So quickly life can change (just so you know, heartfelt personal post ahead).
August 12 found our family heading back home after a family reunion with my husband's siblings. There were 24 of us there with 3 generations together, it was important time with family. Driving back home means about 24 hours of driving time and we were about three hours from our house when I pulled out my phone and opened my email to learn that one of our dearest friends had suddenly passed away from a heart attack. His name was Randy and he was just 54 years old. He leaves behind a beautiful wife of 30 years and a 15 year old son. I actually wrote about him in this gratitude post HERE in February as he spent the weekend with us at a conference at our Church. After we found out the news of his death it was a whirlwind the next several days as we got kids where they needed to go and flew back down for the funeral.
Randy's life impacted our lives in such profound ways, and his loss has shaken us. I know that as we walk authentically through grief that God will meet us there, and more than anything else, as we do that, Randy's influence will live on. I want the life he lived to continue to impact me, propel me, challenge me, deepen me. But right now, we just miss him so much.
So, even as I show you the card I made for his wife and son that we love, I'll tell you more about what made Randy so amazing, and how blessed we feel to have known him.
Randy lived a life that engaged people to be authentic and deep. He had this way of asking a level of question that was both challenging, encouraging and would have you pondering for days. He chose to listen and value people and their stories, their journeys, and the experiences that made them unique. When you were with Randy you felt like you mattered, your story mattered, your calling mattered, your future mattered, and not only that it mattered to him, he reminded you that it mattered deeply to God. He was so willing to speak truth and hope, and also to get under your skin and make you uncomfortable. He believed in us and mentored us, and walked this very real life in front of us at really significant moments in our lives. He was an author, a runner, a coffee lover, a goofy and good friend, and built an leadership organization that put three important questions in front of thousands of people around North America through curriculum he wrote. They are, "Who is God', "Who am I", "What does God want to do through my life"...prompted by Ephesians 2:10; “For we are what He has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
I wish we had more time. I'm not ready for him to be gone. And in the midst of it all, we feel so blessed for the time we had.
So, that's why it's been quiet over here on the blog. We're pondering and wrestling with a lot of things. All good things, but they are hard things too.
Randy had lots of signature phrases he'd use. Everyone knew them, and they made him goofy and fun and real. One of them was how he'd say "peace" and hold up his two fingers in the peace sign, it was sort of his little blessing he'd extend to others. So, when I was putting together this card I had to include that word on it. He extended peace to others, he dwelt in peace with God, he knows the full measure of peace now, and I know his wife and son are comforted by peace in these days.
This was Randy running a marathon just 6 weeks before he passed away. Look at that smile! We sure loved him.
Here’s the rest of the Power Poppy team bringing you inspiration today:
Christine Okken (you are here)
Stamps: Power Poppy - Soothing Sympathy; Paper: XPress it Blending Cardstock, SU Pool Party, SU Barely Banana; Accessories: Copics: Y11, Y21, Y23, Y26, BG11, BG000, YG41, YG45, YG00, MFT Scalloped Circle Die, Firefly Embossing Folder, Satin Ribbon, Corner Rounder.