I’m feeling a little dramatic…
Years ago my daughter Jessica used to be in a mime/drama group called Christ in Action along with a very dear friend’s daughter. Together they reenacted this dramatic piece of Carman’s, A Witch’s Invitation.
This video brings back those happy moments which now seem more like another lifetime than they do memories of this one.
In honor of her passing 9 years ago (April 27), and in the hope that I will see for myself her name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life…
and as a testament that Satan is not the victor in her passing…
nor in the passing of the daughter’s mother that same year…
what else can I add, but the most important factor – Christ’s meaning from the cross “It is Finished!!!”…
indulge me a moment – –
and then give a shout. He is victorious in all things!
(and I really hope that burns the devil’s butt tonight!)
I was very much touched by this writing and wanted to share it with you all. So this is for all- for we all suffer loss of a loved ones in our lives. The pain is there regardless of who they were. We know that nothing can take their place in our lives; that void is deep and long. Praise to the One – Jesus Christ – who holds us together during those times. Let us hold to the promise that grief is only for a time; an eternity of joy awaits at His coming. Maranatha!
“Mama, are you going to die tonight?”
“No, not tonight.”
“What about Daddy? Is he going to die tonight?”
“When? When are you all going to die?”
“Doll Baby, we all have to die sometime. But Daddy and I are not going to die tonight. Hush, now. Go to sleep. I’m here.”
Every night it was the same conversation. Each time, my mother was patient sitting on my bedside, waiting for me to go to sleep before she left the room.
I was just a babe back then and outgrew her bedtime assurances. But the fear of her death haunted me all my life.
If I had only thought to ask my mother the same questions the last time I saw her back in October. Could she have told me? Would she have told me she was getting ready to die?
For months, I have asked myself where is my mother? Night time; bedtime is the worst time. I see her face and remember her voice, laughter and oh there is so much I remember. I can no longer pick up the phone and hear her voice giving me that instant assurance that she is alright. Where is she, God?
Painful words to have to speak – but I say them anyway — for they are true; the day will come when it will not matter to me where she is.
But for now, it is a type of torment to wonder where a loved one is after leaving this earth. See, a few weeks before she died, she and I were talking about the things of God. Well, at least I was trying to. She had brought the subject up and I tried to take it to salvation. She was getting irritated. And even told me, “Maybe, I’m going to hell.” She said it kind of angry and kind of bitter. I felt something like ice go through me and a wall went up. How Lord do I respond to this? I had no words. So we dropped the subject.
I did not know what she knew at the time…that her heart was at 40 percent capacity. I did not know the things she must have had on her mind. But God knew. No doubt, she was afraid and she was preparing to meet her Maker. She was not sounding a trumpet. It was as personal as the God she believed in. Most of her generation is like that: strong, silent, independent and determined.
We had talked many times over the past few years about salvation. She knew it was not church that saved anyone. She knew it was not being good enough that gave you entrance to heaven. She knew it was not having your name on a membership roll. She knew all these things. She knew that it was what Jesus did on the cross.
My mother was not someone I could fellowship with. The God she believed in was a personal God. As a precious sister pointed out to me: Our parent’s generation belief in God was personal. They didn’t sound trumpets. They just believed.
I’m glad my mother did not have to contend with false teachers of the past few decades. She would have been believing in a jesus contrary to the Word of God. She knew a phony when she saw one and no way would she have acted a fool by getting drunk in the spirit, barking like a dog, clucking like a chicken, smoking the Holy Ghost or trying to have her best life now. Surely, if she had been a follower of any of the modern day heretics, I would have some real cause of alarm. Her belief in God was simple: Jesus died on a cross for us and we can only hope we go to heaven.
More than once — in my self-righteousness – I would tell her, “But Mom, we can have full assurance.” I understand now. I understand what she meant. Too many times, we take salvation for granted.
We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for myself, I’ve had some fear and trembling the past few months. Yet, still not enough or I would find it in myself to repent for every wrong thought or thing I do. Like my mother before me, I fall upon the mercy of God.
