Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. BUT…“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” Psalm 34:18 In the past two weeks I have lived through my greatest nightmare - tragically losing a loved one, and having to watch Marilane’s precious family pick up the pieces. The grief is un.real. And yet the goodness of God washes over the pain. The day they found Marilane, my family sat around our living room weeping…then silently grieving. I watched as my 9 month old shuffled around the room placing her hand on one knee after another, looking into our tearful eyes, climbing into laps to wrap her arms around our necks. One person after another. We call her our emotional support child. Our sweet Vera B saw the hurt and embraced our hearts. So does sweet Jesus nudge my heart and shift my thoughts when I need it most. I pray you experience the power of God because this life is long and hard without Him. We don’t get to live in a world free from grief. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Through life and death our victory is in Jesus. We win either way. My sister never took her last breath. She breathed her next breath into Heaven for eternity where she is healed and whole. There is no such thing as “luck” or “good juju.” If you trust in the Lord then He will direct your path. He knows what you need when you need it. Like my sweet Vera B knew we needed all her love, my sweet Jesus knew I needed a way to hang on to my sister Marilane before I even knew I needed to. Less than 1 week before my Marilane went missing, decluttering was on my mind. Forget the baskets of laundry piled high, the closets full of clothes that needed sorting, or the fleet of toys encroaching on our home. I honed in on an inconspicuous drawer in my bedroom that has never caught my attention until now. It was full of jewelry, trinkets, and Brady’s police badges. The treasure that stood out to me was a necklace Marilane gave me along with all our sisters as a gift when she and Adam got married. As a mother of 3 small children, I never wear necklaces. But Holy Spirit whispered for me to keep it close. So right next to my bed it stayed. Until a few days later when Marilane went missing and I needed to feel her close to my heart as we desperately searched for her day and night. I now hold this necklace close everyday. It is also no coincidence that a circle represents the symbol of eternity and never-ending existence. It also symbolizes Heaven because of its perfect symmetry and its unvarying balance. I carry this piece of Marilane as a reminder that Heaven is closer than we think. We can grieve the loss of a loved one yet have so much hope in eternal life with Christ Jesus. Marilane’s death is not in vein because I believe it will draw many closer to the Lord. If you are on the fence about your faith, questioning God’s goodness or existence, if you have walked away from the Lord or have never known Him, I pray that His undeniable love for you is revealed in a big powerful way.