Monday, August 3, 2015

Different is Good

I believe Grace was just a few years old when I really connected with her and it probably started because of the game we both loved and played. Basketball, it truly was a love of her life, but obviously not the love. After surgery her senior year, she thought her shining moments were done on the Wildcat court but God had a different plan - in a few hours hundreds will gather in the gym, reflect on and celebrate her life with more amazement than we ever did her basketball skills. And that’s good because it’s what she’d want.

I have many memories of Grace - her love for puppies and all animals, her mutton-bustin heroics, her desire, and often ability, to keep up with her brothers and boy cousins. But friends, you have countless memories as well, so do many others scattered across the world. So in the past few days, I haven’t just been thinking about the memories, I’ve been thinking about Grace and honestly she was kind of different.

I can remember when I coached her and Jennah in basketball…she was in elementary and Jennah junior high. One day I picked them up for practice and Jennah immediately started sharing, “I don’t know why she dresses like this…(I took a quick look - mismatched clothes, different socks and her brother’s shoes) she doesn’t care what people think.” Now my brain works a bit more like Jennah’s did back then and I worry about what people think…Grace on the other hand was secure in who and Whose she was…from an early age she lived for an audience of One. In our world today, that is kind of different.

I also recall one of the first conversations I had with Grace that’s always stuck. She was only 4 years old and I was not yet her aunt “Dill”, but she came to me and said, “My Mommy is having a baby, but don’t tell nobody it’s a secret.” From an early age, Grace was excited to share good news and that became a passion of her life as she traveled the globe to share the Gospel and lived like Christ in front of us. How many of us do that? Like I said, Grace was kind of different.

The other day the kids and I were talking and we recalled the many times we saw Grace reading, the countless items she knit and the fun they had swimming with her. As this conversation took place, I was reminded how Grace lived out the FCA motto she shared…she was all in. She never did anything half way, if she was going to do it, whatever it was, she gave it her best and did it with enthusiasm and often the smile we will all remember.  Would you agree? That’s kind of different.

Her first year playing and my last coaching.
Friends, Grace wasn’t different because of her personality, interests or passions it was really because of her faith. It was because of the God she knew and loved, Jesus the One she’d accepted and served and the Holy Spirit that filled and empowered her. She took God at His Word and believed the Bible was true and it made her kind of different, a good different. A different that made a difference. And I truly believe she’d want nothing more than for each of us to walk out those gym doors today a bit different ourselves because through her life, and even in her death, we’ve each taken a step closer to Jesus.

Again friends I want to thank you for prayers, encouraging words, shared tears and a truly difficult time they bring comfort and show support. May they let's go be different in honor of Grace and for the glory of God!


  1. Oh Jill. I'm speechless as I consider beautiful Grace... I'm speechless as I thank God for your heart. Today I will embrace different as I honor Grace and your friendship. I love you.

  2. Sweet Jill, such a beautiful thought...that your Grace was different because of the God she knew and loved and because of her faith in Him. " A good different" is seldom found in our youth of today. I have thought of young people who were a good different...I am thinking of those youth whom I told you about at our high school-those who suddenly were gone from their family and friends---most of those individuals were a "good different." In their death, I was able to be a testimony to those who didn't know the Lord, and there were so many faithful young Christians who shined the love of Jesus Christ to others during those dark-filled days!!! I do believe that there will be lives changed because of the God that Grace knew and loved. My moma use to say that He sometimes takes the sweetest rose to open eyes. In my younger days, I couldn't understand that sayings of hers, but I have found that saying to be true as I have been made aware of the sweet fragrance surrounding those He calls Home to be missing in the places where those precious souls once gathered. You, sweet gal, will never be the same, but you will shine much brighter to those around you, you will pour out the love and faithfulness of Jesus Christ in your writings as never before, and you will draw even closer to Him as there will be other special times of grieving that is yours and God's alone!!!! She has walked that "Highway to Heaven; Her reward is with God in heaven!
    Praying for God to hold each person who loves Grace so much to have His peace and comfort today,
    Mema Jeanne