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Kisses and Miracles Never Cease

The last few weeks have been difficult – Valentine’s and family Birthdays without Taylor, going through his things, traveling, illness, walking through grief with others. Weary and exhausted today, I asked God again for an extra ounce of strength in this very busy week. As usual, He faithful provided it in unexpected ways.

Two of my students’ and their mom are walking through the final stages of brain cancer with their dad. The younger of the two girls is in my elementary worship team. Knowing how much worship has been the key to my strength this year and realizing that this daddy had not ever seen his little girl help lead chapel, the Lord put in on mine and my co-director’s heart to take the worship team to their house today for a time of worship.

The first kiss from God came in the songs we had chosen to sing. They were not handpicked by us for this family. My co-director had chosen our list of songs to sing at the Rescue Mission the week before, so it was an easy decision to use all those songs for our visit today. But as we sang each of the 7 songs, it became evident that the Lord handpicked them for this family as the messages were specifically for their situation.

The second kiss, truly a miracle, from God came in the response from this father. He has not been able to talk very well for a month nor has he been able to speak at all for the past week. In each of the songs, he was able to mouth almost every word. From an old hymn to new worship songs, he participated silently and blessed each of us as we saw him connect with our Lord in pure worship. His wife watched with us in awe. The miracle of seeing that sweet man of God expressing his love for his Savior on his lips will be forever imprinted in my mind.

The concluding kiss came at the end. When we were done, we noticed a little statue on a nearby shelf that had our school theme for the month of March with our verse of the month: FAITH – Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” A perfect ending to a perfect moment planned by God.

Not only did I get that extra ounce (actually pounds) of strength, but our students and all of us were able to see the face of God and feel His love and encouragement in the midst of pain. We left with confidence and tearful joy that His love would remain there, wrapping this precious family in peace and comfort.

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Kisses Come From God When We Need Them Most

As of yesterday, January 20, 2014, our son, Taylor has been in Heaven for 6 months. I don’t see this as “six months without him” but “six months closer to seeing him in Heaven!” Some days I need reminders of this and, once again, God sends me a kiss reminding me He is in control and loves me.

 I was began missing him deeply today when Taylor’s friend, Kevin McGinnis, emailed me the tribute he read at Taylor’s Celebration of Life Memorial Service. It once again fired my hope and understanding that Taylor’s life was not lived in vain, he is in the best place with the Most High, and that we are to carry on for him with the same kind of joy he gave to all of us with determination and confidence in Christ in us! Thank you, Kevin!

 From Kevin McGinnis – July 27, 2013
                 Last Saturday evening I was alone in my living quarters at work when I received news of Taylor’s passing.  I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t understand it.  I asked God why…why Taylor?  But I know without a doubt that Satan wanted Taylor gone because look at how many people have gathered here– how many people Taylor impacted.  And this isn’t even close to everybody.  For every good friend I ever had in life, Taylor had twenty-seven.  It’s no wonder why Satan wanted this Spiritual Warrior gone–but now I know God’s getting the last say.  I picture God sitting next to Taylor looking down at us, nudging him for a laugh to say “See Taylor, that’s why I chose you- because out of you came 100 warriors.  And more to come!”

          Taylor undoubtedly lived more than a full life in his 23 years– he had time to be a brother, son, friend, and husband.  A drummer, singer, skateboarder and snowboarder.  A fighter, forgiver, dancer, and adventurer.  He did parkour, back flips, wake surfing, and fishing.  He was a do-it-all man with friends and with God; he never stopped growing, and always learned new talents.

          As far as him being an artist– I remember his two large paintings on his bedroom walls–and his many smaller drawings and paintings all representing something special, something important.  Whether it was a dream, vision, feeling, or memory, he was able to display it with color.  Colorful dreams, colorful memories.

          Aside from drumming, he loved to call me up to come over to hear his new acoustic songs as he finished them.  I’d go upstairs to his room and listen to his dedicated works where each word in the lyrics was selected to be in there, every line meant something special to him.  Again, his colorful attitude shown in his poetry and lyrics…out of music came his feelings and emotions.

          Speaking of music– I know many relate to his moments on the way to the skate park or up to Bogus when he’d be driving Carla’s minivan and blaring Coheed and Cambria or screamo, or on other days Taylor Swift.  He wasn’t stuck in any one genre, he lived open to anything– and found the good in everything.  So if Taylor Swift fit the mood, I’d suck it up and sing along with him.

          The storyteller in Taylor was something special.  He could turn Bambi into lions, a mole hill into mountains, and a puddle into a pond with fountains.  I don’t think, now, that he realized some stories were larger than real life, because it wasn’t the size of the fish that mattered to Taylor– it was the excitement behind catching the fish– so to say.

          Speaking of excitement, I hope you all had a chance to watch Taylor dance at some point.  As with everything else, he had a gift for it.  I would spin, he would spin kick.  I would jump, he would back flip.  I would try to shake it, but he already was.

          I think he was a self taught genius when it came to his many talents– because when I’d be on YouTube looking up How To’s, he would be out trying things.  Experimenting and experiencing.  That’s what Taylor’s life was about…adventure.

          Above all else, Taylor was a lover.  He was the one brother in Christ that I had a true connection with for years.  We always made it a point to have nights alone to share feelings, hardships, blessings, and relationships.  Always positive and full of advice, he was a man of morals.  As we could see with his beautiful marriage to Michelle, he understood God’s love.  He knew how to treat his lady right and follow Rule #3.  Never forget Rule #3, Everybody Love Everybody.

          The Word of God says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” and that was true of Taylor to more friends than just me.  The Scripture also says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” and this, too, rings true of our brother Tay.

          This isn’t a time to recognize death, but to honor life.  I find rejoicing today because of Taylor’s life.  The Bible tells us that this battle in life is not of flesh and blood, but between the angels and demons.  This is a Spiritual world.  Taylor’s body was not the most important part of Taylor– it was his Spirit, and that is more alive now than ever… Taylor is more alive now than ever.  If you don’t know the love of Jesus, you couldn’t have understood the love of Taylor.  Recognizing his life is where I begin today–starting to step out of myself and into God.

          If I could thank Taylor today, I would say to him, “Brother, you have lived as God asks us to, and through you I knew him more.  You showed me how to fight this worldly battle–you showed me how to win.  Thank you for your example in love.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for the Light you left behind, it is burning ever brighter like the first Light of day.  I promise to God, because of your life, that I, too, will share this Light.  I love you, brother, thank you for your life.”

          And to all of you here, I mean that, if  you haven’t found Jesus, you haven’t found life.  I am confident that Taylor showed you love, and that’s the first step to finding Life.  Talk to me, talk to Michelle, talk to the Woods or Jamison, Paul or Trevor.  Ask anybody for more Love, and you will end up finding Jesus.  Use Taylor’s life as motivation.  Use Taylor’s life as a celebration.

          I started a new habit today honoring God as Taylor showed me to, with every moment.  I find rejoicing at this Celebration of Taylor’s Life.  I miss Taylor… but I am ready to accept his eternal life because it gives so many of us a reason for a Celebration of Life, every day.

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KEVIN AND TAYLOR ON A BOATING TRIP 🙂