‘Thoughts on a funeral.’

My friend Clare had a vision she was going to die young. Three weeks ago, she went suddenly to be with Jesus.

Clare

It was time to face it.

I was standing on the High Street of my former hometown in England, breath freezing in the afternoon sun. I pushed the door and went in.

They’ve turned my Starbucks into a Paperchase. I do not approve. But I’m finding it hard to be the level of bitter that I’d like to be.

I actually like Paperchase.

I didn’t mean to buy anything. I was really just there to say goodbye to the coffee house I used to call my second office. But the next thing I knew I had a purple felt journal in my hand and I was handing over money.

“So purple’s your favorite color,” the girl at the till said, gesturing to my fingernails. Purple.

Right.

It is.

Since February 4. Before then, I actually wasn’t all that big of a fan.

But sometimes life and almost everything about it can change in a second. A breath. A heartbeat.

Like it did the day my friend Clare passed away suddenly.

And the day a year and a half ago that she told me it was going to happen.

Even now as I write that sentence, my breath catches. Tears well up where I didn’t think I had any more to cry. Pain pulses from the giant knot in my chest all the way to my fingertips.

My friend, Clare. The surfer, lacrosse player, master cupcake baker and sign language aficionado. The friend whose footprints must’ve been permanently etched in my Ikea coffee table. The one I blame for the way I sing “my lamb bhuna” to the tune of “Hallelujah” every time I eat a curry. The one who shifted gears for me and dipped my French fries in ketchup when I tried to drive and eat a “cheeky” McDonald’s at the same time.

She’s gone.

Suddenly.

For now, still unexplainably. By all counts, unexpectedly.

Except that God told her she was going.

****

I think I bought that purple journal because I felt compelled to write down her story. It’s the best one I’ve ever heard. Ever lived. And I want to ensure that I never forget the details.

But even now, the words won’t come. Not the way I want them to.

The grief is profound. Her funeral was Saturday. As I staggered with bloodshot eyes through Heathrow Airport early yesterday morning on my way back to America, I felt like the ocean of pain in my heart just had to be bursting through my skin and punching everyone near me in the face. I almost felt like I should start apologizing to strangers.

How do you even explain what this feels like?

But even bigger than that is the question of how do you adequately pen the story of a God who poured out love in an extravagant way on a beautiful, blond, British 20-something girl, turned her world upside down, told her He was taking her home and then followed through?

You can’t.

The awe is even more profound than the grief.

*****

Clare was the picture of health and a sight for sore eyes the day we met for tea in August 2011.

I’d been on a long work trip in another country. I’d missed her. I’d missed scones, too. I was slathering one with jam and cream and she was telling me some ridiculous story as usual, and then suddenly she whipped out the big guns.

“Grace, I have to tell you something. This is going to sound weird. I don’t even really know how to say it or what to do about it. But I’ve had some visions, and I think I’m going to die really young.”

A chill.

“But I’ve met with Alex and talked about it, and I’ve written down what I’d like for my funeral to be like, and I figure that’s all I can do.”

And that was that.

Forever proactive, she already had a plan and had talked to the vicar. She wasn’t sick. She wasn’t depressed. She wasn’t planning a high-risk trip to Somalia.

She just knew what she had seen.

My scone had stopped in midair. What do you say to that? Laugh it off as ridiculous … and hope it is? Make a career out of keeping her out of the path of buses?

I followed her lead. She had dealt with it, trusted God with it and put it out of mind.

So I did, too.

*****

DSC_0024

When Clare and I met in January 2011, I probably would’ve said we were unlikely friends.

That was before I knew that Clare had a penchant for adventure and all things ridiculous even more than I do … or that she loved people with no respect to age, status, disability, color or anything else.

But it didn’t take long to figure both of those things out.

