As you can already tell, I love them. :)
It's funny the things you remember. Memories have a way of creeping in, when you least expect them. Sometimes, it can be the slightest moment that will bring one back to mind... and there it is, something you haven't thought about in YEARS. Then, there are the BIG things that bring them back... none of which, you have any control over.
The Lord gives, and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
My sweet friend, Shelly, quoted that verse as her FB status last week. In the days to follow, I heard it repeated over and over again. Some of the ways I heard it, weren't related at all, and there it would be again... That's how I know God wanted to remind us. HE IS IN CONTROL. (He has to remind me of that a LOT.) And He is to be praised, NO MATTER WHAT. Blessed be His name.
Mr. Snow, praying for his baby girl and her new husband at their wedding, March 2011.
I awoke last Tuesday morning, to find the news from Shelly, in my inbox... that she would be calling me later, but didn't want me to hear another way... her father had passed away the day before.
I had to read it several times, trying to convince myself that I was still groggy from my night's rest, and I must have been reading something wrong. But it was true. The father and husband of this sweet family who has meant so much to me throughout my life, was gone... at the young age of 58 years old.
And there they were... the memories... flooding in, one right after another.
I don't have a lot of memories of Mr. Snow without them involving his whole family.... more specifically, Mrs. Snow. :) They were a team. No matter what the hard times brought them, they stuck together, leaned on God for strength, and they got through it. The kids have scattered about over the years, but they remain close... a tight-knit bond of unconditional love. That's how they were taught. It's just who they are.
Even to this day, I watched it for myself. Every one of her children, rallied by their mother's side, to love her and support and protect her. They were a beautiful sight, really... of strength and grace. Mr. Snow would have been so proud of them.
On Monday, they told him good-bye. Sure, there were lots of tears. But there was more laughter. They cried together, feeling the grief of losing this precious man, but only for now... Their rejoicing was so much greater, in that they will see him again... and that he's healthy and strong and where he has always dreamed to be... with HIS Jesus.
When I was young, I was convinced he didn't like me. :) Shelly swore it wasn't true. "Laura, if he didn't like you, he would just ignore you. That's why he makes so much fun of you!" That summed it up!
I was actually closer to Mrs. Snow. :) Oh, we used to have so many talks. You know how it is being a teenager, when you feel like the world is caving in on you. And she related to me. She knew my temper, and my stubborness, and she would lovingly put me in my place. Sometimes it's just different coming from someone other than your own parents. My own mom and dad probably don't realize how many times they owed her a "thank you" for supporting them. :) I'll have to remember that as my own kids are growing up.
Mr. Snow only got involved once, that I can remember, in my growing up. He had certainly earned the right... although I don't know that I believed it at the time. Looking back, it was the moment that I knew he must have loved me. I was about to make a decision that would affect me for the rest of my life. Several had warned me that it was wrong. It wasn't like I didn't know, deep down in my heart. Did I mention that I'm stubborn? I had convinced myself it was the right thing to do, and I was going to do it... period. He gave it one, last-ditch effort. Quietly, discerningly, lovingly... he explained that he was worried for me. He urged me to reconsider, and gave every logical reason why I should. I respectfully told him I thought he was wrong... just like I'd told everyone else who loved me! And how could he know? He didn't know the details. He didn't know the whole story. He didn't know my heart. That's what I told myself, anyway. Well, you see where this is going. I ignored his warning, as well as everyone else's... I did what I "wanted." I WAS WRONG.
When I think of that memory now, I realize how much he must have hurt for me, in order to take the time and make the effort to have such a difficult conversation. He knew me better than I'd realized. He knew he was taking a chance that I'd respond so very negatively. He did it anyway. Because he was a man of conviction, and he was so very wise. I wish I could thank him for that now.
My next favorite memory was only a few years later... after the chaos and turmoil of my own life had settled down. Jason and I had only been married for a few months, and we took a little drive to Perryville, MO. Shelly and George had just had their first child, sweet Michayla Stefany. My best friend was a mommy! And we were invited to celebrate with them, at her dedication service at Mr. Snow's church.
It was a bittersweet time. Shelly and George would only be in the States for a short time thereafter, while they continued to gather support for their life on the mission field of Romania. In the little church where he pastored, Mr. Snow dedicated the entire evening service and message to his brand, new baby granddaughter. I'll be honest, that I don't remember a lot of it. I was blubbering like an idiot through most of it, of course. What I remember the most were his closing statements. With tears filling his eyes, yet with full composure, he said, "...and one day, when your sweet little girl grows up, and tells you that she feels God has led her to a country far away to serve Him, you'll have to trust Him enough to let her go... because you would rather have her leave and be IN God's will, than to have her NEAR you, and not obeying His call for her life."
I'm pretty sure that's when my own husband fell in love with Mr. Snow. :) But he could tell you his own memories and feelings so much better than I could. So, I'll leave those unsaid.
I'm thankful for the reminder to cherish the moments I have with my own family. I am so thankful for my own parents, who taught me the love of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful to have a husband who believes in the same... thankful for his leadership of my family and in my home. I am thankful for the examples of REAL men in my life... A man like Mr. Snow, who was a steadfast example of following God's call for his life and for his family. I'm thankful for his sweet wife and his wonderful children, who have made such an impression on my life, and will continue to do so. I continue to pray for them during this time. I know that God will give them the strength to move forward... just as Mr. Snow would have wished for them.