Azlynn Noelle's celebration video:
Have you ever felt like all of your dreams have been snatched away? You know, those defining moments when it seems like nothing is going the way it should and you’re left standing in the dark? Well, I do. I know what it’s like to have all your hopes and dreams completely and unexpectedly shattered. And yet it’s in those times when we could be in the safest and most secure place. Yes, I said could.
She had beautiful golden-blonde hair, perfectly textured and smooth skin, an infectious smile that somehow always led to at least a giggle, and a zest for life that always refreshed your spirits—no matter how grim things were around you. All those things and more defined our daughter, Azlynn Noelle. She was our firstborn who introduced us into all the joys and struggles of parenthood. And, trust me, there were plenty of both! But our reality soon became merely a dream of what was and what could have been.
On February 20, 2012, our family was traveling in a van (which had literally become our home after packing up everything and traveling for the past two years) on an icy road when, after hitting a patch of ice on bridge 89, it slid out of control. Azlynn’s door was lining right up with an interstate sign pole.
The aftermath of that accident included my nose being fractured, my face looking a mess with blood pouring everywhere; my wife’s fracturing a vertebrae, breaking a rib, lacerating a liver, and fracturing her right leg; Maddison, our youngest, barely a scratch; but Azlynn… motionless. As my wife screamed in both pain and extreme grief over what was happening right before her eyes, I quickly snatched Azlynn from her car seat and cried out to God, begging Him not to take her. Not really knowing what to do, I gave her mouth-to-mouth knowing she was not breathing… Little did I know that I literally kissed her on into eternity. In a way you could say, she left her earthly father’s arms and went right into the Heavenly Father’s arms.
Remember what I said at the beginning? Having your dreams snatched away… Defining moments when it seems like nothing is going your way? Yup. That was me. And yet somehow we knew that the place in which we were standing was exactly where we were meant to be. As the days and weeks progressed we became more and more convinced of that fact. How is that possible? How could you find comfort and peace though your world is spinning out of control and has smashed into a pole, shattering nearly everything dear you hold on to right in front of your eyes?
Because the Bible says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). Rather than passing the hardships of life off as a waste, we must understand that they are key ingredients in the recipe that God has for our life. And the most crucial ingredient, without which all others will be a waste, is salvation (placing your faith in God alone). You may say, “But I can love God without becoming a Christian.” Friend, I’m sorry, but that’s impossible. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
“But Jesus never commanded that everyone become a Christian; did He?” He sure did! John 3:7, ”Marvel not that I said into thee, Ye must be born again.” That phrase “born again” has to do with your spiritual birth. Your spirit must be born again because it died when Adam sinned (1 Corinthians 15:22) .When you decide to become a Christian, you add that key ingredient which will always give you the victory—through Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:57). No matter what you’re going through in life, you can claim victory. Because at the end of the day Christ conquered death and has provided a way for us all to be together in a perfect place for all eternity.
What’s so comforting about my position in life? I know I will see my little princess again! And next time, not only will there be no sickness, pain, sadness, or parting, and her hair won’t be the only thing golden, but the streets will be also. Do you want this kind of undaunting hope and outlook on life? Then just do as Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” If we don’t meet you here on this earth then, one day, I hope to meet you “up there”—where I will gladly introduce you to our beautiful princess.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4).
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