In Loving Memory of Anthony Flood

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On Monday, October 23rd, I lost my brother and one of my closest friends.  His death was tragic and sudden. My brother was only 36 years old and left behind three beautiful and amazing daughters. The news of his passing hit everyone like a freight train, leaving us heart broken. Never before have I experienced such a devastating loss. To be honest, this was one of my biggest fears come true. However, what I want to share today in this simple blog post is that I never would have thought it possible that during such a time of sadness and loss that I would be able to simultaneously experience such joy, confidence, and peace.

My confidence comes from the fact that my brother had a relationship with Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. Although he had many struggles (don't we all?), he desired to give his whole heart to God, to live the abundant life God offers and break free from a destructive bondage to brokenness and emptiness. Despite the fact that he will be sorely missed here on earth, I know that even as I type these words, he is standing in the presence of our heavenly daddy. My brother would often call me to share any Christian book, movie, or message he had recently viewed and wanted me to tune into.  "Theresa, you have got to see this movie!" "Theresa, you need to check out this book."   Sunday morning as I worshipped with my church family, a tear rolled down my cheek as I envisioned my brother standing in heaven saying to himself, "Theresa has got to see this!!!!

Peace floods my heart as I look into the eyes of my parents and other family members. My mother was closer to my brother than anyone else and has invested her whole life into trying to make sure he was safe and taken care of. Of course, she has cried many tears over his death. But I have watched my mother radiate such joy over these past couple of weeks.  Through the tears, there has been so many times of laughter.  She still has that mischievous gleam in her eye and even the death of her son won't keep her from telling a joke, pulling off a prank, or showing off her goofy side.  When I see my mom smile and laugh, I am convinced she is one of the strongest woman I know.  Her laughter has brought peace into our family.  And I know that life doesn't end with this tragedy.

My joy comes from the fact that God has made me feel so loved as His daughter.  God has chosen the time in my life when I am suffering my greatest loss to bless me in ways far greater than I could have ever imagined.  Although my brother has died, I am seeing many dreams birthed.  I am seeing beauty from the ashes and new life springing forth.  Saturday, at my brother's memorial service, 8 family members and friends of my brother chose to surrender their hearts to the Lord.  I met with a beautiful, bright young woman yesterday who told me that with my brother's passing she has been awakened to the importance of living her life for God.  In a Facebook post yesterday, she wrote, "All for you Father.  Take my hand and guide me.  I am a daughter!"  With God nothing is wasted, even death.  I am fully convinced that my brother's influence here in this world continues and that many more will follow his example and give their hearts to Jesus.

Tony, thanks for always being there for me.  I will miss you greatly and I will do my best to use every opportunity I'm presented with to honor your memory by pointing others to Jesus.  Can't wait to see you again!  We have a lot to catch up on.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.  He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies.  To all who mourn in Israel he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.  (Isa. 61:1-3)