I’ve been “writing” this post for going on 6 months now. I don’t say much about it, but on November 30, 2013 life changed in a way I would have NEVER expected. My Uncle, Minister Clyde Richard “Ricky” Williams, lost his life doing what he loved, fishing. The reports said that his boat capsized and tossed him into freezing cold water…. It felt as if my heart was ripped from my chest. It was, and still is, unbelievable. I sit here blinded by tears as I think about that day and the days that have led to the ability to FINALLY share my testimony with you.
In the weeks prior to losing him several people in my immediate circles experienced loss. Two collegiate friends lost their 3-year old son in a drowning, a childhood friend was killed in a single-car accident while driving home from work, a sister in the ministry lost her mother…… it was just a tough time in the earth for SEVERAL people connected to me during the 2013 Lenten season. In the midst of praying for and mourning with my friends, our family met our own struggle. Walking around like zombies, in pure disbelief…. waking up each day PRAYING it was a bad dream. I remember begging God to let them find him alive…. let him find his way home through the woods by the lake… or either be there, shivering from the cold, but be alive… be there….., but he wasn’t. He wasn’t. He wasn’t. One of the most important and influential people in my life had been raptured before we could talk about my next career and life moves…. before he could grill my boyfriend/fiance…. before he could dance with me at my wedding; before he could grow old and wise. He was gone and I was angry.
Yes, I’m admitting that I was angry with God. The one thing I wanted from this situation…. the one thing I PRAYED HARD for him to “work out” didn’t “play out” the way I wanted it to. I was angry. Hurt and angry. Outlining a program and making funeral arrangements…. hurt and angry. Greeting visitors and planning service selections…. hurt and angry. Praying and worshiping my way through, because it was ALL I knew to do…. hurt and angry. Consoling and counseling…. hurt and angry. In the midst of all of this I receive a text from my Minister of Music to “listen to and learn a song: Kurt Carr’s, “I’ve Seen Him Do It”. I put it off for a day or two, but when I finally listened to it and heard the words I was like, “really, God? Really?”….. One time through, that’s all I could take.
“I’ve Seen Him Do It”
For someone facing incredible obstacles in your life:
I want you to lean on God and trust his flawless record.
He never fails; He can do the impossible.
How do I know? I’ve seen him do it!
I have no doubt my God can do the impossible.
I know he can; I’ve seen him do it.
He can turn the mess you’re in to an awesome miracle.
I know he can; I’ve seen him do it.
Whatever problem you’ve got,
If you just give it to God, He’ll work it out.
How do I know?
I’ve seen him do it. I’ve seen him do it. [x4]
One time through is all I could take…..
My Angel was laid to rest on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. I returned to Nashville after the funeral and tried to get back into the swing of things, starting with rehearsal on the following Tuesday. Well, what do we rehearse….. the song. Did I want to hear it…. NO. Luckily we didn’t sing it the following Sunday because I hadn’t been interested in learning the words (that would have been EMBARASSING!!!!), but rehearsing it FORCED me to listen to it. Every day, ALL day for a week straight I listened to that song. At the gym, at work, in the car…. I listened to the choir and soloist go on and on about how they’d “seen God do it”, but all I could think about was what He didn’t do for me just weeks before.
The following Tuesday, after sitting through another rehearsal where we’d reviewed the song, I decided it was time for me to chat with God. I made my way down Briley Parkway crying and verbally sharing with God EVERYTHING I’ve shared with you. I told Him I was angry. I told Him I didn’t understand, and I told him He’d “better have something HUGE up his sleeve with this one” because it hurt sooooooo bad. Twenty minutes of being purely open and honest with my creator, completely vulnerable. Well, I was mid-rant when this car came out of nowhere and just cut me off! Yes, I stopped ranting IMMEDIATELY and went to blow my horn, but when I looked at the license plate I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…..
Yep, you see it just as clear as me…. the thing said “Miracle”! The car literally came out of NOWHERE. I was two stop-lights away from my house and it cut me off. I couldn’t believe it! I was upset, fussing at God about what I was feeling inside… how much I didn’t like it… and the Man sent a “Miracle” out of NOWHERE! I said, “Lord, PLEASE let us get caught by this light cause I need to get a picture of this! Are you SERIOUS!?” Sure enough, not even 50 feet down the road we got stopped at the next light and I snapped a pic!!! (Also, I haven’t seen this car since that night…. I look for it EVERY night on my way home.)
I went through ALL that to say that even in hurtful situations; when we experience the loss of a loved one, job, relationship, etc., He has a plan. We don’t see it at first…. often times we can’t see it AT ALL, but we have to remember that God IS and he’s NEVER failed. It’s a hard thing to grasp when you’re hurting and torn. Even men and women of faith HURT. We are all HUMAN…. perfectly imperfect. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So, we have to heal and pray for restoration…we have to have faith in His plan… Yes, it’s difficult, but CLEARLY He shut me down and shut me up on purpose. Yes, I still cry… the pain has not gone away, but I believe that WHATEVER He is working out through this situation shall be revealed in due season. Romans 8:18 says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Our God is capable of the impossible. There is purpose in the pain. He can create a miracle from our mess, do supernatural things in the midst of sorrow, comfort us in our confusion, and provide peace in painful situations. He can make something from nothing, heal broken hearts, calm raging seas, and bid us to “step out of the boat” in the midst of the storm.
There were sooooo many people experiencing loss around the same time frame. So many of us were praying for one another and mourning with one another. Even now there are several friends who have recently experienced loss or are in the midst of painful transition. Just because God didn’t do what we wanted him to do in this situation DOES NOT mean that He HAS NOT and WILL NOT keep his promises to us. We are limited in our humanity… only so much makes sense, but in cases where life turns in unexpected ways we have to stay prayerful and faithful. People came from FAR and WIDE for my Uncle’s service. He was TRULY a great man! He worked for UPS FOR-EVER and had just become an ordained and licensed Minister. He touched the lives of MANY and truly let the light of God shine through him. His physical absence has truly left a void. A great example of unconditional love. He gave his life to helping his family and others. He was always kind and had the best advice. So, from the loss of his life God HAS to get the glory! I am unsure how far his waves/ripples reached, but I do know he was a man of great faith. This is and has undoubtedly been a HARD experience for my family, but we have to remember…. God never fails.
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So, whatever you’re going though, whatever loss you’ve experience, whatever transition you’re working through…. don’t give up on God. He’s still faithful. He’s still sovereign….even in the midst of your pain. I encourage you to listen to the song, pick up your broken pieces, go to God to help put you and things back together again. I’m not saying every day will be easy, but He’ll keep you like only He can.
Rest on, Uncle Ricky. Rest on….. love you, always.