The angelic voices of the Kansas State Choir rang out at the MOPS Convention, “All this pain…You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of dust, You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us…All around, Hope is springing up from this old ground. Out of chaos, life is being found in You. You make me new, You are making me new…” As they sang, tears streamed down my face until I could taste the saltiness on my lips and inwardly chastised myself for my lack of foresight in forgetting to bring tissues. Moments before, Sherry Surratt, the CEO of MOPS International had somberly announced that a group of mothers traveling from Nebraska to the MomCon had been in a horrific car accident in which one of the moms had been killed and another lay in the hospital in critical care. Grasping my “Ryan” necklace hanging by my heart, I wept for the families involved, who were feeling unimaginable pain, as we gathered to worship.
Before I left for Convention, I had texted my husband to pray for me since I was having a lot of anxiety as my heart was reminded of the events of last year’s Convention. This week as I had prepared my house to leave, I had even found some notes that my dad had scrawled down when hearing the news of my cousin, Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Jeschke’s, death while serving in Afghanistan. The notes seemed an eerie reminder of that day when my world had stopped and I had spent the weekend, and many moments after, weeping in the arms of my friends. The moment that I found out had occurred while coming out of a large session of Convention just over one year ago. I had gotten the phone message with the news of Ryan’s death, and had literally collapsed into a pool of tears only to be guided to my room by a dear friend. After that, all I could think of was to ask anyone and everyone to pray for the members of Ryan’s family who did not yet know the Lord, so that one day they too could embrace him in heaven.
Over a year has past and the hurt remains, however, God is making beautiful things out of the chaos and tragedy of my hero, Ryan’s, death. Just this past weekend, my Aunt Carolyn was baptized in front of family and friends as she became dead to sin and alive again in Christ. Prior to Ryan’s death I had no knowledge that she had ever even had a relationship with the Lord, so she was one of the people that we so fervently prayed for after he went onward to Heaven. So much chaos, so much pain, and yet something so beautiful as my Aunt dedicating herself completely to the Lord had been birthed out of that terrible grasp of the grave. Ryan’s death had given way to the beautiful life in Christ that his mom now confesses.
For the family or families of those lost in this MOPS tragedy, I know that for now it is impossible to see past the pain and the relentless tears. We may never know the “whys”, however, I do know that God makes beautiful things out of ashes…out of dust, and that He has a beauty that no one can even yet fathom waiting for the family of the mommy that has joined him in heaven. “He makes beautiful things, beautiful things, out of dust. He make beautiful things, beautiful things out of us.”