Thursday, July 21, 2016

Matt Wood-A Celebration of Life

This afternoon I went to a Celebration of Life Service.

For those of you close to me, this isn't anyone in my family. There are family members with the last name "Wood" that I'm related to, but this isn't that family. This is a family that I know from here in Lee's Summit.

The man, Matt Wood, was a parent of five beautiful kids, and has an incredibly strong wife in the Lord. I'll be honest, I'm not close to this family, but I care for the family as if I were related to them.

You are probably wondering why...

It's because Matt had a 3.5 year battle with Cancer.

I hate Cancer. Period.

I don't hate one human on this planet, but I do hate Cancer.

I spent a lot of time in prayer for Matt and his family, and he wound up in Heaven this past Sunday morning. On one hand, my heart breaks for his family. On the other hand, he's out of pain, agitation, and stress. I prayed for him to get relief and full recovery this side of Heaven, but, He had other ideas.

The service today was really good. There was a lot of singing, which blessed me because I love music. It's not about me, but I just thought I'd throw that in there. *grin*

One of my favorite parts of services like the one I was at today is getting to know the person we are celebrating better. I will be upfront and say I didn't know Matt well. With that being said, I loved the slideshow they shared, as well as the stories told.

A lot of good has come out of this whole experience, which is a blessing. The pastor shared several, but I want to share a few. The first is that I've gotten to see, via Social Media, how caring people can be. In a Summer full of so much junk, it's so cool to see SO MANY caring people. I watched people encourage Kacy, the Mother of this family, in so many different ways. I noticed that she's had a lot of good friends and family around her this Summer, which made my heart happy. She's far from alone in this new chapter of their lives. God set that up. It also made me smile more than once as I prayed throughout this season for them.

After the service today, the line to hug the family was LONG. I wasn't surprised. Thankfully, Lee's Summit is full of amazing people, and they were loved very well.

The moment that will forever live in my heart is when I walked up to one of the kids in the family. Some of the kids have gone through the school I teach at, so I walked up to the one that I've talked to the most. He had tears in his eyes, and I wasn't sure what to say. So, I said, "I know I don't know you real well, and you don't need to hug me if you want, if you want to shake my hand, it's okay." I was about to say something else, and he immediately hugged me. I held on as long as he wanted me to hang on. I just silently prayed. I could have prayed out loud, but I felt a hug was the best encouragement in that moment. I'll forever remember that, truly. I wish it had been under other circumstances, but death is one of the experiences we have this side of Heaven.

I'm not going to stop praying for the Wood family. Their new normal will be challenging, but with Him in their lives, as well as their amazing family and friends, they will be fine.

Matt was an amazing father, and I know that his family will live out life this side of Heaven in a way that will make him proud.

I'm blessed to get to be beside them (with one child still at my school) as they walk out this season. I pray I can continue to encourage them in the days to come.


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