Our First Goodbye
There is a first for everything, and the emotions that accompany firsts vary greatly depending on what they represent.
For example, the first kiss from your true love can leave you feeling elated and content. Both thrill and fear can accompany your first ride on a state-of-the-art rollercoaster. The first betrayal from a friend can fuel an anger you didn’t know you were capable of. And the first loss of a loved one can hit you with waves of overwhelming grief and seemingly endless periods of reflection.
The latter is where we found ourselves late in the evening of October 18th as the news of our sweet Miranda taking her life made its way to us. She is the first loss for our community at His House for Her. The first extremely sad and disturbing news that we had to share with so many and cope with. The first Celebration of Life we had to plan. She is our first.
One of the facets of the vision of His House for Her is to build a community of women who remain in relationship to continually heal and support one another. As a group of at least 30 gathered to remember our sweet Miranda at noon on November 2nd, I realized this part of the vision is manifesting; it is a beautiful thing.
Miranda was a well-loved member of our community for too short a time. Yet through her death, she is establishing her legacy here. She has given us something that will be valued and treasured. Her memory will remain a part of our community here forever.
A quote by Maya Angelou reads, “If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” This is what Miranda’s death is doing. It is leaving her mark in a very distinct way. Making us better for the women coming behind her.
John 12:24 says, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just one grain; it never becomes more but lives by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.”
Jesus was talking about his impending death; that it was necessary to bring about all that would follow. Most importantly, that the Holy Spirit would become available to all who would believe and be adopted as his. Death was just a vehicle to increase and enrich life!
And so, too, Miranda’s death is being used by God as a vehicle to increase and enrich life! Not that her death was necessary by any means, but it is indeed accomplishing a life-giving work.
God has been with us very intimately beginning on the date of her passing. Her death was no surprise to him. Our In Touch devotion for the 18th was “The Good Things in Life.” It shared that “the world defines good things as items and experiences that make us happy. But from the Lord’s perspective, the good things in life are those that fit into His purpose and plan for us. God’s will could include material prosperity, health, and opportunities, but He also considers periods of trouble, need, and suffering as valuable.”
On the 19th, the devotion was “Seeking the Lord.” It shared that “genuine conversion is evidenced by a yearning to know God more deeply and intimately.” The devotion points out the difference between this and “merely doing Christian things like attending church, giving, praying, and reading the Bible occasionally.” Miranda admitted that she made that change while with us.
I gratefully remember a night last Christmas while she was decorating the tree. She was in perpetual motion that night. Those of us who knew her, know how she was always in perpetual motion and never slowed down! Her Temperament proved she was an extrovert of high intensity, she liked to live life at a very fast pace, she was very active and upbeat, and she loved people.
But on this night, I invited her to come and sit. Another resident was with us, and I invited Miranda to just put her head on a pillow in my lap and just breathe. I started playing with her hair like a mother would. She started going down memory lane, but it wasn’t the happy memory lane. It was the very deep, dark memory lane where you reflect on part of your life’s journey and acknowledge where you went wrong. Where you got off track. How the enemy’s beautiful deception slowly crept into your soul and grew ugly.
It felt like time stood still as she unpacked many dark thoughts and experiences. With the other resident praying the whole time, I helped her bring the light of Christ to each one through prayer and healing words. The three of us just sat there for as long as it took as life-taking memories were exchanged for live-giving truths. Jesus met Miranda there that night. There was no doubt he was lavishing his love on her.
The next day’s devotion was “How the Cross Impacts Death.” It shared that “most people prefer to focus on living, but death is a reality we must all face. We are born dead in our offenses and sins, and we remain spiritually dead unless we unite with God through faith in Christ. The cross transformed death from a dead end to a doorway into Jesus’ presence.” Our sweet Miranda has passed through that doorway.
We must allow that to be our comfort. Miranda immediately left her life of suffering behind and moved immediately from her life on earth to her life in heaven. That is the hope we have in Christ.
So, what has her death brought to life? How has her mark been made?
She brought our community together. Nothing can unite people like a shared loss. We gathered in the office to weep, mourn, and share a meal together.
Her death created a door of opportunity for the first step of relationship reconciliation, as one best friend returned to comfort another through this loss that she knew herself all too well.
Her death is breathing new life into our after-care planning and inspiring us to move forward with outreach plans.
We will be creating a memorial space in our kitchen! The kitchen was Miranda’s happy place. She loved to cook and could make something out of anything. We want her story to be known and to inspire those who come after her.
And most significantly, just months before her passing, she gave us the title for our blog and our hashtag, “all for her”. She’s named our virtual space dedicated to sharing inspirational thoughts like these. Pieces and parts of the stories of courageous women who dared to face the pains of life in order to heal and recover. And so…
To our sweet Miranda,
You will forever be remembered for all that you were,
We thank you for blessing us with #allforher.
We know you gave your life here your very best try,
We will forever remember you as our first goodbye.
We trust you are now filled with the love and peace that you deserve,
We will see you in the faces of the women that we serve.
Rest in peace.