I’m going to get pretty personal here for a minute. For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, that won’t surprise you, but for those who are just stopping by for the first time – I hope you’ll indulge me…
Alanna was a joyful, sweet woman – the kind of person that no one could say a bad thing about – just genuinely loving and kind. She always had a beautiful smile on her face. I remember the few conversations I had with her being completely pleasant, and walking away feeling encouraged and more grateful for my life and work than I was before. Our hearts have been so heavy within the GENESIS community, even for those of us who didn’t know Alanna very well. Her death affects us all because we are one Body. “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5. And it’s that much harder for those who knew her well and for whom she was a big part of their lives. More than anything, my heart aches for her husband Michael, and her family. It’s an absolutely devastating loss.
For the last 2 weeks, I have been praying that God would use this for good. I have said it again and again, but her death, this whole thing is just so completely horrible – it’s so horrible that there is no way that God will not use it for good. God does not delight in tragedy, but in taking ashes and turning them into something beautiful. And I believe with all my heart that God will use Alanna’s death to bring about something beautiful in the lives of those left behind. I believe that He will reveal Himself to us, and to many. I have already seen it, and I trust that it will only grow as time passes.
I think Alanna’s legacy is her faith in and love for Jesus, and that above everything else, she would want people to know that about her, to see that in her, and to seek the same. On her Facebook page, in her “about me” section she wrote the lyrics to the song Legacy by Nichole Nordeman…
“I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy”
This is the legacy she leaves. Her entire life, and even her death points us to God. That’s what she wanted most, and I believe that’s what she’s done. And I rejoice in knowing that she’s with Him now – at perfect peace, in perfect joy, and hearing “well done, my good and faithful servant.”
For me personally, I feel overwhelmed with all I’ve learned in these last few days. I look at how she died in the midst of such joy – she’d said it was the happiest day of her life – and I realize that life is just too short for anything else. Life is too short to spend it being angry, or frustrated. Life is too short to waste our time on foolish things, on too many hours spent in front of a computer or a TV. Life is too short not to tell the people you love that you love them – not to show them that you love them. And most importantly, life is too short not to be lived in light of what we believe is most important. Alanna’s entire life, her entire personality, everything about her pointed the people around her to Jesus, spoke to them of His love. Will they say the same of me when I die someday? I hope so. I hope that I could leave half the mark on the people around me that Alanna has left. I look to her example, and am deeply challenged. I pray that my life would be different from here on out – that her life and death would not impact me just these last few weeks, but for the rest of my life.
You truly never know what moment will be your last, don’t waste them.
p.s. I wish I knew who the photographer was who took her wedding photo, so I could give him/her proper credit. I pulled this from Facebook, and she didn’t credit her photog. A reminder to all of us photographers to watermark our images… If you shot this photo, please let me know and I’ll edit the post!