DSC_0010

She was only 22 when I met her, but she’d packed more into two decades than most of us dream in a lifetime. She’d traveled the globe, worked a snowboarding season in Canada, performed flamenco in Spain, worked at a camp in the States, gone dogsledding and served as a teacher at a school in Burma. She liked surfing so much that her brother had made her a surfboard for her birthday. When her pond froze, she’d skate on it, and when the sun came out, she’d soak up enough tan that it would last year round.

She’d been chipping away at a list that was driving her life. Sometimes she called it her “bucket list” (things to do before you kick the bucket), and sometimes she called it her list of “things to do before I turn 25.”

I remember thinking that those things weren’t synonymous.

But it turns out they were.

Clare’s funeral was one month shy of her 25th birthday.

She didn’t finish the list, but I honestly don’t think she’d be too bothered about that.

Something along the way had wrecked her list, something unexpected and bigger than death.

The love of a God who knew her and wanted her for Himself.

The way He got her attention is laughable.

“I noticed my mum had become really different, and I asked her what had gotten into her,” Clare would say when she told the story. “She told me she was in love with someone, and I said, ‘Right, who is he, I’m going to go beat him up.’”

Her mum told her it was Jesus.

“I was like, ‘Muuuuuum,’ and I rolled my eyes. But I knew something was really different, and so I put ‘find out more about Christianity’ on the bottom of my bucket list.”

Then she ticked a different item off of her list: Help a third-world country.

She went to Burma to be a teacher.

And while she was there, she met Jesus.

“As soon as God came into my life I felt like I was living life for the first time taking that first breath of fresh air that I had never experienced before,” she wrote in her journal.

Clare saw visions in Burma – brilliant visions of what God’s love for her was like – and it was more real than anything she had ever known.

Nothing about her relationship with Jesus was typical. Not the visions that first told her of His massive love for her, and not the vision that told her she was going home to be with Him sooner than most.

But then again, nothing about Clare was typical.

My friend Gem and I marveled at it last week with Clare’s mum as we stood in Clare’s room in tears, looking at the paintings of her visions hanging on the wall. The light of God. The smile of God. On and on.

Tears ran down our faces.

“Have you ever known anyone who came to God in this way?” Clare’s mum whispered.

All I could do was shake my head no.

*****

I met Clare a few weeks after she got back from meeting Jesus in Burma. She came to our small group, and it was the first time both of us had been there before.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

She said she didn’t know much about the Bible, but she wanted to know everything.

Everything came alive.

“Wow!!!!!! I get to really celebrate Easter this year! I can’t wait!!!!!!”

“Did it really take that long to build the ark?”

“Did Jesus really act that way? I used to think it was all so boring. Wow!!!!! He really loved that woman! He really loves us!”

I’d get texts sometimes before the sun came up in the morning. She’d have already commuted to work and be sitting in her car, reading her Bible and talking to God.

“This passage is SO AWESOME!!!!!!! I just want to understand all of it. What does Paul mean when he says this?”

She wanted to know Jesus as much as she possibly could.

It was infectious.

She knew that He loved her, that He died so that she could be free from death forever. That all she had to do was give her whole life to Him … but why wouldn’t she want to?

For her, it was simple. Jesus gave us everything, and we give Him everything. There was nothing complicated for Clare about that transaction. I remember sitting one day with her in the conservatory at her house and her speaking passionately about the Gospel – the truth that He loved us first, enough to die in our place so that we could love Him back and live with Him forever in heaven.

It broke her heart that sometimes we Christians allow the “normal” things in life to crowd out the overwhelming love and joy God offers. For Clare, it wasn’t figuring out how to balance Jesus with everything else in life. It was how to love Jesus and enjoy Him best in everything.

“I mean, everything we do is supposed to be about that. I know we have to have jobs and stuff, but even that is supposed to be about the Gospel. Loving Him, and sharing that with others.”

I don’t think anyone taught her that. I think it was her natural response to His love.

She wanted to celebrate it, and she wanted everyone to have the same chance to know Him.

So she threw a big party in her backyard with lots of food and music, invited everyone she knew and got baptized in front of everyone in the pond.

