My good friend, Janelle Bentley, brought an article to my attention today. John Canzano, writer for the Oregonian Newspaper wrote a piece on the Bentley family, who lost their beautiful 9 year-old daughter, Jaclynn, this week last year. I originally wrote about her passing here. Mr. Canzano’s editorial may be found here. He is a sport’s writer; a very good one at that, especially when it comes to writing human interest stories.
In this case, his article touches very close to home. For many years the Bentley family attended the church where I am Children’s pastor. I grew to know their family quite well, especially their kids. I remember vividly Jaclynn’s love for Jesus and for her family. Her face lit up the room. She had an indomitable spirit which was characterized by faith in God and devotion to her family. When Dad (Jeff) and Mom (Tracy) would arrive to pick her up from Kids church she would run into their arms, as would her siblings.
They are a family which understands the cooperative tension between spiritual formation in the home and within the larger church family. Clearly, Jaclynn and her siblings, twin Jacob (now 10) and Roselynn (now 9), grew up in a family full of love for God and each other. I admire them. I grieve with them. My words seem so inadequate, and they are. Yet all I know to do is to continue praying for them, loving them, and trusting God that he will minister to them at the level of their need.
Grief is potent, especially during the holiday season with its memories and expectations. I won’t pretend to know what they are feeling. I don’t. But I do stand with them in prayer. I grieve with them. I hope. I pray. I remember.