God is not a fair God. It was not fair that His only begotten Son had to die for MY sins. Yet, at the same time, God is a just God. He sees all and knows all. All through her life, He saw my mother’s heart. The past few months of her life, He knew what was in her. He saw how she was preparing herself to meet Him. Looking back, even I can see it now. If I had not been so wrapped up in what I believed was going to take place in the world at the time, I may have seen it then. But I didn’t see it and as one friend told me: “It was probably meant that way. If you had known, I don’t think you could have handled it.”
So, I lay in bed and wonder. I ask God, where is she? I get no answer. All I get is; when we see Him face to face we shall be like Him. That is when it will not matter to me anymore.
When we become just like Him, we will have the justice of God so ingrained in us that any preceived notions of what we believe to be right and wrong will no longer matter.
Did you know that in hell there is love? Yes, it is true. The rich man who asked Abraham to give him just a drop of water also begged him tell his loved ones about the place he was in. He loved them so such that he did not want them there with him!
I have comforted myself the past few months in remembering the last few weeks of her life. A subtle change had taken place in her. She became kind of sweet. Kind of soft. She still had her days of not feeling well, days of being stubborn as a mule and spunky to the point that her children did not know how to deal with her, but it was if a part of her had resigned herself in trusting something greater than herself and greater than those around her.
I have comforted myself the past few months in remembering not how good of a person my mother was. But in the fact that she knew the simple truth: Jesus is the perfect sacrifice.
One thing I do know — no matter where she is — if she could speak to me, she would tell me: Tell them. Tell my children and all those who loved me the truth. Tell all of humanity. Tell them about Jesus. Tell them the truth.
Until that day, when I see my Savior and Redeemer face-to-face, I will always wonder where loved ones are, after they depart from this earth. But until then, I continue to comfort myself with this thought: When I can not understand His hand, I will trust His heart.
His heart for my mother was this: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. — Jeremiah 29:11,12 –
I can not help but believe that the last few weeks of my mother’s life she called upon the Lord in ways that she never had before. She was a strong gutsy woman full of vim and vinegar. Yet, she reached a point in her life where nothing and no one else would do, but God. A place where we all will reach sooner or later.
It has taken me months to write this. I still have not done the truth justice. Someday, when we see Him face-to-face, when we will be like Him, ALL things will be revealed. But until then, I will trust in Him. His ways are higher than mine and He is perfect in all of His ways.
My mother was right. We have such a beautiful hope in God. His mercies are new every morning. Our life truly is but a vapor. Nothing really matters but the truth. The truth is God loved my mother, saw her heart in all things, knew her inside and out, and He IS a righteous judge of us all.
May God be exalted in times of grief!
Well, maybe I have put this off long enough in wondering if I want to write about my emotions, the shock that is still with me (us) in losing Steven, and all the old buried emotions and memories of losing Jessica. Two deaths of two children 10 years apart in age, nearly 8 years apart in death. Steven and Jessica loved each other, not early on, but in the later years, the time just before her death. And how he cried for her, even lately, even he could not understand why she died and he lived. Two children-one son, one daughter died very similar deaths, similar injuries, similar reasons with very similar birthdays, his February 9th and hers February 10th. And for all the facts I can put together there still is no reasoning why these two had to die. Stupid choices made by another in the heat of the moment, one is in jail, one is not. Head injuries – irreparable damage resulting in quick deaths. Only One could keep them alive, yet in His good reasoning chose not to. I found a picture of them talking face to face at my grandmother’s funeral taken only a couple of weeks before Jessica died. As I looked, the picture told me they had been conniving, together forming a plan to leave us then. We, as a family agreed it was so, it had to be that way. It brought us peace to agree.
I put my mother on the plane this morning and wondered if I would see her again. We never know when will be our last conversation, our last hug, or even our last argument. Those we love are taken from us so quickly and without warning, more times than we think about. Yesterday I read the news of a hiker who had fallen into the mouth of Mount St. Helens while posing for a photograph. The land beneath him gave away and he fell 1500 feet to his death. No warning. Not for him or for those who loved him. Just gone like— that, just that quickly.
