In May 2007, my family changed forever. We made the decision to take full custody of Chris, a teenager who had been a part of our ministry. He was struggling with life and needed somewhere to live and we loved him, so we moved him into our house, integrated him into our family and acceped him as a part of the Jones family tree.
The next year was full of incredible highs and terrible lows. We had some amazing fun mixed with some amazing fights. We sold our El Camino to buy a minivan and stepped right into life as a family of four. But sadly, it only lasted for a year.
The next May, in 2008, Chris moved on and left our home. We struggled with the emotions of losing him and tried to rediscover life as a family of three. As hard as the change was on my wife and I, it was toughest on Andrew, our three year old son. He just didn’t understand what was going on, and to be honest, I’m not sure I did either.
Over the next several years, we’ve grown used to the idea that our family is constantly in flux. Youth group kids come and go, we had a foreign exchange girl for a year, and Chris pops into our home from time to time.
This past week was particularly wonderful. He came and stayed with us for three nights during the Brown County Fair and Andrew was in heaven! His nana (my mom) was here from Missouri, Chris was staying on the couch and devoting all day to playing and Aida (our foreign exchange daughter) called to check in. Andrew’s universe was finally completely in sync.
Chris and I had great talks about how God had brought him right to the place he was at and how everything had literally worked together to strengthen and mature him. He thanked me for having the strength to let him walk away years ago and I told him I was incredibly proud of who he was becoming. We even made plans for the next time we would get together, talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the things families do together. I told him I’d been praying for the day when we could interact as family again and I was so excited that we’d reached that point.
But tonight, just hours after that conversation, I got a phone call that Chris had been in a fatal car wreck. And, all of a sudden, all those plans flew out the window.
Now, in their place, is a new plan. NOW… Chris can claim these words of the apostle Paul…
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. -2 Timothy 4:7-8
My family is hurting from losing Chris. Andrew is devastated, as his perfect universe is broken once again. He doesn’t understand why this happened to his brother, and to be honest, I’m not sure I do either.
But I do know this…
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… –Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
Chris, this is your time to dance.
Chris, I’ll always love you and you’ll forever be my son.