The idea that He loved her was all-consuming … just as it should be.

And she loved Him back.

With abandon.

clare's baptism-46

*****

And we love her, too.

We’ve wept. Together. By ourselves. In the bed at night, in the pub, walking down the street. The story I’m telling now is not my story, but our story. Clare loved so many people so well, and that means a lot of broken hearts spread all over the world are raw today.

Right now, there’s still no physical explanation. She’d been inexplicably weak and sick for a couple of months, and suddenly a few weeks ago, while watching TV on the couch, her heart stopped.

She never recovered.

Autopsy reports are still coming, but the bottom line is we may never know a physical reason why she died.

I miss my friend. We miss our friend. And her parents, brother, sister-in-law and boyfriend are hurting in ways too personal and profound to even begin to express.

But as we wept and sang together on Saturday, I threw my trembling hands in the air and praised the God who made her, who called her to lasting life and who allowed me to know her.

*****

People came from all over the globe to England this weekend because of the way Clare loved them and the way they loved her back.

She knew we would come. That’s why she wrote this in her journal in August 2011, after she had the visions that she was going to die young:

Thoughts on a funeral

I want Alex to teach

Everyone to be wearing bright colours. – mainly purple.

I want happy, joyful, celebration music, nothing sad or gloopy.

Please tell everyone this:

God is love. We all need to love one another more than we have ever loved before. Care for one another. Show each other how much they mean to you.

I thank God so much for the people He put in my life and I will thank Him personally when I meet Him. You have all been a part of my journey that has turned me into the person God wanted me to be.

As soon as God came into my life, I felt like I was living life for the first time taking that first breath of fresh air that I had never experienced before.

If there is one thing that you should get out of this funeral today it should be to love. Love with all your heart and soul.

1 John 4:12 – No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

If you have never experienced God’s love then you are going to want to. Trust me, it’s absolutely AWESOME. It’s almost like you’ll need a new heart afterwards because God has shown you how much He loves you that He has burst your heart as there is so much love to give from God. That’s how God is love.

If you feel thankful for me being a part of your life, then thank God. He made me.

Love always, Clare

We wore purple, just like she wanted. We came casual, as was her style. The church was decked out in purple tulips, purple candles and purple tissue pompoms that friends of hers spent days putting together.

And Alex spoke, just like she wanted. He talked about her life, and he talked about the love she knew and wanted everyone else to know.

“What if Clare is more alive than we realise? And what if the fact that she’s more alive than we realise means we’re more dead than we realise?”

Clare’s whole life was a call to life. To real life. The kind that dives the Great Barrier Reef and rides bikes dozens of miles for charity, but also the kind that takes the time to dig up the things that are most important, figure them out and soak them up.

Things like a relationship with Jesus now, life with Him after death and trading the stuff that doesn’t last for things that last forever.

Like heaven.

Clare used to talk about heaven all the time. We’d be sitting around eating prawn crackers and goofing off, and suddenly she’d say, “Can you imagine what it’s going to be like when we get to be with Jesus all the time and everything will be the way it’s supposed to be forever? That’s going to be SO AWESOME.”

Alex prayed this prayer over us on Saturday … the same prayer he prayed in the moments just as Clare left the south of England and saw Jesus for real.

“Lord, thank You that You know and love Clare and that she now sees You face to face. As we picture her in those first few moments entering into Your presence, now unblemished by sin, healed from all illness and pain, standing there in royal robes, seeing You on Your throne for the first time, and realising in an instant, ‘Wow, it really is this good,’ we just pray that You would come soon to make all things new and reunite us all. Come, Lord Jesus.”

As we were standing in Clare’s bedroom last week looking at the paintings of her visions, I turned around and saw again the giant purple banner that hangs above her windows – a welcome home from some of her past travels:

“Clare is home. Wahoo!”

Clare is home indeed.

xxx

78 Comments on “‘Thoughts on a funeral.’

  1. Reblogged this on ahn-drey-ah and commented:
    This post and this woman is AMAZING. Such a heart for God. I teared. It is so touching. Everyone should read this.

  2. Your blog was linked to on facebook, and I came across this post, and read it through tears. I also lost my beloved friend, not quite a year ago, and the emotions and grief are still so real and raw. Thank you for sharing your friend’s life with us here… the way she lived reminds me so much of my friend Ruth. Blessings…

    • I’m so sorry about the loss of your friend Ruth, Clarita. It’s so hard … and I’m so glad we have the promise of seeing them again. Saying a prayer for you this morning.

  3. YES LORD!!!!
    Great is your Faithfulness. Mmm, this made a home deep within my soul. Thank you for sharing your story (Clare’s story). What a witness! What a witness to the plans our God has for us, He’s using her life for a greater purpose; a part of that is within this story! Jehovah!

  4. This is amazing. I’m also British and came across this kind of randomly. We lost 2 dear friends from our church community in June this year in a freak car accident – they had been in a relationship for nearly a year (they were both in their early 20s) and totally loved Jesus, people, and dreaming about heaven. I like to think they’ve already met Clare, sounds like they would have all got along :) I have definitely found that experiencing this has made heaven seem so much more real. I hope that as you continue to grieve in slightly different ways as time goes by that Clare’s story would continue to inspire you and others.

  5. As a Mom about to have our 5th child, I have allowed the “tasks” of life to overshadow Amazing Love/Fervor for my Savior! Thank you so much for a beautiful reminder through your precious friend of what a life lived focused on The Lord looks like! I will be different because of her testimony. God bless you, and thank you again! I needed this so desperately! Thank you Lord, you have always pursued my heart…my time with you has been lacking in depth of heart, and I know it’s my fault, forgive me Lord…may I mirror You alone!

  6. This has to have been the most inspiring thing I have read in a very, very long time. We have never met, and I have never met your friend Clare. But I join with you in celebrating her life and her legacy. And I will consider it an honour to meet her on the other side of eternity.
    Keep writing Grace…please.

  7. My best friend Maurice suddenly went to be with Jesus one gorgeous morning, while on his daily prayer walk, along the Pacific ocean on the beaches of Malibu. Like your dear friend Clare, he wasn’t ill. Whenever I have the opportunity to share Maurice’s love for Jesus Christ and how miraculously the Lord used my own big mouth to tell my very best friend he would be with Jesus soon, people give me the “she’s totally nuts” glare and weird stare Clare may have gotten from those she shared the visions Jesus so graciously gave her. I met Maurice in 2001 at Pepperdine University. He was a teacher and basketball coach. I was a self absorbed undergrad who was deeply wounded and wanted nothing to do with Maurice’s Jesus. But that never kept him from talking to me about Jesus and praying that I would come to know Jesus’ love for me. Fast forward ten years.

    It was December 2011. I had only been saved a few months (Jesus answered Maurice’s prayer for me), and I was on the phone basically preaching to him. “Your wife is going to be just like Heaven, Moe! Don’t be discouraged! Remember how Jesus went to prepare Heaven for us? He’s preparing your wife the same way!” I yelled. I had the phone pressed to my ear, walking through the house, feeling rather pleased with myself. I remember thinking this is awesome encouragement I’m giving him. Why he isn’t he responding with joy?

    His family and friends had been praying Jesus would bring him a wife for so many years, and on this particular day, he seemed a bit down. I had exploded with the most encouraging words I could share with him over the phone. But his response was blasé. He chuckled in the oddest way and said, “Candice, you don’t even understand what you’re saying most of the time!” I found his reply was rather peculiar, which I noted my journal that day. I also noted his prayer for me before we got off the phone. He always ended our conversations in prayer. Even when I was lost, he’d make me pray for him, which I found utterly ridiculous and told him as much. He prayed, “Father God, please teach Candice to understand the power of her words.” Huh? Okayyyy. I love you too.

