“This earthly life is only a small part of my life, I choose to live this life in anticipation of the life I will live eternally with Jesus my savior.” Pam Butler 2013
Those were a few of the last words Pam wrote. For those of us who know her well, we realize that those were much more than just words, it was truth. It was her deep and unflinching faith that anchored her solidly and that security provided her the freedom to be the larger than life personality that drew us all in. Pam’s joy, not just her personality, filled every room she entered. You really had to experience Pam to even come close to understanding these descriptors as I do. Pam was a gift to all who knew her. Whenever her name comes up in conversation, it evokes an immediate smile and often tears from the heart. The deep, soulish appreciation her friends carry for her can be seen and felt. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to know that I am not the only one.
Pam was such a bright light in our lives that, as a consequence of her passing, our days are a little darker. Whether I’m at my nephew’s volleyball game, at a nephew’s wrestling meet, a wedding, you name the event, I know in my heart that it is not all it could be. Pam celebrated and participated with all of her heart, she wanted to leave no doubt that she was there, she supported them and she loved them genuinely. I think of the kids in my family that have been born since she has been gone. They don’t know what they are missing, but I do. She made an impact, she made a difference, usually on the floor playing with and talking to them.
Yesterday marked four years since Pam passed; the darkness of her absence has not diminished. The reality of the permanence of life without her now fully realized. The shock is passed; what remains is beautiful. Not the adjective you were expecting?
Let me tell you, the four years since Pam left have been nothing short of miraculous. Instead of marking the amount of time Pam has been gone, I am now marking the amount of time that God has proven Himself faithful. I never wanted to live one minute on this earth without her. I was weak, self-focused, in short, devastated. I was without ability to create a meaningful life without Pam in it. But God is faithful. Sounds like a canned churchy cliché doesn’t it? This is what I mean.
The disciples were afraid and confused when Jesus told them he had to leave. This is what He told them in John 14 – 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you…25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Fear wasn’t my problem when Pam passed, it was immeasurable sadness and complete disappointment. I had everything in this life that I wanted but without Pam, the catalyst, very little mattered anymore. I didn’t see a way out.
But God is faithful. When I lost my best friend, He reminded me that he was a friend that sticks closer than a brother. This is where the good part begins. One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit as expressed in John 14 is to teach us all things and to bring to our remembrance the teachings of Jesus. Last Sunday afternoon I was holding an open house, I’m a Realtor, and it was busier than normal. There were some past clients that had come by to say hi and some potential new clients. As I was standing in the kitchen the Spirit of God brought to my mind that today is the Sunday between Pam’s birthday, February 21st and her passing, March 3rd. and as if audibly spoke to me, “I know how hard this season is and I have filled your house today with friends because I know how important relationships are to you and that this would encourage you, never forget that I am with you every step of this journey, I know what you are experiencing, I feel what you are feeling, you can trust me.” That day God made known the reality of His presence in the person of the Holy Spirit within me.
I share the difficulty and struggle, the hardship and pain through this blog not so you can feel sorry for me but, quite the opposite, so that you can more fully appreciate God’s love and kindness being poured out on me through the comforting and sustaining work of the Holy Spirit. It has been four years, I didn’t see how I could make it four minutes without Pam. God has saved the day and proved His Word to be true. Our faith is not just the hope for future salvation, though that is our exciting destiny, for me it is seen in Psalm 46 – 1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear…
God is with His children every minute of every day. I don’t know what challenge you are facing but I can tell you the truth, the power of God is sufficient to meet your need through faith in Jesus Christ. Quite honestly, without the power of God in my life through my faith in Jesus, my life would either have ended or it would be in shambles. There is NOTHING special about me, I am not an unusually strong person, it is not me. God has been faithful for these four years. It is Him.