Preparing my heart for Christmas has been a journey of valleys and mountains this year. Each day it seems I have been faced with moments of joy and moments of pain. Many times the two have collided into one another leaving me breathless.

The most recent occurrence of this was three days ago.

Three days ago the joy and pain would collide again.

Saturday evening I was walking and talking with my husband and daughter. We were in the New York city sharing the sights and sounds. Headed to see a show at Madison Square Gardens. My heart was bursting with joy as my sixteen year old daughter held my hand and stole another piece of this momma’s heart. In between steps I would say thank you; not aloud, just my heart whispering to God.

Then the news. There had been a car accident. A dear friend’s sister was not responding. Prayer was needed.

The joy and pain were colliding.

Hours later, the message I did not want to believe, a vibrant life had ended at 25 years of age. A daughter lost, a sister taken, a treasure gone from her family and friends. My heart sank. My mind did not want it to be true.

The pain was overwhelming.

Prayer was needed.

4am I woke up to catch a plane back home. All night I dreamed of my friend, or maybe I just tossed and turned. I wanted to hold her, tell her I loved her and I was sorry she was hurting. Distance separated us but God joined our hearts. Prayer has a way of doing that very thing. 5:52 am I couldn’t deny the Lord’s call anymore to send a message:

“My heart is so heavy for you sweet friend. I am praying for the comfort of God to consume you like never before.”

 

Seconds later, the response.

“You could not have texted at a more perfect time…I am awake and my heart is hurting…I remember sitting around your table thanking Him for that comfort…this is heart break I’ve never experienced”

 

Repeatedly this year I have been faced with joy and tragedy revealing itself simultaneously. Continually I search for peace and have found that it comes from trusting without understanding. Many days my only prayer for others is Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts”. A verse I didn’t know before this year and am certain that God planned for me to learn and call on in this year of mountains and valleys.

When the joy and pain collide we need peace.

We need prayer.

We need one another.

I don’t know why my friend lost her sister. I don’t understand. But I trust. I ask God for peace without understanding. My own understanding is not for me to lean on. (Proverbs 3:5)

I trust that God is good, that He loves with an everlasting love and that He is not against us.

The joy and pain are still present.
His peace rules in my heart. Understanding is lacking, but comfort is found.

My friend aches like never before.

As she plans her sister’s funeral, she plans her three small children’s Christmas.

As she prepares to lay her sister to rest, she chooses to name her unborn child Alex after her sister.

As she mourns the loss that cuts deep beyond levels she didn’t know were present, she finds joy in knowing her sister is in her new home with Jesus!

Her early morning text continued saying

“This is heart break I’ve never experienced, how anyone could bear it without knowing His love is unimaginable.”

 

and today she sent me this verse as she rejoices in the One who holds her sister,

 

1 Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,  for everything in heaven and earth is yours.”

 

The pain and the joy collide.

The pain may be overwhelming.

When the pain and joy collide we need peace. We need trust. We need prayer. We need one another. We need comfort. We need Jesus.

Today I rest in His comfort. My sweet friend rests in His promises. Her sister, Leslie Alexandra Fishel rests in His presence and for that we will rejoice forevermore!

Together her sister, family and friends pray that you know Jesus. Knowing Him, trusting Him, is the key to hope, peace, comfort and eternal life in Heaven.

 Leslie Alexandra Fishel, age 25, left this earth unexpectedly on Saturday, December 20, 2014.     She received the greatest Christmas gift of all, the promise of eternal life with Jesus Christ. Leslie is survived by her mother and step dad, Patricia and Butch Coons; her Ray “Ray Ray” Rook: her father, Dave Fishel: her sister and brother in law, Amber and Justin Sanderford and their children, Jace, Ava, Kage, and soon to be born baby Alex whom lovingly called her Aunt “Leggie”; her boyfriend, whom she dearly loved, Ethan Crowder; her grandmother, Thelma Fishel; several aunts, uncles, cousins, sweet friends, and her Sonic family whose lives she greatly impacted. Leslie pursued her passion following the footsteps of her mother by becoming a hair stylist and professional colorist.  She will be remembered as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and car hop, with a colorful, bubbly personality and smiling face. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, December 27, 2014 at 11:00 at Calvary Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids with Rev. Randy Martin officiating. The family will receive friends on Friday, December 26, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30 at Askew Funeral and Cremation Services.   In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to New Life Launch Pad, PO Box 16689, Wilmington, NC, 27408. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.askewfs.com


Leslie Alexandra Fishel, age 25, left this earth unexpectedly on Saturday. December 20, 2014.
She received the greatest Christmas gift of all, the promise of eternal life with Jesus Christ.
Leslie is survived by her mother and step dad, Patricia and Butch Coons; her Ray “Ray Ray” Rook: her father, Dave Fishel: her sister and brother in law, Amber and Justin Sanderford and their children, Jace, Ava, Kage, and soon to be born baby Alex whom lovingly called her Aunt “Leggie”; her boyfriend, whom she dearly loved, Ethan Crowder; her grandmother, Thelma Fishel; several aunts, uncles, cousins, sweet friends, and her Sonic family whose lives she greatly impacted.
Leslie pursued her passion following the footsteps of her mother by becoming a hair stylist and professional colorist. She will be remembered as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and car hop, with a colorful, bubbly personality and smiling face.

Honored to share with the permission of Leslie’s family~ Jodie