Joyce Amels- 2018
Easter. It’s the precursor of Spring. I walk the yard to see if the crocuses are done or if the daffodils and hyacinths are poking their stems out of the ground. It’s a time when the world around us wakes up from its long winter’s sleep. And also a time to reflect on How God so loved the world that he sent his son to die for us on the cross. Nothing prepared us for the telephone call that came Easter time of 2010. Jim’s nephew, Derrick, died suddenly in his sleep. Gone. No reason at all. Derrick was a young man with a plan for his life and this was totally unexpected. To better understand; let me share a few things about Derrick.... He was a boy of nature; no fear of the outdoors. Always out in the woods, exploring the love of GOD in the world around him. At family birthday parties, when it was time to sing and have cake; Derrick would be up in a tree or in the surrounding field or woods finding feathers, unusual stones or just looking to see what there was to see. Exasperating at times as some were craving cake and had to wait. Then in his teenage years when he felt he had seen all that God had made around him; he wanted to “step out of his box” and go into the mission field to share God’s love with those who didn’t know HIM. An adventurous plan for those of us “comfortable in our own little world,” and then he was gone. As parents, we pray and plan for our children to grow up to be happy, successful; or make a difference somehow, no matter how small. And most of all; outlive us.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For you know not the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Derrick was a young man with a plan and a future; but somehow that wasn’t God’s plan. Maybe God had a greater plan for him; to take him home early in life; so his memory could be a witness of HIS love to others and motivate them to do the same. I can’t help feeling this played a part in my own life. As I have gotten older, I am less afraid to share God’s love with others unfamiliar; not caring if they will object. My nature walks always have a thought of Derrick; memories that make me smile. Then in 2011; I started making cards. At first for the shut-ins of the congregation to sign; then to Christmas cards and a select few, and finally for whatever occasion the youth group comes up with. It is a labor of Love; building up others in the knowledge that they are loved- by family, friends, church community, and by GOD. So as I reflect on Easter and my savior’s love for me; I thank HIM for all the blessings I have and those who have made a difference in my life to share GOD’s love.