And so it was for our son and our daughter. I was Steven’s step mother. I am not saying that to separate myself, but to give place to the respect of his mother as I believe that position is very important. Maybe more so in death than in life, but for reasons I cannot explain to you. I heard his mother cry out in her grief in the loss of knowing she will never see her baby again and that is all she wanted, would give anything, go anywhere, do anything just for the chance to make this thing wrong death thing right, to again bring life back to her child. And that grief was mine – for a moment it made she and I one. And in his death, having already known first hand the loss of the death of a child that maybe only a mother can experience and the willingness to do anything, go anywhere to make this death thing right, but being granted only a black and stony silence in the response. It is dark, it is nothing short of hell as we know it this side of life. And there are no rose colored glasses to help paint a nicer picture. All that these two precious people were to us, their family and their friends, all that they could have become is forever lost. There will be no children borne through them to carry on their names, their smiles, their deep blue eyes or their laughter or hugs. All of it gone just like—that.
And so, as “deep cries out to deep” I can only trust in the love and peace my Father, our Father has to offer me (us) in the hope of a better day. A day when the pain will not be so intense, a day when my thoughts come back to me, a day when the memories of those loved and lost will no longer rip a hole in my spirit, but instead offer a giggle in my heart for their love, the laughter that we shared, and the peace that will come in the knowledge that they were only mine (ours) for a time. I long for the day I see them again and there will be no more tears, no more loss, no more confusion or pain. But in that day, a brighter smile through clearer eyes. For what we see now in part we will know then face to face.
Thank you for all of your wonderful prayers and words of encouragement. They have meant more to us than words can express. We can feel them like a presence, like a warm comforter wrapped around an otherwise crazed world. I cannot kick against this. For whatever reason, the Lord has allowed these deaths. It may sound very simple, maybe too simple, but I must say this here as I have said it aloud – the Father knew they were going to die and He allowed it. So, the One who sees the beginning of all things to the very end, the One who knows all of the ins and outs and in-betweens has found reason for these two deaths to take place in our world, He has again allowed our lives to shatter. So, I resign myself to His love and His ways as I again remind myself that His ways are not my own, but much higher and with greater purpose. As much as I can in this moment of life, I resolve in my spirit to live by His.
In loving memory of our precious children
Steven Gordon Kelly II and Jessica Nicole Brown
A while back I was praying for some of my dearly loved family members. I was somehow connecting the death of my daughter Jessica, and that sadness along with the sadness and loss I felt over these lost family members. And in doing so, said to the Lord, “don’t let her death be in vain, save these others that I love”. Don’t let her death be in vain..!! What?
It hit me at that moment with full force what I was actually claiming. Jessica did not die for these people. Jesus died. His death is the only one that should matter or be important. Now, I didn’t actually believe her death had the power to do anything, but the words I heard myself saying made me wonder where my true focus had gone.
How wrong I was, and yet how often we put the death or struggle of another person in a higher place than it should be. How easy it is sometimes to allow our emotions in one situation to bleed over into another. Jesus said we would have tribulation but HE has overcome the world! (John 16:33)
Can I spell REPENT?!!
The suffering and death of Jesus Christ is the only death that can ever make a difference is someone’s life. No matter our own suffering, no person on earth has the power to do what only God can! For only He has the power over life and death, only He can bridge the gap between a Holy God and fallen, sinful and self absorbed mankind.
God forgive me, a sinner!
John 3:16 -17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
…like an anchor, holding me, weighted, secure,
the greatest horror, the biggest loss…
…holding me from falling into the arms of madness,
into the screaming blackness quickly surrounding me, part of me wanting to go, to be gone, to disappear, to make this not happen.
– I could not change this. Of all the things I fixed for you, I could not fix this one. It was done. – I again am helpless…
He was there all along. He knew way before I.
