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About Eric’s Wife

Some may say I am a "Stay at home Mom," but that is not even close. I am Eric's Wife. I have exhilarating strokes of genius, followed almost immediately by paralyzing pangs of self doubt and, for whatever reason, here is where I blog about it - warts and all. I serve a merciful God with a clumsy hand and at the end of each day I go to sleep thankful to be His servant and Eric's wife.

On Reverence

August 6, 2008

Three years ago a young man sat in the cold and final seat of a defendant on sentencing day.  The verdict was unnecessary as he pled guilty, but there was still the sentence to decide.

On his neck he wore a tie, but on his hands he wore the blood of my baby brother.

In the moments after the car crash that would change our lives forever, this young man fumbled and took Nathan’s phone off his (dead? dying?) body and called home and a few other numbers before finally calling the authorities.  In the hours after Nathan’s death, his family held that phone and let it ring while we and Nathan’s fiance tried calling.

Nathan was dead for 14 hours before we were told.

The judge was slow and deliberate as he read the letters that my parents and I wrote on behalf of Kevin C.  Not knowing anything more about him than his apparent callousness and immaturity, we asked for mercy.  We asked that he not be made to sit in prison, but that he be allowed to walk away from this and build for himself a good life.

Truly, these were the hardest letters in the world to write.

Community service and a bit of probation were the light sentence he received.  Not very significant when you consider the isolation of prison he likely deserved.

Some months later Dad called Kevin C.  I think that we all thought that perhaps he would have sent us a note of thanks, or at the very least called us.  Instead, Dad picked up the phone and made the first move.

“Hi, Kevin.  This is Brad Dodd.”

“Who?”

(wince)

“Nathan’s Dad.”

“Oh.  Hey man, what’s up?”

What’s up!?  You killed my son!  You should be rotting in prison, but you were dealt a hand of mercy and you want to know “What’s up?”!?!?

That’s not what my Dad said.  But it’s how he felt.

I wanted so badly to talk this over with God.  I wanted to tell Him just how much this jerk had hurt my family and I wanted God to hear my heart cry for the lost opportunity to make him go to prison.  I wanted to, but I couldn’t.  I didn’t dare.

How could I go to God and tell Him how much this slight hurt when I know full well the things I have done with His Son’s blood on my hands?  How many times have I approached Jesus’ Father and said, “Hey man, what’s up?”.

I think it is easier than it should be for us to forget that we are covered in blood when we speak of being covered in mercy.  Theresa wrote some time ago that she feared we were losing some of the reverence we once had in approaching God.  I tend to agree with her.

This is not a post with much of a wrap up, just a call for self examination.  If you have taken advantage of the mercy you were shown, take this moment to repent.  Return to the higher place and start acting like someone whose very life depends on the mercy of another.  Because it does.

14 responses to “On Reverence”

  1. You’re right – we do need to be sure that we are constantly examining our lives in the light of what Jesus did for us. But I do also think that its okay for you to pour your frustration out to Him, even if it is to just vent. Its what we would do with our best friend.

  2. Man, I am so sorry about your brother. Thank you for showing me something beautiful today. His mercy.

  3. I am so sorry for the pain that you and your family went through. Thank you for sharing… it’s an important reminder that we all need to hear from time to time.

    Heather
    TheStrivingWife.com

  4. Theresa says:

    That must have been literally the hardest letter you ever wrote. I have gone back before I ever really commented on your site and read all the posts about Nathan. Being an only child, the feelings of closeness and love that I felt in your words about your relationship with Nathan just drew me closer to you.

    I have been doing a lot of re-examining lately. Thanks for the reminder again. 🙂

  5. deleise says:

    What a merciful thing for you and your family to do.

  6. Susan says:

    I remeber reading and re-reading that letter as you wrote and re-wrote it. I always thought to myself that you were doing something that I could never do. But in those moments, you and your family helped me understand what forgivness really is. Just as you remind me again today.

  7. Kristen says:

    Wow. I agree with you, too. I like to refer to our relationship with Christ the way Matt Redman does “The Friendship & The Fear”. Reverence…

    The faith of your family speaks volumes as you write about the legacy of Nathan. I’ve tried to read each post catching up — and the one with your Mom’s journaled thoughts left me in tears.

  8. Amy…thank you. Thank you for your reminder..about forgivness..AND reverance.
    I didn’t know this boy reacted to your Dad’s call…in this manner. And I felt a lump in my throat. Hurt. Ouch. ..as my Maggie would say. I say..’what a jerk!’ Thankfully; God will have the last word.

  9. Andi Hawkins says:

    I hope I can show that kind of mercy and grace. Usually… I don’t. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. You and your family are such a beautiful example of God’s mercy. Thank you for sharing this (I’m sure) painful and beautiful glimpse into your story.

  11. Dorthy Houchin says:

    Amy, your grandmother, Bonnie would be so proud of you and your sharing of your talents with all of us. Yes, I am your Aunt Dorthy who never gets to see you when I come, but I am so delighted that you might be coming our way in Sept. I pray everyone stays well and you can make the trip. My heart was touched with your sharing of the sentencing. What forgiving parents you have that have taught all of you the grace of God. Dorthy

  12. Joanne Sher says:

    What an incredible image that I will not soon forget. Thank you SO much for sharing this with us. I was blessed and pricked in the heart. Thank you.

  13. Jenni says:

    Amy, what a truly soul-piercing post.

    “I think it is easier than it should be for us to forget that we are covered in blood when we speak of being covered in mercy”

    This line is going to be reverberating in my head for quite some time. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  14. TRS says:

    Wow.
    Talk about mercy.

    My family couldn’t do that. The man who murdered my sister 23 years ago what released on parole after 21 years in prison and we fought tooth and nail to keep him in there.

    Then a few months later I started dating my boyfriend who suggested that I work on forgiving the man.
    Hmmm. Now a year and a half later, I have gone from “Impossible. No way. I’m sure God doesn’t even expect me to.” to “Maybe I can.” and now I’m at… “I’m pretty sure I can, but how do I know that I am done?”