The Loss of Rachel Held Evans

This time 1 year ago I was celebrating being part of my first book launch.  I had all but given up on God. There was barely a thread holding my faith together. The opportunity to launch Inspired by Rachel Held Evans popped up on my newsfeed…  The woman who loved, left, and found the church. Who has given a voice to thousands of questioning and deconstructing believers worldwide.

As Jen Hatmaker says, Rachel is a “writer’s writer.”  Everything I’d ever read by her blew me away with her writing ability.  I’ve wrestled alongside her words as I tried to figure out my faith for a while now. Naturally, I took the chance to launch the book so I could have first dibs at reading her words and a chance to interact with her- even just a little bit.

Little did I know the book would bring me back to God.  I’d end up reading it three times and listening to the audiobook of Searching for Sunday twice in the next couple of months.  

In the last few weeks, I’ve prayed for her unlike any other time.  I check the blog multiple times a day hoping for updates. Connecting in our prayers with the writer community who doesn’t want to lose one of our own.  And the community of fellow sojourners who aren’t quite sure where we stand on this walk but we know we need her voice. Praying prayers I’m not always sure are being heard to someone who some days I don’t entirely know is listening.

Now she’s gone.  

I feel deep sorrow- along with thousands of others.  Her words live on and we will live the rest of our days missing her.  We’ll spend the rest of our days longing for new words that will never come.  Now we pray for her sweet babies left without a Mama. We pray for her loving husband left as a single Daddy.

I feel fear.  She was about my age.  Some similar health issues.  A similar journey. I see myself in her in a lot of ways.  

Mothers with young children shouldn’t be taken away so soon.

Talented young authors shouldn’t have their last words end like this. A Facebook series left unfinished of Lent for the Lamenting would be the final writings she left us… I’m not even sure what to make of that…

She leaves us with these words, written only a few weeks ago on her blog

Death is a part of life.

My prayer for you this season is that you make time to celebrate that reality, and to grieve that reality, and that you will know you are not alone.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Today I am trying desperately to believe she’s hearing “well done good and faithful servant.”  Trying desperately to believe she’s seeing the fruit of her labor and proof of all the struggles, wrestling, and effort she’s put into holding on to that tiny thread of faith.  

There are no good words to use.  My words feel meager and incomplete.  

I can’t believe she’s gone like this.

Lord have mercy.

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