It was the way she looked in her eyes. It was the way I felt when she would leave the house…. a decided unsettled – ness,
sometimes just knocking lightly in my head, other times screaming, ripping through my heart.
The wakefulness, the middle of the night prayers, our prayers, the tears. Her tears, my tears; a terror we shared in our spirits. One that we did not dare name or speak of for as to do so may call it into existence setting things into motion.
What things? Then,
walking into her room, her bed unmade, empty forever. Her favorite shower gel waiting on the shelf, a bottle of “barbie pink” nail polish that I had just given her, untouched.
These simple stupid things that would seem not to matter are the worst of all. They are the material reminders of her personality.
“I love you mommy” an echo, haunting….through the house, mingling with the soft scent of her perfume. And this thing. The absence of her…
…as deep cries unto deep I cannot and will not ever be able to wrap myself around this one. No need to try, it is impossible to accept that her death, her passing of this earth as
It is impossible to accept that I will not see her here on this earth again. So, acceptance is no longer a goal, or even a factor in the rest of my life here on earth. I just shuffle through, one step a day, sometimes no step, sometimes falling backward,
but mostly moving…by one breath at a time.
and I remember the promise. Jessica.
I remember the prophecy.
He knew all along.
He is my Anchor.
On April 27, 2002, our 19 year old daughter Jessica
was killed in an automobile accident.
The following story, His Hands that Held You, is a true account of a vision that I experienced shortly after her passing. I am sharing this experience because I believe that we are living in a time of tragedy, none that America has experienced in quite a long time, maybe never before. We are shaken as we have experienced this great country to not be the solid fortress we once thought. Sadly, we have lost our hope, our guide and now desperately long for something or someone to hold onto, to put our trust in.
The situations in this country and in the world will not get better. The hatred and violence, the crimes against humanity will continue to grow in great proportions. Because we are human and are given to doubt the things that we cannot understand or fully explain, some may find this story hard to accept in its truthfulness. This incredible experience of peace and hope for the future was a true gift from God. I am sharing this gift to encourage you that there is a God who loves you despite all the bad press. A God of comfort, of unexplainable peace and life everlasting; probably just the opposite of what you expected, learned or heard Put all the negative stuff away for a few moments and listen to my story. Come and meet the God of love!
This is dedicated not only to the precious memory of Jessica, but to the Lord Jesus Christ who keeps us and holds all things together, those things seen and unseen. Things that are within our understanding and things that are not.
“His Hands that Held You”
In Memory of Jessica Nicole Brown
One night during April 1997 you made the decision to follow Christ and it changed our lives and our eternities. Your last night here on earth in April 2002 again changed our lives and the lives and eternities of many others, such that we will not fully know until the appointed time. Even though your missions ministry here on earth was short- as we count days down here- it is eternal in the presence of God. And just like you, your ministry was different from most, yet perfect in the eyes of God. Just a few days after your death here, the Lord spoke to me. “Teach what you have been taught, for I come quickly.”
I am angry. I am on the beach in Laguna lost, crying, asking God why this happened, why you had to die. I want to know if you are with Him in paradise why I am stuck down here in such terror. I spent so much time holding you up in prayer, together with you, only a month before….and in those secret moments God waking me in the middle of the night, crying for your safety, begging for your life because I could not dare to face even the thought of losing you. Yet, there was a slight nagging in my soul telling me I just might.
How I loved you. How I longed to take my faith, my wisdom and give it to you, carve it out of my very spirit. In overcoming horrors of my own life, I thought I could walk you right through yours. I know I was the cause of some of those horrors – the insecurity, the lack of self confidence, the emptiness, searching, reaching for anything, anyone to make you feel good about who you are. Never stopping to count what it would cost or where it might lead you later on. I knew this all too well as I once owned these things.
