Friday, April 10, 2009

4 years on a Good Friday

Today, four years ago, my big sister flew home to Jesus; almost at the exact time I'm writing this. (8:30pm) It just so happens that thousands of years ago today Jesus flew home to His Father. There is no coincidence in what I, we, might take away from today.

A lot of you are probably familiar with last year's post on this day. "3 Years Ago". Although it has indeed been 4 years ago today that I have seen my sister alive, seen her heart beating, hear her voice, felt her hand, and kissed her warm cheek, I still miss her. It is a quiet ache that exists in my heart; as if she was and is a part of me and forever will be. Sisters have an tendency to "stick" no matter the length of time you haven't seen them.

She has a grave stone now. Her empty body lay under the ground while her soul is in heaven. Over the past four years, today marked (I think) my third day to visit the site. Her grave stone is light pink. It says her name, and the day she was born on earth and the day she was re-born in heaven.

"Sarah Jane Umbaugh January 21, 1979 - April 10, 2005. Always in Our Hearts"

How true that statement is. On the back of the gravestone these words are there:

"For God So Loved the Word - John 3:16" and under a picture of a dove says this " When you come to die fly to Jesus and live."

Its perfectly "Sarah". My parents did a great job. Around her gravestone are trinkets from those who came by to show their love for her. "She was loved", Anna put it just two days ago.

I suppose I don't have an eloquent order of words to say like last year. If you want to walk down the scariest 24 hours of my life, visit last year's blog on this day. Today, I want to remain hopeful. After all, Jesus died for me thousands of years ago today, and because of that death I have hope in my sister's death just four years ago.

Wow the symbolism. I am so thankful for Jesus. As we sang at church today "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain He washed it white as snow." PRAISE GOD! This week, these past weeks, I have been slipping. I have been slipping into the excuse of "busy-ness" and "exhaustion". While we were worshiping tonight, God slipped me a memo. "Jesus died that You may have life." And as we prepared for communion, with a repentant heart, I asked for His strength to help me live that life. What freedom we have in Jesus! What hope we have to live for... and dare I say, what hope we have to die for.

"To live is Christ, and to die is gain." "Pick up your cross and follow Me." Life, as we know it (or rather don't know it), is about Jesus. Oh how often I make it about myself. Just goes to show you how human I am; how finite, how small, and how in need I am of a BIG God.

This morning I read Jesus' road to the crucifixion as told in Matthew, and then I read these words in Isaiah 40 and peace inevitably followed:

"To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

That is the God we serve! I was filled up, encouraged, and ready to remain in Jesus today.

Then of course, as my sinful heart forgets the truth God just spoke into it, the day wore on and my heart became weary; missing Sarah, wishing I was curled up in bed. I then remembered what this day is. I took a moment to breath in deep April 10th, Good Friday. I remembered the symbolism. I remembered that the road Jesus walked to His death greatly surpasses anything I endure on earth. And so it is with hope that I post this. It is with hope that I remember my sister and how she has spent 4 solid years playing with Jesus. And it is with hope and humility that I remember Jesus, His sacrifice for mankind, and His saving grace in my life.

Rest assured, my heart will be filled with abundant praise on Sunday. I plan on leaving everything at the alter and worshipping my guts out. He deserves it. He deserves so much more than I could ever give. I am thankful for the 21 years I got have with my amazing sister Sarah Jane. I miss her. But I know that she is in "better hands now", and I am in those same hands until we are together again.

Still reflecting... still processing... ever thankful...


Our last Easter together:
(Liza, Me, Sarah, Anna, Laura, Lydia)

A healthier Easter one year prior:
(Dad, Rob, Sarah, Anna, Me, Mom, Lydia, Laura, Brayden)


LAS said...


You write well. What a sweet story in your heart.

I love and miss you,

LAS said...


I would love to share your perspective on the bride from your post on readying and run.

I feel this way in my heart of hearts and why I have so much peace. I have a cool bridegroom story I will share on the blog and would love to add your thoughts. I love you. Keep writing.


Anonymous said...

I love you sweet sister!