From: David Kabanje
Date: September 24, 2021
Subject: GMU: She was Precious Too

She was Precious Too

Adversity has the potential to produce transformative growth. I was reminded by one of our students yesterday of the importance of kindness. Yesterday for uGather, we celebrated the miracle of life while another family felt the sting of death from last Friday night's accident. Her name was Kim Haes. I had the honor of reading her obituary. She was defined by her "huge heart and contagious smile." She was loved and cherished by her family. She was precious to God. 

Like you and I, Kim was a person who was dearly loved. In light of all this, I have a request to ask of you. Can we spend a few minutes today praying for her family as they grieve and process their loss? Can we pray for healing, not just for Anna, Allen, Tegan, and Marcus, but also for Kim's family?  

Friday nights events have challenged me to look at life from a different perspective. Friends, cherish the beautiful lives around you. Take no time to judge but to love. Keep people accountable for their actions but never let their mistakes muddle your perception of their value and worth in Jesus Christ. Friends, kindness is a lifesaver. I know that we have students, faculty, and staff that struggle with their worth, identities, orientation, faith, culture, race, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. The painful reality is that we struggle alone with no inclination of our pain to the outside world. We suffer in silence but hear me now; YOU DON'T HAVE TO FIGHT THE BATTLE IN YOUR MIND AND HEART ALONE! Reach out when you are ready, and you will find Jesus-filled people who will love you and will journey with you. What doesn't help is when others misjudge our situation without first knowing our narratives. What hurts most is when our pain begins to define us without us realizing it. What hurts the most is when others define us by our mistakes.

We can change that, friends. We can create a safe space for people to voice their pains and struggles with no fear of condemnation. I believe that is what Jesus wants from us and He can do it through us. My prayer for us all is to be compassionate and attentive to each other's precious narratives. The first step in doing this starts with a listening ear that is oriented on love and kindness.  

Her name was Kim. She was precious, and so are you. 

P.S. If you or a friend/family member are struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicide and please reach out to me. We have people and resources that are here for you.  We are a family in Christ. We are here for each other.