How Do You Deal With The Way Amanda Died?

About 4 months ago I was sitting at Starbucks and ran into a lady whose teenage son attends our church and whom I coached in baseball a couple years in a row. Her name is Heidi. I hadn’t seen Heidi since Amanda went to be with Jesus. Heidi and I, along with about 15 other volunteers, formerly served at Wylde Life together (the Middle School chapter of Young Life).

As soon as she saw me tears began to well up in her eyes. She approached me and gave me a huge hug. For a second I felt like I was hugging my own mom as tears filled my eyes. For about 45 seconds neither of us could say anything. We finally both gained our composure and she sat down in the chair next to me. We began talking about church, her kids, and sports. The conversation turned to Amanda and she began to get emotional again. “Davey, I trust Jesus but the one thing I can’t wrap my mind around is the way Amanda died. Why so violently? Why in such a gruesome way? Why would such a righteous girl be taken from this earth in such a wicked way? How could God have allowed this?"

I looked back at Heidi with tears in my eyes and couldn’t answer her. Up to this point I’d been able to accept most things surrounding the new reality I was living, but this . . . this one was still eluding me. Heidi probably thought I had surmised an answer to this question when she asked it. What she didn’t realize is I had been incessantly wrestling with this since the morning I found Amanda. Why, God!? Why would you take her? Why like this?

Prior to my conversation with Heidi I couldn’t wrap my mind around the whole thing. So many questions and so few answers. Nothing to comfort my aching heart. No answers, and so rather than wallowing in a vortex of uncertainty I tried to suppress that nagging question. I concluded not to dwell on the last 45 minutes of Amanda’s life and instead focus on all the memories we had and the legacy she was leaving behind. 

Before I move on, let me say this wasn't a bad thing. It wasn’t unhealthy for me not to focus on what happened to her. To be frank, unless you've walked in to find your best friend lying on your living room floor, struggling to take every breath, blood smeared all around her, you’ll never truly understand what it’s like to wrestle with the post-trauma I’ve been forced to (and frankly it blows my mind there are some people heartless enough to try and assert themselves into this narrative with their own inclinations as to how I or anyone for that matter should be grieving).

For weeks I couldn’t sleep at night. For weeks I suffered with nightmares and forms of flashbacks. For weeks I was terrified to be alone, not knowing where my thoughts and emotions would take me. It was only by the grace of God that my heart could be stilled enough to get some rest over the first two months.

But after Heidi asked me that question, I felt this prompting from the Holy Spirit that it was ok (and even time) for me to “chase” this question further. I couldn’t shake the idea that Jesus wanted to redeem this part of the process for me too.

So over the next 4 weeks, every Monday, I’m going to share my journey of healing with you. I’m going to share with you what I feel like the Lord has showed me. I don’t know for sure everything that happened in those last 45 minutes of Amanda’s life, either in the natural realm or the supernatural one, but the truths I’ll share with you the next 4 weeks are the ones that have helped me heal. My prayer is these truths will help increase your faith and trust in Jesus as well.