoria Leah Pearce. Tori was 23 when she passed away last Wednesday.

Tori

Tori

The service was perfect. Tori loved her family, her church, her friends so much. And oh how she was so loved.

I remember visiting Tori in hospital when she was a baby – she was born with spina bifida and so throughout her life has been in and out of hospital for various reasons. My Mum and Dad were her god-parents. Our families spent lots of time together when we were kids…bushwalking, camping, birthday parties, playgroup, picnics, violin concerts and lots of things at church.

I hadn’t seen Tori for some time. The last time I saw her was at Hillsong Colour Conference – but it was so inspiring to hear the brave, honest words from her friends and family about the beautiful woman of God she had grown into. A young lady who loved Jesus with all her heart, and whose wheelchair never held her back from anything – skiing, swimming, singing, dancing in her chair, playing violin (we all had the same teacher) and more recently, driving. Determined, joyful, stubborn, loving and always smiling.

I can’t comprehend the loss that her family would be feeling. Her dear sister Sarah said, “Well, this sucks.” God’s timing is so far beyond our understanding. As I sat in the service, tears rolling down my face, sang songs of praise to and hope in God, and heard about the impact of Tori’s life on people, I felt a great sense of confidence that God would bring good, awesome things out of this. Her life had significance because she trusted in Jesus. Sarah thanked her parents for fighting for Tori each day of her life, helping her grow and flourish. She concluded with these words of hope and truth:

Tori is with the Lord. And the Lord is good. 

butterflies

a champagne life

celebrating the life of my Great Aunt - "Champagne Lil"

We experience the most resistance to that which is best for us. I’m pretty sure that’s why I can always find about ten reasons not to stop, reflect and write. There’s always clothing to wash, dinner to make, mindless facebook perusing and tv watching to be done. But most of the time I find that none of these things bring a whole lot of satisfaction in my life. Easy? Yes. Important? No.

I went to my Great Aunt’s funeral today. She was my Mum’s Aunt and Mum always spoke so fondly of her time spent there as a child with her older cousins. My parents had their wedding reception at her home, so she was pretty special – I wanted to go to support my Mum and my Grandma.

I am a very empathetic person so I  find funerals hard (ie. I cry ALOT) – even when I am not close to the person who has died. My Great Aunt was nicknamed “Champagne Lil” because she loved her bubbles and she loved to host parties. But she was “never drunk, only on sunrises and life.” There was a small bottle of champagne for all who attended, in her memory. 🙂

As I watched the slideshow of her 93 years I was inspired by her love of life and her positive spirit. And seeing a photo of my parents on their wedding day with her – well that really did it on the tears front.

Perhaps the hardest thing though was that I’m pretty sure she didn’t know Jesus. In the Eulogy it was said “Lil said she didn’t mind where she went when she died – heaven or hell – because she’d have friends in both places.” Knowing the true repercussions of such a statement, I am reminded of the urgency of sharing the gospel with those who don’t know it, including my own Grandparents.

Despite my sadness over this, I was reminded today about what matters in life. No-one talks about tv shows watched or houses cleaned at funerals. Today Lil’s family spoke of hearts touched, lessons learned, memories celebrated and of a life lived to the full.

Sing like noone is listening

Love like you’ve never been hurt

Dance like nobody’s watching

Live like its heaven on earth.

Mark Twain

This appeared on the back of the order of service. It’s one of my favourite quotes of all time. I want to live a life like that. A totally fearless life of importance for eternity.