God has funny ways of working in peoples’ lives. How is it that He can over and over again do the very thing we don’t want Him to do, and then we end up realizing how wise, how loving, how wonderful He is when He does it anyway?
I didn’t want God to take Nathan. When I was 17, I woke up in the middle of the night with a song in my head. It felt like God was singing this song, this lullabye, over me as I slept. I quickly got up and wrote it down. It came all in one piece, in 5 minutes or so. I sang it over and over, imagining God singing it over me, imagining singing it over my family one day. A few months later, I was singing it one night when I suddenly envisioned singing it over my husband’s casket. I was 17, unmarried, Nate wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. But I saw it so vividly, I remember crying about it that night. I didn’t sing it for awhile after that, and as time went on I forgot about that night. When Nate and I were engaged, Nate had food poisoning one time and got sick as a dog. He wanted me to sing to him. So, I remembered God’s lullabye for my family, and, seeing as I was engaged to him and wanted him to be my family so earnestly, I sang it over him while he was sick. Later, when I was pregnant, I sang it everyday to little Jack as he was inside of me, and, later still, when he was a little newborn baby. The night that they found Nate, they brought him back to me at his dad’s house. We sat in the back of a truck, and I held him like I had when he was sick and many other times, and I sang God’s lullabye for my family over him. As I sang, I remembered how I had envisioned one lonely night singing that song over my husband’s casket 7 years before. And I knew then, holding my stilled husband, that God had planned this for me from the beginning. But as I sang, I also heard the words I was singing, and it was as if God was singing over me right then. These are the words He sang over me:

In the beginning
Before there was time
I felt your heart beat
And I loved you then
And I love you still
I have and always will
And I don’t ever want to leave
I just want you here with me
Could you love me
Half as much as I love you?
I’d do anything for you
Just let me love you as I do
All I ask is that you mean it
When you say to me
That you love me.

And I don’t ever want to leave
I just want you here with me
Could you love me
Half as much as I love you?
I’d do anything for you
Just let me love you like I do
And no matter what life brings
I will always be.
And I’ll love you.
And I’ll love you.
I love you.
I love you.

I think I sang “I love you” a hundred times, over and over. Me singing it to my love, and God singing it over me.
I don’t think Nate thought he was ready to die yet, either. One week before his death, he had held a woman who had been in a bad carwreck as she lay dying. He came home upset and contemplative before me. I sat quietly at his feet while he sat on the bed with his hand laid on Jack’s head, and tears were streaming down his face.
“What are you thinking of, Nate?”
Quiet. Whispered, “You and Jack.”
I’m sure he didn’t want to leave us. But he also didn’t know what God truly had in store for him in Heaven, or for us here on earth.
All I know is, I couldn’t see it then, but his life has had a ripple effect. It started out small, just with his friends, but then it spread all around to people who never knew him, in places he had never been. Inspiration. A call to people to live life to the fullest. Don’t worry about insignificant things. Life it too short! Love your family and your friends. They are your legacy. Love, love in God’s name. He’s the one who justifies the unjust, comforts the grieving, lifts up the humble. He is the purpose of life. Nathan is a ripple effect. Thus comes the name of my blog here. Maybe, just maybe, Nate’s story, my story, Jack’s story, spreads life even farther. In its sadness. In its joy. In its pride. In its humility.
And so, for Nate, if anyone would like to tell a story about him, about the ripple effect his life has had, please leave a comment on it here. Doesn’t matter if you never knew him…maybe that’s better. Maybe you know me, maybe you don’t. Maybe you came across this blog by googling it or something. Maybe this post is a year old, and no one’s commented on it in ages. Doesn’t matter. I’d like for you to tell us. It’s all part of a ripple effect that you also carry on in your own life.
I love you, Nathan. You, in your life, made me a true woman. A woman who knew what it was to love someone more than herself. To know what it was to sacrifice. In your death, you made me realize how precious a gift is family, friendship, love. You made me realize not to hold on to things too dearly that will fade, but to push on, looking to what truly awaits me after my short breath of life has ended. Heaven. But my ripples will carry on down here. Thank you, darling, for the ripples that went through this heart.
Thank you, God.

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