Monday, April 09, 2018


On March 13th, a faithful soul passed into eternity.  It's been hard for me to explain how and what this means to me, because he was not actually a relative of mine.  But he was family, nonetheless.  He was at the hospital when I was born, and he was at our home in Kansas on the day my own father died.  I called him Papa, and I call his beautiful bride of 60 years, Meme.  It had been several years since I had seen him, but his legacy in my life is so strong, and it is sad to know that his light and love is no longer in this world.  My longing for heaven got just a bit stronger upon hearing the news.

Because of the early death and brokenness in both of my parents' homes, Meme and Papa became my surrogate grandparents.  I remember beach vacations with their entire family where we road-tripped and all had code names to use over the walkie-talkies - maybe I was "Little Squirt"?  I was so little that the details are super fuzzy and come back more as warm remembrances of being showered in love and laughter by many adults whilst basking in sunshine.  Sunday afternoons meant lunch at their house after church with what felt like the rest of the church.  Their house felt like home to me, because of the way they welcomed us all in with open arms.

Their family provided me with a host of surrogate uncles and aunts as well, and these people are all so dear.  In fact, one of Papa's sons provided me with my very first job at CFA, and that has obviously been quite impactful in my current life.  It is truly amazing to see the way God works throughout the course of life and weaves stories and people and places together in a way that only he can.

John and I had the ability to attend Papa's memorial service the last weekend of our spring break, while John's parents graciously kept our children.  My mom and step-dad and all of my siblings also were able to come, so we had the double bonus of seeing my entire family.  The service was extremely well-attended with standing room only, and it was a wonderful celebration of his life.


It was a joy to see so many wonderful people that have known me my entire life.  I was sort of overwhelmed by the amount of preciousness there in that room.  It was like time-traveling back 30 years and putting all of those people back together - so many of my parents' friends who had also helped to raise us.  They were knit together so closely by the Lord and love, and I was privileged to watch as they prayed over Meme after the service - women of God, bound together by prayers and tears and years and laughter and the Gospel.


My life without Meme and Papa seems unimaginable.  They taught my dad what a Godly family could look like as they welcomed him in.  He spent countless hours and days that turned into years with them all when he was living in North Little Rock as a single man so long ago, and when he moved to DFW and met my mother, he sought their approval of the new woman in his life.  My parents went on their honeymoon and then extended it by meeting up with the Clark family on the beach.

They mentored both of my parents and poured time and wisdom into them.  Several of the grandsons spoke at the service, and the oldest one said that of all the wonderful things that Papa was to him in life, the greatest gift that Papa gave him was a loving, Godly father of his own.  It struck me then - Papa also gave me my dad.  My father learned so much about the Lord and what a family looks like from Lewis Clark, and it has forever and always impacted my own life.  I'm so very grateful.


At Papa's memorial, one man who had known both Lewis and my father so very well made the comment that they were probably having biscuits and gravy together in heaven.  Someone else had remarked on Facebook that Lewis and my dad were likely in heaven on a beach together.  Either way, I know they are in heaven together, worshipping the Lord and waiting for us all to join them in the place where tears are no more and we live in joy forever.  Oh what a glorious day that will be.