    Three months later on March 12th 2012. Maurice was with Jesus. It was quick, exactly how he wanted. I only know this because my Dad was in the second month of a coma, and Maurice called to see how I was doing and to pray with me for my Dad. During our conversation, he said these words out of the blue. “I want mine to be quick,” he said. “I don’t wanna suffer.” By this time, Maurice was the Pepperdine University Athletic Chaplain and had experienced so much suffering through praying and ministering to tens of thousands of students and their families over the years. He poured himself out completely to the work Jesus had called him to do, and never considered himself or took any time to rest. I didn’t think very much of his statement because it was within the context of my Dad being in a coma. I actually agreed with Maurice. I wanted mine (my death) to be quick too!

    When I received news of his passing, I almost wrecked trying to pull off the freeway and regain some sort of composure. I hadn’t been on I-40 five minutes. I was headed to the hospital in Memphis to sit with my Dad. It felt like Satan himself was in the car with me attempting to choke the very life out of me. I screamed and cried so violently on the side of the road, my mother had to send someone to get me, once she could make sense of what I was saying. Eight days later my Dad passed away. The next morning, I was on a flight to Los Angeles to bury my closest friend, then on a redeye the following day to bury my Dad. It’s been over a year now since Maurice’s sudden departure to Heaven, and I simply marvel at how glorious Jesus Christ really is.

    Maurice wasn’t discouraged the day I had preached to him about his “wife,” who actually turned out to be the Lamb’s wife. I mean seriously who does that happen to? Apparently, Clare and Maurice. Moe was getting frustrated because I truly didn’t understand the words that had left my own mouth. He knew he was going to Heaven very soon. He also knew that the Lord had used my big mouth to confirm that wonderful news. Maurice wanted to me to “get it.” Bless his heart, I look back through my journals, and he did his best to communicate that message to me without saying so directly or in a manner that would frighten me. Primarily, however, he wanted me to understand how God was communicating with me and how uniquely He chose to do so. Through words I wasn’t aware of speaking, through dreams I’ve had since I was a kid, and visions only God can give.

    But Maurice also knew that I had to learn from God Himself and that he wasn’t allowed to spoon-feed me or anyone else anymore. Every person the Lord used Maurice to present the gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple, now had to depend solely on Jesus Christ. We couldn’t call Maurice every time something was wrong. We had to learn to seek Jesus for ourselves. I had many days of venting anger toward Maurice, as I grieved his passing and my Dad’s. I was furious with Maurice for not telling me he was leaving. I know. How disgustingly selfish! One afternoon, I collapsed on the kitchen floor and vented aloud. “Why didn’t you just tell me!”

    After my little temper tantrum, one of the darkest and most bewildering times in my life, transformed into inexplicable joy and laughter. After pounding my fist toward the sky and demanding an answer, I got one. I could hear Maurice as clearly as if he had been sitting in the kitchen right beside me. He was laughing. He said, “You’re right. I didn’t tell you. You told ME.” (I replied before I had time to realize I was having a conversation with someone who wasn’t supposed to be there?) “What are you trying to say!” I roared. Then immediately, I recalled the details of our conversation in December. I felt so selfish and ridiculous. I remembered saying that Jesus was preparing his wife, and she’d be just like Heaven. I sheepishly looked up and said, “I’m sorry. But come on! I didn’t know what I was saying was literal!” And then I laughed too. It was thrilling, yet achingly somber too. I missed him like crazy! I still do.

    Jesus is real. Heaven is real. I’m so thankful Maurice told me in 2001, about a very real Jesus who loved me so much, he gave his life for my sins, to set me free from the penalty of sin, (another real place called Hell) I rightfully deserved! Not only did Jesus give me eternal life, but the opportunity to share the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ with everyone I meet, until it’s my turn to meet him in Heaven face to face…like Clare, my Dad, and Maurice.

