"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
(James 1:2-4, NIV)
There is a lot of hurting in our community right now.
Many people we know are suffering--
some from loss,
some from sudden deaths,
some from illness,
some from uncertainty.
I've been thinking about it a lot this week.
Life on this earth can be very hard some times.
Things happen that are impossible to understand.
God doesn't explain to us why these things have to happen,
He only promises us that they will.
We will all experience difficult times at some point in our lives.
How will we handle it when it comes?
Our family had the opportunity to help out at a special 5K race this weekend.
It took place at the State Botanical Gardens,
A beautiful place to be anytime,
but especially nice today.
This race benefits the Small Dreams Foundation,
created to honor the memory of Brittney Fox Watts.
Brittney was 26, full of life, happy and free spirited.
She and her husband had just moved back to Atlanta
(where both of them grew up) in June 2011.
She was documenting their journey on her blog,
Brittney's last entry was on July 10, 2011, about a trip to
Scott's Antique Mart
buying things for their new house.
Five days later she was shot and killed in an Atlanta parking deck
on her lunch break.
A senseless, random, terrible tragedy.
It's impossible to comprehend.
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by doing good."
Romans 12:21, NIV
I did not know Brittney personally.
I came to know about her because of how her loved ones
chose to deal with this devastating loss.
They decided to funnel their energy into supporting
causes that Brittney loved--
travel, community and the environment.
One thing that Small Dreams Foundation has done
is start a scholarship for UGA students wishing to study
abroad in some area of sustainability,
which takes place through my husband's office at UGA.
Kevin and I have had the privilege of being with Brittney's
family and friends on several occasions.
Each time it is incredibly inspiring to see them continuing to choose
love over the hate that could so easily consume them,
doing good to conquer the evil that happened to them.
They are great examples to us all.
Another amazing story of overcoming incredible hardship
is found at Hope Heals.
It is the ongoing story of Katherine, Jay and James Wolf
and their journey after Katherine's brain aneurysm
in 2008 at the age of 26.
We have known Katherine's parents for years.
I remember being in Sunday school one morning
and Jay and Katherine were there,
freshly married and about to move to L.A. for Jay to attend
law school at Pepperdine.
Both beautiful and vibrant--
full of love for the Lord and each other.
A wonderful future in front of them.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Ann Voskamp recently mentioned Katherine's blog
on her site, so you may have seen this.
If not, PLEASE
grab some tissues and watch their short film.
You will be so glad you did.
We live in a fallen world.
Things are not as they should be.
This life is temporary.
But we are here now and each of us has a purpose.
We each play a part in God's unfolding story.
Let's lean hard into Him,
and live at peace,
knowing that each bump in the road is a part of perseverence
finishing its work.
love to you all,