Friday, July 13, 2012

My first "Godwink" yep, that's a word!

Yesterday while on Mindbloom I ran across a picture uploaded by Crystal Gibson. However her picture had several beautiful cardinals sitting in the snow, not just one.  I don't like to post someones photo unless I have their permission so I went to and found one to show in order to tell this story.
  (truth is I have two on my phone from Debbie and one of my own somewhere among thousands of unorganized photos...) maybe I can add them later...

Anyway, when I saw the photo by Crystal, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I never knew someone elses photograph could stir so many emotions in me!  Emotions of past events that I have not visited in while. It was a nice time to reflect on a time of growing that changed my life.  I really wanted to share this story with you all.  

photo by Jim Sabiston.  Courtesy of

Nineteen Ninety-Three.  Years ago, in the middle of February we lost our step-mother, brother and his girlfriend to a horrible car wreck.  I do not use the word accident because it was in no way an accident.  God knew that a young man, the same age as my brother,would recklessly run countless red lights while under the influence of alcohol before slamming his car into theirs.  Reckless, yes.  Accident, no.
The following days and weeks my sisters and I found an amazing strength to pull together for our Dad. We
had never endured anything of this magnitude as a family.  In  the months that followed we each had to make 
sense of this tragedy in our own way while hundreds of miles apart.
I struggled with "why."  Why would God allow the glue to our family to be snatched away from us.  Why would he take both she and our brother.  Why in the "retirement" season of their life would my Dad be left alone?  I just wanted to know WHY. 

Day after day while nursing at my job I would see many little things that reminded me of her.  It seemed 
like every patient named Pam or Blake was put in my care.  We missed the regular box of "goodies" she would send to the office.  At one point I felt so guilty for laughing, for having fun with my kids, guilty that someone who had lived her life so diligently for the Lord be taken away.  She didn't deserve this.  My brother would miss out on graduation, marriage and family.  WHY??

I felt so bad that my Dad was alone.  A house once full of 4 girls and one son, now, empty when he arrived 
home.  While my sisters were both great about calling my Dad and checking in on him...I felt a void.  What
would I say?  I cried at the sound of his voice.  My heart just felt as if I'd somehow lost my connection to him.  Over and over in my mind I recalled how my Daddy had to call each of us girls and tell us the tragic news that night.  How painful that must have been for him.  WHY was this laying so heavy on my mind? 

As Easter approached plans were made to have everyone back at Dads in Nashville.  I arrived a day early
so the kids could spend time with their fathers family.  Alone for a while, I decided to "take a ride" down memory lane.  Visit our first home, old schools, Belmont College and Dalewod, our grandmothers home church. It didn't take long for me to realize I was lost.  I needed to call my Dad for directions.  

After a few moments of explaining what I was doing, I now had all the details  to find one special house.  The house where most of my memories begin.  Memories of the first tick stuck deep in my skin, yuck! Special birthday parties for my sisters and I.  The house with the "field" behind it where we played.  The house where we watched the US Astronauts first walk on the moon! The house where my Dad learned photography and we learned how to play with glass clackers!  My most favorite memory of all, where my step-mother watched out the window as I learned to ride my bike.  I recall that day so vividly!  The house was next door to Valley View Baptist Church.  It had such a steep driveway and on that day I rode my bike up and down that hill countless times.  My older sister Debbie and her friend Jacqulyn cheering me on. 
As I turned the corner I saw the ever-so-familiar church marque.  I was home.  Home to some precious
memories.  I drove down the hill which, didn't seem as steep as I recalled.  Rolling down the windows I 
inhaled the scent of spring filling the air.  It was as if I could see myself riding that bike and Pams head,
shouting cheers out the window.  

So this is what they called, "going down memory lane." was overwhelming!  I could recall picking Pam an Iris from the churchs garden and being so proud when I presented it to her. I turned, looking for that garden.  It's then that I really noticed the churchs marque sign. 

There I stood, mouth open, tears flowing.  Happy. Sad. Disbelief.  Every emotion imaginable rushing through my veins.  From the moment I had heard the words, "Honey, Pam and Blake were killed"  I had prayed for a sign.  I had begged God.  Tell me, "Why?"  Show me Why.  I had made my prayer request so detailed that only God knew it and only God would be able to answer it.  I was arrogant by being so specific that I demanded He, "Put my name in lights" so I would know.   

Well....there on the Valley View Baptist Church marque was my anwer.  Not in bright, vegas style as I had
demanded but it was there.  My name, Bridgitte, misspelled, but that in itself is a family joke! It was 
and still is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever personally set my eyes on. I actually sped to the local store to grab a disposable camera and photograph that moment.  

That was the beginning of a long road of healing for me.  Healing that allowed me to move forward and grow in Christ. Healing that allowed me to not ask why any longer but to praise God that my step-mother had earned her reward.  She was home with her Heavenly Father.  She had retired.  She'd been allowed to take her only son with her as her reward.  By her decreasing, He increased in each of our lives.  In losing them we each found a new relationship with our Dad and with our Heavenly Father.  A tragic event led to countless celebrations of eternal salvation.  Lives lost meant lives saved!
The day of the wreck my parents had just installed a brand new front door for our step-mothers birthday.  It was "Fire-engine red."  They were riding in a red car.  My brother had joined the Red Cross that day as part of his Eagle Scouting. The Red Cross agent that interviewed Blake was one of the first responders on the scene. Red, the cardinal at the funeral, brilliant against the snow.

I will always believe that Pam, Blake and Keri entered the gates of heaven as they walked out that red door.  

Since that time we have been inundated with red cardnials tapping on our doors.  In Nashville, 
North Carolina and all the way to West Palm Beach.  We each have a story of how a cardinal has tirelessly,
repetitively tapped on our door or window to assure us all is well. 

Red. Red is the color of the blood that Jesus shed for you.   You've prayed specifically, you've asked why, you're mad and hurt over circumstances beyond your control.  Jesus knows your heart.  You are standing on your own steep hill, above you is your sign... open your eyes.  Listen,  He's knocking at your door.  

Miss you all!  

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