In loving memory of Christina Semeria
By no coincidence, I was scheduled to begin the book of Job the morning of April 28, 2016. I had not yet heard anything about the tragedy at UGA. Yet the pages of Scripture quietly walked me into a scene of deep authentic faith – where a godly man loses his wealth, children and health yet profoundly chooses to whisper in the dark depths of grief “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The Lord never misses a detail when it comes to preparing our hearts for what is ahead.
Moments after closing my Bible I would see her name in a memorial picture. There had been a car crash. Four girls were gone. One of them my own. Christina Semeria was one of my camp girls. She had finished her race at the young age of nineteen.
Heartbreak like that leaves you an unspoken broken.
No words can erase the pain.
No money can replace the loss.
No answers can repair the damage
Yes, there have been “Tini sightings” along the way. Sunflowers, hawks, license plates…yet despite the silver linings over the past year – the loss remains. It’s a loss that cannot be made right on this side of heaven. We want our girl back. Yet she is not here.
When the Pain Hasn’t Been Worth It
This hasn’t been my first taste of brokenness. About a year prior to Tini’s passing, I began walking my own road of unspoken broken. By God’s grace, on this journey there has never been a doubt in my mind that Jesus is real…no questioning of whether I was wrong about all this God stuff after pain forever changed who I was as a person and how I viewed the world.
Yet there are questions and very tender places where the Lord continues to tend. He knows my confusion as I perceive Him as passive – having stood silently by as my heart shattered in a million pieces. He knows my apprehension in trusting Him, the church or another human being. He knows my questions regarding who He is as a Father and what actions He condones.
Yet the Holy Spirit gently reminds my heart that the evidence does tip in His favor. So I walk…and some days crawl…to bring him my scars, baggage and unanswered questions with a broken acknowledgement – “I don’t understand…but I also don’t have all the information.”
When the Pain Rages – An Anchor for the Soul
It’s a crawl that is needed not once, but many times. Those who have lived grief know that it is not linear. Grief frequently reminds how much we need the Spirit and His help.
I know the Spirit’s power to bring peace that surpasses understanding. I have tasted and seen how the Holy Spirit can respond to my pleas and speak a supernatural calm over my raging storm of fear and pain.
Yet every prayer doesn’t end that way. Another morning, the grief hung heavily and I lamented to the Lord that He had wasted my pain. My eyes saw the grief, the scars, the time that seemed wasted and the journey of healing that still loomed unendingly ahead. No peace. No calm. Yet a portion of a verse slipped into my mind. The message was simple, “the fruit of the Spirit is….patience.”
It has become my mantra and the gentle encouragement I speak over my soul, “be patient.” Loss leaves a lifelong ache. People inflict deep wounds that are impossible for them to take back. Dreams shatter. Yet God is still working. There is meaning in the in-between. So as the timeline looks differently and I see no answers, Christina’s words ring in my ears as the lyrics of her song so gently remind “Just let go of control….Trust in Me. Let Me be Your cornerstone.”
The pain may not seem worth it now…but the pain just hasn’t been worth it yet. He is in control and carrying us. He is in the business of redeeming. Nothing will be wasted.
Loving Christina & Living Fully
I don’t know why Christina is not here. I don’t know why He didn’t intervene.
But I know God loves me and Christina. On the cross, His love is on unquestionable display – proven by His complete and ultimate sacrifice.
So even when circumstances don’t seem to add up – my faith is unshaken.
This road of pain will serve a purpose. I don’t have to understand it. Yet I do need to accept this road with joy – even when sadness runs alongside. Where He has me now is important and I choose to be faithful. He is still working and His story never ends in ashes.
Be Still by Christina Semeria
You can download “Be Still” here. Proceeds from the song will be donated to charities Christina cared about.