In watching you over the years, I amazingly saw things in your personality and character that I adored, characteristics that were much different than my own. It was the very essence of you, the girl-i-ness, your sense of humor, and the outright determination to be different from anyone, the courage just to be Jessica – – Jesika. I am glad that I took the time to tell you this before
Our private jokes that were funny lines and gestures taken from movies that we would throw in to our conversations just for the simple giggles. Watching you in youth group, becoming a mentor, your deep concern for others’ feelings. Often expressing concern for others in our family to know Jesus Christ. The desires to serve God in missions – watching you practice mime…our favorite song….”is your name in the Book…” (I’ve forgotten the movements again)….endlessly begging you to sing with me –you knew you had the voice! Watching you jokingly argue with Amanda, laughing as you both fell to the floor turning it into a wrestling match, calling me to help you. Dad taking you out to buy your first car, teaching you bass guitar, making sure you had what you needed, always. Watching you with him, hugging, talking, sometimes crying, but often laughing.
Truly there is an endless list and it brings me great joy to know that although our time together on earth is finished, we have an eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ to giggle and paint nails and best of all to dance on His altar at His feet. We can be together without the pain, without the tears! You are our porcelain doll and we have hated every moment without you.Dad and I are on the Laguna Beach, just days after your funeral. I am hysterical with grief, pounding the sand in my anger and frustration, questioning how something so unspeakable could have happened to us. There is no comfort or peace as the detective’s words replay over and over…”Jessica was in an automobile accident and she didn’t make it”. Remembering how I ran into your room, begging God…..this could not be so, falling to the floor in total unbelief, and knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it. And in a moment, remembering every prayer, every tear and the knowledge that your passing was not a surprise – I knew. Of all the things we fixed for you as parents, this would not be one of them. Sometimes in my sleep I think I hear you screaming as your car flips coming apart, tossing your precious body out into the desert. I cannot bear the thought of my baby out in the cold wind, dying alone in the dirt.
Later in the unfamiliar hotel room that is too dark, too enclosed I can’t decide if I should start screaming or just choke myself. I hear the waves crashing on the Laguna shore, so familiar, like a lullaby rocking me to sleep on so many other nights and even some sunny afternoons during happier days. On this night there is no lullaby. The sounds of the ocean bring more pain, more emptiness. Nothing will ever be the same, feel the same, taste the same because you are not here. I swear to cry for you every day of my life. I swear to hate the rest of my life.
In the darkness of the room somewhere between sleeping and dreaming I see my own face before me. I wonder why I would be looking at myself. There, in the darkness begin swirls of light and color – all colors, especially pastels of blues, lavenders and pinks. The light gently touches the top of my head, and is gone., but leaves a sense of comfort. I am intrigued as again I see the light touching my face, giving a deeper sense of peace. The touch moves away just as another comes, establishing a brilliant pattern of bright light and color. This sense of touch, sense of peace never leaves me.
The pastels are radiant swirling in and around each other like mists blown by a gentle breeze. They increase in brilliance and swim together as part of the pure white light. I know there is a Presence of Holiness in the colors and begin to see small hands there. Then I recognize that the hands are the lights and colors. In a glimpse, I see feathers of white light, touching, caressing one side of my face. Each touch brings its own measure of peace flowing downward, filling me, transcending inward where I am broken, lifting the horror, the grief. A healing?
Then I see two hands, one on each side of my face. The hands are large and strong, much more brilliant than the smaller ones. I am so calm that nothing seems to matter now. I feel as though I am floating, the weight of this burden gone and I would be content to float here forever. Then my face begins to fade and I see your face, my Jessica, my daughter. It is your face that is being held between these two brilliant hands. Your face was between the hands of the Most High God as He held you during your last few moments here on earth. In His mercy and kindness the Creator of all Life took the time to assure me that you were not left to die alone in the cold desert field.
You who have shown me great and severe troubles shall revive me again,
And bring me up from the depths of the earth.
You shall increase my greatness
And comfort me on every side.
Also with the lute I will praise you
And Your faithfulness,
O my God!
To You I will sing with the harp,
O Holy One of Israel