    I’m sorry I wrote a novel on your blog and poorly on top of that. But when I stumbled across your blog today and read about Clare, I had to share this with you. I’m adding you to my prayer journal, Grace. It’s interesting how Maurice taught me to pray for others…by praying for me, and making me to pray for him out loud on the phone! Mega embarrassing. He had to listen to some horribly awkward prayers during the ten years I was lost. But somehow, I don’t think he minded at all. Maurice was all about his Father’s business on this earth. Clare was too.

    Love & Light in Christ,
    C…xo

    • Thanks for sharing this. I graduated from Pepperdine in 2004 and through my tutoring the student athletes I got to know Maurice a little as well. I was amazed at his humility and how he loved others so well. I was wondering recently how he was doing. I am sad to hear I won’t be able to get in touch with him again, but thankful to know he is in good hands.

  8. Grace, I love you and I’m sorry that you lost your dear friend, Clare. I read this for a second time tonight because we have been visiting in Austin and I have been worried that you were feeling pain. Call me if you ever need to talk. ((HUGS))

  9. Dear Grace, I have read your beautiful story of Clare. Thanks for sharing it with many on FB. When we met, we never dreamed of the encounters that some of you would have in your time overseas. Clare’s life and testimony is so beautiful. You have such a wonderful ability with words. Ganelle and I are sorry for your loss. James Hampton in Texas.

  10. Hi Grace, keep blogging… ur blogs make my spirit soar. thank u for touching my life. Blessings!

  11. This is so beautifully written! I am terribly sorry for your loss, but my-oh-my were you blessed with a beautiful friendship! A friend of mine shared your link on fb, and I’m glad she did! This was a beautiful tribute to Jesus and your friend! Keep writing!

  12. I came across your blog because a dear friend of mine tagged me in a face book post with only a link to your post “I don’t wait anymore”. I’m sure she tagged me because of my life story (http://apairofparentheses.blogspot.com/). I enjoyed it, but I had the urge to see what else you had written and then I came across this post about your sweet friend, Clare. It moved me. There are a few things we share in common, and maybe the most important things. We know what it’s like to feel our hearts change with the loss of a best friend at such a young age. We know what it’s like to be mesmerized and swept away by God’s love. We know what it’s like to be granted a gift with words and to see the world through our hearts. I just want to say keep writing… for as long as you’re here. And Thank You.

    -Chantal Partridge

  13. What a blessing Clare was. I’m encouraged by the strength with which she lived and the acceptance of trusting the Lord. May those who live in this fallen world be blessed and encouraged by her devotion.

  14. My son Matthew Main sent this to me. He knew and loved Claire as did his wife Bex. As I readit I cried. I too had read Scott Burpos book. The similarity is awesome. We have an amazing God. I would like to share this with my Life Group but would like your permission first.
    Blessings. Judith. Main

    • Thanks for the note, and please do feel free to share it as you like. Please also give my love to Matthew and Bex. They are very special to me. xx

  15. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read and really encourages me this morning. You’re in my prayers. Thank you for sharing.

    • This is a very dear post and very encouraging. I couldn’t help but cry during it, both for sadness for your lose and also for the joy in the promise we do have in Jesus. Love is all that matters, truly indeed.

  16. Wow… I was worried something had happened after such a long break. Such an incredible and inspiring story. Clearly God has used Clare to show His glory. What a wonderful thing.. Thank you for this post. And thank you God for servants like Clare!! I hope and pray for comfort for the raw hearts…

  17. I received an emailed notification of your blog entry in my mailbox. I saved it for a while, knowing I needed to read it but wanted to wait until I had a good, long moment. I’m glad I did. Thank you for this story!

  18. Wow. I have lived twice as many years, but not experienced twice as much life. I look forward to thanking Clare for this life lesson that changed everything for me today.

  19. Reblogged this on Emily's Windowpane and commented:
    This story about an on fire believer–a sister in Christ–touched my heart in many ways this week. Please, take the time to read this.

    Emily

  20. This was shared to me at a really perfect time. God provides us with and puts us in the right time, right place. This message of God’s love was so simple yet powerful.. Thank you.

