“All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.
When we followed God’s call across the pond. We knew there’d be some sacrifice involved and knew there would be times when that call happens. Last week we heard Phil’s Grandfather (Pop) had deteriorated in health and was in his last days and asked the Lord to grace us with time with him. So we flew on a cramped flight, the Collins clan scattered around the plane.
We spent his last days with him. Talked about his life, about heaven, we prayed, cried, laughed. Pop slept through it all but we know he was listening. And as Phil sat with his Pop on Monday evening, his final breaths were woven with Phil praying the Lord’s Prayer, until his last breath came with Phil’s ‘Amen.’
We woke yesterday to beautiful skies – reminded that his mercies are new every morning. We enjoyed a drive out to Church Stretton, and a beautiful walk over Carding Mill Valley in the Long Mynd. I love to listen to whisper of God in nature. And as I breathed the wonderful air I invited heaven to speak. The stunning landscape changed with the weather as clouds rolled in, the wind blew and sunshine surprised. CS Lewis wrote ‘grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.’
I looked at my family and rejoiced in the knowledge of a living, loving Christ holding us up.
We reached the top and made our way across heather-covered hills, within moments sheets of rain fell curtain-like around us. The promise of stunning views of the Welsh Hills were wrapped in fog.
I was absorbed by the grey beauty of the valley.
And paused in His presence.
We walked from the hill, down into the valley, into the pain of more loss. Phil’s mom,Val, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Her pilgrimage here on earth over. As we sat with her and prayed her into Jesus’ presence – the tangible love of God filled the room. Holy. So holy.
How she loved the Lord – feisty and stubborn, beautiful and childlike. A colourful rich soul.
In our disorientated state of grief. With weary heads and bodies, we are thankful for your love, near and far – we love how God uses people to heal people.
We are amazed with the favour of God’s timing. A friend described it as a ‘perfectly orchestrated piece of a very sad song.’
Pray for us, especially Phil, as we enter into a week of funerals and travel once more across the world to our other home, community and life.
We grieve with hope – knowing there’s no real end.
‘Til heaven – Nanny Val and Pop.
Love, Michelle xo
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
13 thoughts on “Chapter One of the Great Story”
Oh Shell. My breath catches. I am stunned. Your grace and wisdom and oh His faithfulness. With you in spirit and prayer. Loving you all from afar. Xoxo
Thanks lovely. for your love and prayers, friendship xx
Dear friend. My heart is full of thoughts and prayer for your family.
Oh how you so beautifully write and express.
Oh how your God given words in your heart fall graciously onto to paper.
Love to you my friend ❤
I am so sorry😢. I am hugging & loving all of you across the waters. At times like this my thankfulness spires beyond the greatest heights, as our God never changes. HE is the same as yesterday, today, & tomorrow. Faith filled prayers continue. Blessings w love, Bernie
We love your prayers Bernie! Much love x
Beautiful words Michelle but not just words they come straight from your heart a heart FULL of love for your saviour!!! An inspiration to us all especially those who have felt the pain of loss!!! Sending my prayers an hugs to you all ❤️ xxx
Lots of love x
Michelle—sending much love. We know this is the most challenging aspect of living so far from family… but nothing is too challenging for the Father. His timing? His faithfulness? His love for you—today and forever? Unfathomable… Hugs and prayers ❤️
Thanks Laura xx
Made me cry, thinking of you all at this time and the lords strength for the coming week
Dear Collins Family: Sometimes words are not enough to comfort in any way, only the Love of the Lord.
“The Lord is my strength and my song” Psalm 118-14.
A big hug for all of you.
Angelica Areizaga Orozco
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