A note from Dorean Beattie: I am babysitting Tracie’s blog while she takes time away to be with her family in this time of grief. Today’s guest blog is by one of Tracie’s friends, Shaleen Kendrick. While I know Tracie would feel awkward about what is said about her in this post, I also know she would want how Mattie’s story has impacted another mother to be told.
Lord, where do I start thinking about this week. Through all the pain and hardship we have ensued over the past 5 years I knew it could always be worse…one of my children could die. Fear. My greatest fear. The Lord used the past five years of my life to break the chains of fearing pain. But the last chain held fast – fear of death. One of the many blessings the Loux family bestowed upon me this week was to break this chain of fear.
What a f*~+ed up week. The only way to accurately describe this is the juxtaposition of HORRIFIC and HOLY.
I’m so impressed with my beloved friends Tracie, John and their children. I am not proud of how they walked out this week, because proud has a way of giving credibility to oneself, and I have nothing to credit myself for here. I am impressed, because impressed means:
1. to affect deeply or strongly in mind or feelings; influence in opinion
2. to fix deeply or firmly on the mind or memory
Tracie, John and their children have affected me deeply with how they chose to lived out of WHO God made them to be…through the most horrific event a mother, father and family could imagine. And it was Holy to witness. They have had a profound and life changing influence on my opinions regarding who My Savior is in death. They have fixed deeply and firmly in my mind what it means to walk through death with grace, hope, faith and an unquenchable love for our Father and for others. As memory fades the four images I will always carry with me are:
A Deep Understanding Of Who God Is: As Mattie’s celebration of life began Tracie’s older children took the stage with a quiet and humble confidence in who they are and who their Savior is. They joined the worship band and began to play. Mattie’s adoring sister Amy belted out the most memorable and haunting rendition of “Oceans” I have ever witnessed. As I stood at Tracie’s back while she sat in the row ahead of me her head down and holding on, The Lord “spoke” to me “lay My hand on her”. I stepped forward and grasped her right shoulder, Carolyn stepped forward grasping her left shoulder. As we sang about our faith having no boarders, walking on water, going where we willingly would not have gone, and calling on the Name of The Lord … Tracie’s hands flew up. Reaching to the heavens. I watched a mother worship her Lord, with every fiber of her being, as her son’s beautiful body lay without breathing the air of this world a few feet from her. I watched a husband grasping his beloved’s hand while he too laid it all on the line for his Savior. I watched sisters and brothers worship with courage and abandonment while suffering. They were the same behind the scenes. As we sat in their living room for hours on end they wept, they worshiped, they questioned, prayed, clung to one another, and loved. Their deep understanding of who God is lead them through the mystery and pain of death.
A Commitment To True Love: I stood transfixed as John took Tracie’s hand in his and began to articulate true love for his wife and his children. They stood on the stage above their son clinging to one another. He honored his wife’s courage, tenacity and nurturing spirt and spoke along the lines, “we have seen hard you and I. This is by far the hardest. The statistics are against us in something like this, the statistics have always been against us. Tracie I love you. I choose you today, and I will choose you everyday after today. You are my love.” Then he turned to his children and spoke directly to them. He called out who God had created his children to be. He knew their inner being. He knew their inner fears and he spoke to each one of them “your father is with you, your father will wrestle with you, your father knows you”. It was one of the most accurate and powerful reflections of the HEART OF GOD i have ever see . GOD OUR BELOVED AND GOD OUR FATHER. They know what TRUE LOVE is. True love for God and true love for one another. They are committed to it, even in death.
A Passion For Life: By the world’s standards Mattie had nothing to contribute. I was once privy to a conversation where a mother said her greatest aspirations for her child were that he would be “a contributing member of society”. Oh how broken and blind our world is.
Mattie’s sisters stood before the world and declared the truth about who God created Mattie to be.
“Mattie was created to love and to be loved” declared his sister. Every life is valuable and worth fighting for.
Mattie’s life was valuable and worth fighting for, and the Loux family knew it. This boy, who’s body was broken from the moment he took his first breath, left behind a legacy of passion and love I aspire to. And he did it in less than 4 years. Can we say the same? My grandfather lived over 70 years and I’m 99% positive he did not impacted one person with love. He left behind a legacy of destruction and pain. I never shed and tear for him. I wept for Mattie. A boy I never met in person, but who I knew. A boy who never spoke a word, but loved with every beat of his heart. A boy who struggled with each breath, and never had a voice. His family was his voice, proclaiming to the world his original design, and the world was changed. Mattie a 3 1/2 year old boy with special needs: changed the world. Mattie’s legacy of love is left behind. His life was valuable and worth every moment. Isabelle, his loving sister, boldly proclaimed, “It was all worth it. His life was worth fighting it.” This proclamation from an courageous, captivating, memorizing adolescent woman who in the midst (not absence) of suffering, deep pain, and questions for her Creator. What will my legacy be? What will your legacy be?
Inviting Others In: Finally, I walk away knowing the value of inviting others into your pain. Tracie invited me into her life years ago. And she kept inviting me in ever since. When she texted me about Mattie being called Home, I didn’t hesitate booking my flight out. I wasn’t sure how she would want to grieve and wanting to be sensitive I continually asked questions, giving her freedom. She consistently invited me into her pain. Through her invite God transformed my heart. Through her invite to guard her back against the Enemy in prayer, to sit in her living room while they wept and shared, to stand at the grave site, to worship The Lord along side of them: the chain of fear was broken.
Fear of death has no hold on me today.
As I fly home I hold Layla in my arms. I was marked by Gratitude through her. I learned to place my Hope in The Lord through my other daughter and after all this my faith truly knows no bounds.
I do not wish for death, but when it claims me, and my husband, and my children…I will throw my arms up to the heavens. I will follow Tracie, John and their children in abandonment, worship, faith and trust in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Amen
written by Shaleen Kendrick