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This is Loving Forward


A Tribute to Holly

This past week has been one for the eternal books. I want to tell you a story that is common to so many in the globe right now, but I believe this has some uncommon happenings attached to it. This is a story of tragedy. Destiny. Community. And finally, victory.


One Sunday afternoon in January, my childhood girlfriend, Holly, called her dad while we were eating at our local Mexican restaurant to say her husband, Derrick, tested positive for Covid-19. The following day, he was sent to the hospital with low oxygen levels. Days later, she called to say she now had Covid-19 too and would be quarantined in her home while her husband was quarantined at the hospital. Two weeks later, she had finished her quarantine, meanwhile her husband took a turn for the worst—at least that is what our human minds would say. But, this thought came to me and I sent it to a friend: What is good in eternity looks different to humanity. 🙆🏼‍♀️

Last Sunday, Derrick was moved into ICU. The hospital FaceTimed Holly and said he needed to be intubated or he would have only 24-48 hours to live. None of us saw this coming. So, our church rallied and started a 72-hour round-the-clock prayer chain. We contended for this family like never before. We prayed for the living God to do a supernatural healing and for him to stay on this land. On Wednesday night, we came together in a social distance kind of way to worship. It was the third day and Derrick’s vent was coming out, which was his request for being intubated. We got word he would not last long once the vent was removed. We cried and worshipped still believing for a miracle. This is our posture as a local church body, to believe for miracles even when they are in the balance between this life and the next. We got word his hand was raised even though we were not together with him. His spirit knew something—I truly believe that.


If you have been reading my blogs, I hope you have started to understand. I have 2020 vision, meaning, I can see things in an earthly common way. But, I can also see things from an eternally higher perspective too. For most who walked into worship that night, they walked in heavy with the thought of their friend not making it. For me, it felt like a light was lit up inside of me to usher him into eternity, for another faith-filled member was crossing over. I wrote this to a friend while all this was happening:


We posture our hearts to receive His love. The sacrifice of praise is something we can only give on this side of eternity. It reveals as it heals, for the Father is near to a hurting heart. We do our part and He comes. He always does. He always will.


WE ARE a courageous troop. This, I know. I LOVE BATTLING AND CELEBRATING ANOTHER FAITHFUL MEMBER’S SEND OFF WITH YOU!! Yes, there are tears. Yes, there is sadness. BUT, JOY COMES IN THE MORNING THROUGH THE MOURNING.


This life is not guaranteed. Period. We are living in history-making times. We are navigating new lands. The storms seem to be coming faster, harder, and staying longer. A friend sent this verse to me and it ignited my heart to pray with more passion for Derrick to stay:


“After Jesus said this, he added, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him.’”

John 11:11 NCV


This stuff fuels me. It doesn't deplete. It's completing my destiny—to stand in for those ready to go. There is something coming forth. It's waking people back up. Put energy in the eternal living things. Our Heavenly Father was with Holly and Derrick. Love will win at the end of this story.


Standing in the Gap

I have a few words of encouragement if you feel like you are suffocating from any of this. That is fear. Fear suffocates faith. We pray with hearts and eyes of faith. Faith illuminates. Faith keeps moving. Fear freezes.


Freezing might feel like its preserving the past, but the past can’t last. We are here to be in the present. The present day is what we have been given with grace to handle. The future is in His hands. Depression is worry of the past. Anxiety is worry of the future. Both are negative energy. Both take away from you fully living. Being present with His peace is living fully alive in the now.


With worldly energy versus eternal energy, one takes and one gives. One dies and one lives. One decays and one creates. I know which one I’m plugging into this present day.


Keep watch. This is our honor to stand in the gap for another until they cross over. We don't know what the next days hold, but one thing is for sure: Faith is rising 🔥


“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

I Thessalonians 5:1-11 NKJV


Therefore comfort each other. This is the passage that came out of journaling. Watch. Wait with the Lord. This is our eternal privilege to stand in the gap between the valley of the shadow of death. These moments are why we are alive!!


