I met Lydia almost two years ago. We were in a Bible study together, she was new to the area. I would have never known she was new, when I got there she was conversing with the people at our table like she had known them for years. She was from North Carolina and moved to Minnesota for new opportunities. I don't know if North Carolina is considered south, but she is the closest thing to a Southern Belle that I've ever met. Her smile and laugh were so contagious. You couldn't help but be drawn to her. When she spoke, you listened.
Zac and I had been attending our church for two years at this point. We had spent two years making a lot of changes to our lifestyle. We weren't going out anymore (meaning out to the bars until 2am) and because of that we had lost touch with the social circles we had been a part of for quite some time. We were slowly making new friends, but Zac had a much easier time with it than I did. He is an extrovert and I am not. Zac was also working 100+ hours a week, so he was able to develop many friendships thought work connections. I had started a new job about nine months prior and was struggling to find my groove at work and in our new community. I had also just found out I was pregnant, and I was terrified.
On week two of our study, Lydia asked me quite a few questions. She wanted to know where I was from, where we lived, how many kids we wanted. I started answering the questions and not-so-gracefully blurted out that I was six weeks pregnant and had no idea what I was doing. She knew I needed someone to talk to. She listened. Not the kind of listening where she was on her phone or looking at her watch, but really listening. I cried, she gave me a hug and reassured me that this was all part of a much bigger plan and God was watching over me every step of this new journey. She reminded me that God picked me to be Finn's mom and what a blessing it was. I asked her about her life. She was single and very much wanted to have a family someday, but she was so confident that this was where she was supposed to be right now. Lydia's faith paired with her smile and charm was such an inspiration. It got me through that winter.
Lydia didn't stay in Minnesota very long. She was onto a new adventure by summer. I feel like I hardly knew her and yet for those few months she was such a blessing. She helped me move from a place of fear to one of hope and excitement. We would meet for lunch when we could and she would text me daily words of encouragement. She lived life to the fullest, impacting people everywhere she went. My faith was challenged and grown by seeing the way she lived her life. I have no doubt that I am not the only person in Minnesota who was changed by meeting her.
Two days ago, on December 16, 2014, Lydia was killed by a drunk driver. My heart aches for her family. I am sad, angry and shocked. Such a beautiful life taken so young.
This world is not perfect, but the Gospel will give us hope. Lydia knew that, and she LIVED it. She touched more lives in her 32 years on this earth than I will probably ever meet. She loved every single person she met like it was going to be her only chance and it grew the kingdom of Heaven. Please pray for Lydia's family. Pray for the impaired driver, who had a passenger with him who was five years old and is recovering. Pray for the driver of the vehicle Lydia was in, her brother, who is still hospitalized. Pray for this broken world we live in. As my heart moves between anger and sadness, I will choose to be thankful for the amount of time I did know Lydia, because she would not want me to be angry at God, but angry with him. Angry for the things that make His heart ache, for the injustice that happens every single day. Let's live life loud, like Lydia. I have no doubt it would change the world.
“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”