Remembering Jessica (1986 - 2019)

I have no words.  I don't even know how to tell you.  Except to say that my beloved niece Jessica was taken up to heaven unexpectedly early Monday morning.

Last time I wrote, I shared these words from John Stumbo and I had no idea how quickly they would come to define our family's reality - 'Ignorance of our future is a form of God's grace.  Few of us would be able to fully embrace today if we knew what tomorrow held.'

 And then the speaker up at Camp told us Sunday and Monday that 'we are one text message away from disaster.'

And this is true.  We are living it right now.

Beautiful Jessica's obituary is right here.  There's no point in me trying to come up with anything different than what her family has so carefully written.  She packed a whole lot of living into 33 short years.  She selflessly impacted people around the globe.  She loved Jesus and her family and her ever-widening circle of friends.  She was creative and artistic, lovely, intuitive and adventurous.

Every word is true.

And then some.

We are left with disbelief and tears and questions with answers that might never come this side of heaven.  Our bodies are recoiling with grief, and in many ways we are simply speechless.  Numb.  This must be some kind of nightmare that we'll somehow shed.

But we cling to these truths right here ... God knows the aching of our hearts.  His ways are higher than ours.  He loves us and cares deeply about our grief.  We have faith in Jesus Christ.  We do not grieve like those who have no hope {1 Thessalonians 4}.

And that will have to be enough.


Three years ago, her dad baptized Jessica in the bright blue bay on the sunniest afternoon ever.  What a joyful celebration of her faith!


And our family partied together all day just a few weeks back.  I'm grateful for this snapshot.


A friend sent this prayer.  So eloquent, so heart-felt.  She banged on heaven's door on our behalf.

As your family struggles with Jessica's unspeakable death, I am remembering a hymn which since I was a little girl, I've known: "Children of the Heavenly Father."  Decades later I began to understand ... 
"Though he giveth or he taketh
Christ his loved ones ne'er forsaketh.
His the loving purpose solely,
To preserve them pure and holy."

O Father God,
I lift up to You young Jessica.
I lift up to You, her parents, Marilyn and Bob.
I lift up to You their family.
I lift up to You Linda's mom.
I lift up Linda and Tim, and their family.

O Father God,
Now more than ever Your promise to hearts and minds and souls is needed.
In just one moment on an ordinary day, tragedy struck down Jessica, Your beloved.

Death digs a pit of despair in her family's hearts and minds.
Their hearts are weighted down; their minds seek to comprehend unspeakable loss.
They journey in the wilderness of grief.  Memories of things left unsaid or undone trouble them.

O Father God, You are ever Mercy and Compassion.
Hear these families as they cry to Jesus.
Let them all know that Jesus is weeping at the death of Jessica beloved.

O Father God, You are ever mindful of our distress.
Console Jessica's family in their hour of need.
Let the light of Christ shine out of darkness in their hearts and minds. 

O Father God, You are all Power and Goodness.
Let this family's hearts break forth from the emptiness.
Let water for their thirst spring forth from the arid place of grief.

O Father God, Your love is everlasting.
Remember Jessica,
Bring comfort, peace, and assurance to her soul.

God our Father, Christ the Son, Holy Spirit three in one.
Let Jessica's death not be in vain. 

O Father God, Let the light of Jesus Christ shine in her family's hearts, minds, and souls.
For, we remember Your promise to "Let light shine out of darkness."

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done.

Ever blessings in God's name,
Ever your sister in faith
- CZ -

I love you, sweet Agape girl.  I can't believe that you are gone ~
Aunt Linda

Jessica's mom, Marilyn, is an active member of our little online community here.  I'm guessing that sooner or later she'll drop by to read this post.  Please share your love in the comment section.

Bless you.