WE ARE daughters of light carrying His might, for we know we are His delight, walking by faith and not by sight.


Love Wins

I was over Holly’s house the following Thursday to bring her lunch, some Sending and Mending gear, and to bring some comfort and cheer. I checked back in Friday to be with her and bring a laugh. She likes to laugh. The scripture says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Saturday was Derrick’s celebration service. Afterwards, we went back to her house again to greet those from out of town. Eleven people raised their hands for salvation at his service. This was Holly’s desire, to share at the service about the God who changed her husband’s life forever. He was changed—in an instant, Jesus removed the desire and addiction to alcohol.


Holly was born for these moments in her life. Holly was a faithful wife. Holly prays often and feels deeply about those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. She wants you to know the Father she has gotten to know and love. The love that comes from above is beyond what this world can offer. His presence is evident.


I hope you get to speak with her about how Jesus walked her through this tragedy, as the world would say, with peace and grace to see another day. We are a community that rallies. We are a church body that fights for our loved ones until death. We die in faith not in fear. Fear doesn’t get the final word. It never does. It never will. Death where is your sting?


“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 NKJV


“So now, beloved ones, stand firm, stable, and enduring. Live your lives with an unshakable confidence. We know that we prosper and excel in every season by serving the Lord, because we are assured that our union with the Lord makes our labor productive with fruit that endures.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 TPT


This is a time to blow the trumpet in Zion. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is roaring. Can you hear Him? I can!!! He is roaring!!


We don’t have time to waste on worldly things. It’s time to focus on the eternal things. How do you discern which is which? Ask any long-standing senior saint, meaning a grandma or grandpa in the faith. They have wisdom, for they have lived it. They know the ways to navigate this land. They have trialed and errored in many things, and when asked, would impart the wisdoms they have learned. They are critical to us younger generations to pass down the revelations of the scriptures to the next generation. We are where we are because of all they have battled up to this point.


Salvation works. 2021 is the year of salvation. This is our local church’s theme for the year. Another faithful member has crossed over.


The Parallel

Holly and I have known each other since we were 5 years old. We went to school together most of our lives and went to two different churches together. We both got married and both have two children. We are 6 months apart in age. Our daughters are three months apart.


Holly is 39. She was married for 12 years. Derrick was 42 and the time of his death was 9:10.


I am 39. I was 36 when Ben passed away. I was married 13 years. Ben was 43 and the time of his death was 11:10.


Are you seeing some parallels? What is next for us? This was my text to her last night:


“Love you. 2021 is going to be about fun. There was a season we had to focus solely on our own families. But, we are now back to a common ground in an uncommon land.

The adventures await. Of creating a new normal with a lot of play. That’s what we do best. Mommies that play together stay together. 👩‍👧‍👦👩‍👧‍👧


I will be praying and asking the Lord what lands we are both suppose to stand on. It’s time to just bring comfort to our littles. Sharing is caring. I see it for me. This year is me loving on you. Because I want to. I have to! My love for you compels me to respond with care in a way, I have never shown you before. I am honored to love you in a way that gap fills. This is loving forward.”


Until next time,

Stay tender.

Connect to the Mender.

Be a sender.


It’s love month, and in perfect February fashion, we have a sign-up genius to love on this family all month long. Pick a day! Love melts grief like nothing else. I have experienced this first hand. Love covers and loving forward looks like this.


I’m sharing with you Wednesday’s night worship, the celebration service, and our Sunday service with a tribute to Derrick as well as some funny videos and reflections.


Love on the Ledbetter Ladies:

https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/20f0c44a4a82aa6f49-love


Sunday service:

https://www.facebook.com/Rockchurchfranklin/videos/413470209762861/?vh=e&d=n


Celebration service:

https://www.facebook.com/Rockchurchfranklin/videos/186087576622973/?vh=e&d=n


Wednesday night of worship:

https://www.facebook.com/Rockchurchfranklin/videos/4994083730663419/?vh=e&d=n




#ThisIsLovingForward #TributeToHolly #MyMendedHeart #Inthesendingcomesthemending

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