Sunday, September 6, 2009

Celebration of Life Service: September 5, 2009

Laura and I want to thank the many that helped make this an unforgettable day: our family who drove or flew in from various parts of the country, our church family at Broomfield Community Church (you are amazing!), our friends, and Stapleton Fellowship Church. A special thanks also to Pastor Dean Hill, Pastor Ben Blackiston (Laura's dad), George Seitz, Fred Stricker, and Mark Cicotello for sharing during the celebration. Finally, thank you to all that came out to join in the celebration.

Below is a letter we wrote that was read during the Celebration. It attempts to capture our hearts...

Well Done, Emily

We want to begin by thanking you all for your love, support, encouragement, meals, prayers, hugs, emails, and cards. You and many others have been a major part of how the Lord has under girded us as a family to give strength for the day and peace through the night. Thank you.

Our deepest desire this morning and our entire journey with Emily is to spotlight Jesus Christ through our experience, not to spotlight us through something God has allowed to happen. We have not suffered more than most, but our time with Emily, although brief, has forever changed our lives. She never spoke a word but made the loudest statements. She brought nothing into this world and took nothing out of it, yet she has made a lasting impact.

Laura and I have been asked from time to time if we ever questioned God why this happened. Our short answer is “no” but this certainly doesn’t mean we easily accepted the fatal condition of our daughter. J. Vernon McGee offered an illustration that helped us keep our focus on the miracles God was looking to accomplish through Emily. He wrote,
“There is a custom with shepherds in the Alps. In the summertime when the grass in the lower valleys withers and dries up, the shepherds seek to lead their sheep up a winding, thorny, and stony pathway to the high grazing lands. The sheep, reluctant to take the difficult pathway infested with dangers and hardships, turn back and will not follow. The shepherd then must reach into the flock and take a little lamb and place it under his arm, then reach in again and grab a lamb and place it under his other arm. Then he starts up the precipitous pathway. Soon the mother sheep start to follow and afterward the entire flock. At last they ascend the torturous trail to green pastures.”
Our Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ, chose to reach into the flock and pick out our Emily, His little lamb. We believe He did not do it to rob us but to lead us out and upward. He has richer and greener pastures for us, and He wants us to follow. And we will follow.

There were many things our little girl could not do. But one thing Emily did do better than anyone I know is worship- she brought pure pleasure to God. She was and did exactly as her Maker designed her. She has graced our lives, brought color, and provided us an example. We will miss Emily everyday of our lives; we long to see her again and when that day comes to simply say “thank you.”

We love you, Emily. Well done.

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