In the early hours of this morning, heaven gained a most treasured soul - known to the world for the words he spoke in passion - but to his Father most as a faithful and beloved son. One of my core memories from childhood - a pinnacle in my faith in Jesus Christ - was the night in 2002 when my mom took myself of 5 years and my older brother to a Billy Graham crusade in Dallas at the Texas stadium. The place was so packed that night, our small trio couldn’t even make it into the stadium and had to sit on lawn chairs in the grass outside, watching a projector screen and hearing the roar from inside. I was handed a children’s pamphlet by a kind lady - explaining the basics of what it meant to be saved. Somehow, amidst the darkness and the chill of the evening, under the crook of my mothers arm, my soul took in what my young mind could only begin to understand - a deep conviction of the severity of my sin and the intense need for a Savior. It has resounded within me for years and years since - not just the feeling or memory of the white haired man on a crackly screen and the way he spoke (feeble as he was) with such compelling and convicting words - but of the fathomless, eternal truth of the grace and mercy of Jesus and mankind's own desperate need for salvation from sin.
At 8:02am today, when a dear friend texted me the news, my heart ached with a longing of deepest joy mixed with sweet sorrow, feeling the loss so keenly, yet knowing full well the uproarious homecoming that was happening on those distant shores. On my drive to work, all I could think of was that old sweet hymn “Just As I Am” - the very same sung when Graham was brought to Christ as a teen: •
“Just as I am, without one plea
but that thy blood was shed for me
and that thou bidst me come to thee
O Lamb of God I come, I come. •
Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot
O Lamb of God I come, I come.” •
I thank God for faithful souls like these - like Billy Graham, like my mother - who come to the feet Jesus and bring others with them, who are faithful for all their days, who impact more than they will ever know. All glory to Christ.
Have been avoiding this (and everything) because nothing feels worthy or good enough for our Frankie. I don’t know what to say. I just know that my heart is broken beyond comprehension. The last 3 months have been the hardest of our lives. From the 5 weeks we fought day & night to save him-literally living at the animal hospital-to the unbearable pain we were left with once he was gone.
We pull strength & comfort in knowing that in the short 6 years God blessed us with Frankie, he lived a BIG, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL life. We made sure of it. If you knew Frankie, you know. Even if you didn't, but he passed you on the street and gave you a butt wiggle, kiss, & left you with a smile, you know. He was special, larger than life, and was capable of bringing so much joy and laughter to everyone he met along the way. From his annual (themed) birthday parties, to daily coffee walks with Daddy, "UpUp" with his best friend “Grammish” (my Mom), his kind disregard for every single rule (what rules?), his passion for food: eggies in the morning, "coo coos" every time he felt he deserved one, faking a tummy ache so we would make him rice, and my mom, who never cooked for us growing up, becoming a chef 3x a week to prepare his favorites (seared lamb with sweet potatoes & green beans on Sundays), running errands with Mama where everyone knew his name, his unwavering love for Tink despite her initial distain towards him, dance parties with Mom & Dad every time we came home, greeting every guest at our door with a gift (almost always a corn), to his after breakfast sunbathing which often made us late to meetings...but can you really interrupt a pig getting sun? I could go on, but it won’t do our hearts justice. We did it all for Frank. He changed our lives. He was my everything, my best friend & we were definitely connected at the soul. He was a Mamas boy who never left my side. Even now, while he is physically gone, I feel him with me every single day. Our hearts are shattered & a huge piece of us will forever be missing - but it seems he was too good for earth & God wanted some Frankie in heaven. Until we meet again, my sweet boy. I will love you forever ❤️10/13/12-1/19/19❤️