  21. thankyou so much for this, I saw her when she visited our Church but didn’t know her, it’s a beautiful thing to have shared :-)

  22. thank you so much for sharing this story…i found myself laughing through it, crying through it, and smiling through it. such a great depiction of Clare and her love for Jesus. just as she did while she was living on Earth, i am finding that she continues to challenge me to grow in my relationship with the Lord even now that she is no longer with us physically. i want to be thirsty for God like Clare. even though it is so heartbreaking to lose such a beautiful life, i am finding complete peace in KNOWING that Clare is with her Maker in Heaven – and that is something to celebrate! thank you again for writing this…from across the Pond, it was comforting to hear about the funeral since i was not able to attend.

  23. Do you think any of us could love Jesus like she did/does? Maybe some of us do?
    Monica

  24. Thank you for sharing this amazing testimony! I’m so sorry for your loss, but so happy you are able to praise God through it all. He is amazing.

  25. Grace. I was truly touched by your words. What an incredible tribute to the life of Clare. I only knew a little of Clare through the Siceloffs. After reading your post I feel like I grew up with her and knew her heart. Praying for yours as it heals. – Dustin

  26. Thank you Grace for your beautiful story. It drew my love for Jesus more. I cannot wait to one day meet him face to face. May thousands come to know Christ through the life story of this beautiful friend of yours. Praying for your hurting heart ,and that the feeling and joy of how much you loved her, will soon replace your grief. Prayers for you, your family,her mother, family, and close loved ones.

  27. Thank you for sharing your heart, and love of your friend with us. Thanks for sharing Jesus love for all of us. Praying for you dear.

  28. What an amazing life she lived. Thanks for sharing! I’ve never met her, or you for that matter :) but through this story I see Jesus glorified, which reminds me we are sisters in Christ. I look forward to meeting you both in our forever home!

  29. How inspiring, hopeful, and equally painful and traumatizing. There is nothing on earth that can replace the presence of a dear friend who loves Jesus, save Christ Himself. Over the last year (and especially the past few days) I have witnessed the memorials and heard the stories of truly faithful (we’re talking DEEPLY confident, and anywhere from 8 years old to 60) lovers of Christ. It has been such a good reminder that in Him, death has lost its sting. Not only that, seeing the confidence that each of these people and their families have in the God who makes us more real and alive as we pass into life with Him, has caused me to be pulled closer to the reality of the Gospel. Thank you for sharing this deeply moving story. Keep preaching, and fight the good fight.

  30. Reblogged this on Finding the flavor and commented:
    Unbelievable and Incredibly inspiring story of life and love for the Creator of the universe. I long to know Jesus in such a way that I speak of and look to Him at all moments in my life.

  31. Beautiful. There are few other words, but thank you for sharing this powerful and inspiring story of life and love. Thinking about and praying for you in this time.

  32. wow. what an amazing testimony – Clare’s life and the fact that you are allowing God to use you and this tragic loss to point us to Christ. so sorry for your loss. thank you for your willingness to share. It sounds like God was glorified in Clare’s life, and He is certainly being glorified, even now. prayers for you and the rest of Clare’s friends and family.

  33. After seeing your quick updates/photos about Clare from Facebook, I was so intrigued about the rest of her story. I feel like I just met Clare and am much better for it.

  34. Oh, Grace you have a beautiful way with words. I praise God for you, and ask that he comfort and strengthen you during this time. Thank you for sharing Clare’s story, to God be the glory.

  35. What a beautiful life well-lived… You have an incredible gift for writing & sharing the stories that are worth sharing. I can’t imagine how hard this was to wrestle through and write, but it is a blessing that compels the heart to love God more fully in each moment. Thank you.

  36. I am crying in my office as I read the beautiful compelling story of people with whom I too will see in eternity. Praying for you, and thanking God that you exposed the veins for us that are bursting through in you. Profound in every way.

  37. God bless you all. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It sounds like you all have done exactly as she would have wanted. What a great story her life is.

    ~Tiffany

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