I’ll never forget Sunday, February 2, 1997.
As I prepared a Bible lesson, my sister called from Pensacola with horrific news. Matthew, our fifteen-year-old nephew, had been killed in a skateboard accident.
I hung up the phone, staggered out the front door of our Birmingham home, and found my husband and our twelve-year-old son planting two dogwood trees. We hugged and grieved over our family’s tragic loss.
Later that afternoon, our neighbor heard the news, looked out her front window at the newly planted dogwoods, and said, “Those are the Matthew Trees.”
The dogwood trees’ blossoms resemble Christ’s cross, a stunning reminder of His death and resurrection. In the year I was born, my family built a new house on West Blount Street in Pensacola. My father planted dogwood trees in our front yard between the sidewalk and the street. As a little girl, I regularly climbed in those trees and imagined myself to be on neighborhood watch.
My husband and I moved from Alabama ten years ago. One of the “Matthew Trees” did not survive its first year, but the other stood like a sentry in front of the living room window. When we visit our son in Birmingham, we drive by our former home and think of Matthew.
I was reminded while viewing a post-abortion-recovery video that children who have left us through abortion, miscarriage, or other untimely deaths are never really gone. They may no longer be with us on earth, but I believe they have a purpose in heaven as they train with Jesus.
Take a moment to remember and be thankful for all of God’s children, here and in heaven.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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