Romans 8:18–For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
On Tuesday, March 21, I logged onto Facebook to find a message from my friend, Becky. She wondered if I knew what was going on with a mutual friend. Becky kept seeing prayer requests pop up about her. I quickly started doing some research, and found out heartbreaking news. Our beloved friend Mandy Kelly, her husband, their brand new baby and their youngest daughter were killed in a house fire on Monday, March 20. They left behind two precious teens–who’d already lost their birth mother before falling in love with Mandy as their new mom.
I am beyond devastated and can’t imagine the shock and pain of the family right now. I’m so thankful that we will see Mandy, Scott, Lizzie & Judah, our siblings in Christ, in Heaven some day. While losing someone is always hard, it’s one thing to know a friend will eventually die (like from cancer or another disease), because even though it’s sad, you’re a bit prepared for it. It is much different to lose someone unexpectedly. Those of us who knew her, in person and online, grieve the sudden loss.
Most Christian bloggers who knew Mandy have come together to honor and remember her (see all participating sites below). Her legacy lives on, because the light she left is eternal. I never met Mandy in person, but felt so connected to her through our chats, Facebook groups, & emails, and her website & videos. Now that she’s gone, it’s so comforting to re-watch and hear her sweet voice, and re-read her wonderful blog posts. Also, Mandy had pre-scheduled her social media account posts well in advance, so we can be blessed by her sweet heart even though she’s gone.
A strong, brave, loving, Christian woman, with a huge heart for God and people, Mandy wasn’t without struggles. She longed for a husband for many years, experienced the pain of infertility, and the crushing loss of adoptions. Yet, Mandy lived well.
Mandy lived joyfully. She had so many things to bring her down, but she never lost her joy–the joy that never leaves a believer.
Mandy lived faithfully. Through each and every setback, she trusted and relied on God, remaining faithful to Him.
Mandy lived worshipfully. Her greatest desire was to worship the Lord with her whole life, and on her website, she encouraged others to live the same way.
Mandy finished well.
Here’s my beautiful friend with a wonderful word. So wise and so special.
Please share to pass this on. This video wasn’t her last, as some who’ve seen it believe. However, it’s such a poignant post for her to have made at all. In it, Mandy begins talking about a good name (above riches), and tells us what she wanted to be thought of. “When people say, “Mandy Kelly,” I hope that they think good thoughts. That they think of a woman of God, that they see a good mom, a good wife.” And we do, dear friend. She also spoke about how sorrow is greater than laughter and death is greater than life. Oh, how well we understand this. Here is what I imagine Mandy telling us now, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith.”–2 Timothy 4:7
Not only was this tragedy a reminder to make sure all smoke & CO alarms are installed & working, it’s a wake-up call for each of us to live well every day. You never know when your last breath will come. Each day should be lived as our final one–for the Lord & for His glory. Shining His light. Loving others to Him & for Him.
So that, we too, will finish well.
Romans 8:35,37-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Visit other friends who have shared their love and appreciation for Mandy.
If you’re wondering what you can do:
- Pray for the surviving children, Bekah and Jared.
- Pray for the family.
- Pray for everyone who loved these sweet people.
- Donate to the fund or send cards to the family.
The Kelly’s church has a fund set up, and cards may be sent to the family.
The church’s address is:
Trinity Baptist Church
2003 Charleston Hwy.
Cayce, SC 29033
You can also donate via Trinity’s website. Choose the ‘Kelly Fund’ from the drop down options.
I leave you with lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman. Our sadness is for ourselves, while we’re rejoicing for her, that she is home.
We can cry with hope, we can say good-bye with hope, ’cause we know our good-bye is not the end
And we can grieve with hope, ’cause we believe with hope there’s a place where we’ll see your face again
Through the cloud of tears I see the Father smile and say, ‘Well done.’
And I imagine you where you wanted most to be, seeing all your dreams come true.
‘Cause now you’re home and now you’re free
We have this hope as an anchor ’cause we believe that everything God promised us is true
We wait with hope and we ache with hope
We hold on with hope, we let go with hope