Thursday, October 29, 2009

Perfect Peace

Wendy Killian attends the same church as my wife and I. We don't know her very well but are familiar with the horrific tragedy she endured about four years ago (see WCCO-TV interview she gave Wednesday).

It was a warm summer night after a Wednesday church service at Abundant Life church in Blaine. Killian was in her van saying goodbye to her best friends.

"My friend Greg brought his little girl, Joy, to my window to say goodbye to me. She was 2-years-old. She said goodbye to me and they went into the church," said Killian.

It was the last time she would ever see the toddler alive.

"As I pulled away, I drove about 5 feet and heard a thump," she said

Killian thought she hit the curb. She didn't. She accidentally ran over and killed her best friend's daughter.

"Everybody was screaming and I ran up to her and started praying and I said, 'God touch her. Do something.' Everyone was just frantic," she said.

Joy died instantly in front of the church entrance she apparently snuck out of.

I remember four years ago when I learned of this incident. My thoughts immediately turned to the parents of the toddler and the overwhelming grief they must have felt. But I also couldn't help but think of the myriad of emotions Wendy had to endure. Even if she had been nowhere near the scene of the accident, Wendy would have no doubt grieved heavily for the loss of her best friend's daughter. Now throw on top of said grief a tremendous burden of guilt for being involved in such an incident.

Killian could not forgive herself for years.

"I would replay it in my mind and you hear the screams," said Killian. She said she struggled with thoughts of hopelessness and not wanting to live.

Thankfully, Wendy stayed grounded in her faith knowing that God was the only one who could see her through the pain. And while Joy's parents became distant as time moved on, Wendy sought another venue which to communicate with them: she wrote a book.

The book's title, "To Have Loved," reflects the love Killian feels for Joy and her parents.

"I would just like to tell them that I love them," she said.

She hopes her book will show others who are suffering through tragedy how faith can work miracles.

"There's hope that they can make it through this and not to give up because everything in you wants to give up," said Killian. "No matter what you're carrying in life, no matter what you're going through, that God is always there and he's always there to help us. If we're willing to hand him whatever we're carrying, he will give us peace and give us freedom."

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you no doubt know that my favorite passage of scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which says "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Certainly Wendy isn't thankful for this tragedy in her life. But in that tumultuous time she was able to exemplify the perfect peace which is only attained through God's grace and mercy. It's a testimony that will undoubtedly lead others out of a period of darkness. More importantly, it's another example of Jesus Christ being the way, the truth and the light.


No comments: