Sunday, 29 January 2012


God is teaching me more than I ever really wanted to know about grief. And, I'm still learning.

I have learned that it does not follow a straight path or have a graceful arc to it. It's more like a rollercoaster in the dark. I have never liked rollercoasters. Our grief counselor told us last week that we, as human beings, will go to great and various lengths to go around pain and he told us what those ways were so we would avoid them. Pain is a warning system. When we feel pain, we look for the source and deal with it. We have to go through this pain and deal with it. I'm still unclear how we're supposed to do that.

I've learned that grief is exhausting and stressful, both emotionally and physically. My appetite is sometimes ok and sometimes bad. I'm using a combination of ibuprofen, muscle rub and a percussion massager to try and relieve the pain in my neck, shoulders and back. I should do something more; I just don't have the energy for it. For the emotional pain, I cry, pray and/or distract. I find that there's only so much of the emotional pain that I can stand in one day before I become somewhat numb.

Grief is not always an active thing. Even when I'm not thinking about anything in particular, I have what I'd call a cloak of melancholy. It just surrounds me most of the time. Occasionally I break through and enjoy a moment- I smile and laugh- and then it settles around me again.

On the other hand, I've also learned that I believe what I say I do. Though I grieve, it's not a hopeless grief. Mary Beth Chapman quotes C.S. Lewis in her book Choosing to See. Tartan posted that quote as his Facebook status the other night.

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

His best has turned out to be very painful indeed, but as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians v 17, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." I know Paul was speaking about persecution, but any trouble we have during our life is momentary when seen from an eternal perspective. And what is unseen - Aimee blissfully enjoying her Jesus in heaven - is eternal.

Still trusting,

Monday, 23 January 2012

Our heartfelt thanks

We want to take this opportunity to let everyone know how very deeply we appreciate all that has been done to support our family during this painful time. We have been so incredibly surrounded by thoughts and prayers, by those who sent cards, flowers, and gifts, who worked on all the funeral details, and attended the funeral. We appreciate all those who have donated to Aimee's memorial fund. We are thankful for everything that has been done for us, from providing meals, groceries and rides to staying in our home and serving us while it's been hard for us to do even the everyday things. We are particularly thankful for God's provision of dear friends and family who will continue walking with us and praying for us through this ongoing process, even when to the outside it may appear that life is returning to a semblance of "normal".  As we grieve so deeply, we also are experiencing the truth of God's promise: "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:19)

Tartan & Naomi

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Even a Crossword

I received an e-mail from a very good friend sharing an experience she and her family had on Friday after the funeral. It was what we refer to as a "God sighting". She related to me that the family was just sitting quietly at home after the service and her husband picked up the Friday crossword as he usually did the crossword in the Chronicle. The clue for 5 Down was "Name meaning Beloved". He asked my friend if she she could think of a possible answer. Based on a couple of clues already filled in, she asked if "Aimee" would fit. It did. They checked the solution the next day and there was her name.

I don't know if the puzzle maker was aware of our story and intentionally incorporated her name. Regardless, it was one more God-filled small detail, one more reminder, that she was and is Beloved.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Being Comforted

It is not my intention to write consistently to our blog, but a couple of days ago Tartan said I should write again. And when I say that I will write, I have to mention that it's often a joint effort. I typically throw thoughts down in a mostly coherent fashion, but Tartan then takes it and cleans it up. In the months ahead I (we) will try to write from time to time so that all those who are praying now and especially those who will continue to pray will see that God has heard them.

It was one thing to know that getting past the funeral would not mean things would be instantly easier and in fact hard days would be ahead and another to experience it. Just like it's one thing to know where Aimee is, the joy and peace she has, and that really the time apart in the grand scheme of things will be short - but quite another to not be able to touch and see and hold right now. Yesterday I had posted to Facebook that it was a hard day; I had seen a number of reminders that would suddenly jump out at me. Even before I saw the responses, I had felt the calming and the peace of friends' prayers. Last night at nearly the same time, though we were not in the same room, that painful missing hit us both again. I'm not sure what it was like for Tartan, but I felt almost hollow inside. All I could do was cry to God for His mercy and comfort which I gradually received. Your prayers are being heard, and the Spirit also prays for us. "the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26

There are some people who read this who will assume that I can say these things because I'm "super spiritual" or "really religious". Not so. I struggle with finding time to pray and study God's Word, I do not lead any ministries, I have not been on mission trips, I don't have a YouTube channel, I have not written books. I watch some TV and movies and play games on my iPad. I get angry and impatient with my kids. I'm not saying these things to tell you, "sure, go live your life however you want", I'm saying that it's not the things we do, it's Whom we have a relationship with. Tartan and I have been walking on His path for some time now; sometimes stumbling, sometimes pulling back, undoubtedly sometimes just standing still but Jesus has always been there to pick us up or push us gently along. He has given us the teaching and the people and everything else we need to be able to continue walking with Him even closer now. He can do that with you, too; He is very, very patient. Though I hope none of you ever have to go through this kind of pain, the reality is that we all will suffer to some degree at varying times until our time here ends because this is a fallen world. Let Him be there for you, accept the gift He hands out to you from the cross, give Him your life because He will hand it back to you as something so much more.

In His arms,

Monday, 9 January 2012


Walking by the lazy Colorado River after feasting on Thanksgiving dinner at the RV park in Kerrville. Hand in hand alternately with my wife… my daughter… both of them… Watching Aimee run ahead, then drop back to grab our hands and command: "One, Two, THREE!" expecting to be lifted off her feet and propelled forward, swung by our lifted hands.

Aimee spying a giant oak tree leaf, brown and discarded beside the path. Soon a dried oak leaf bouquet begins to form. "Here, Daddy - this one is for you!" as she holds out one particularly large leaf. I take it and put it over my heart where it stays in place, somehow magically adhering to my fleece jacket. Aimee smiling, then skipping away again - off on her quest to find more fallen leaves, more wondrous beauty hidden in plain sight.

As I gaze outside, at the rain and pools of water and fallen leaves littering the ground, my thoughts wander to heaven: Images of long walks beside streams of living water, gathering crisp, exquisite leaves of gold and silver on a beautiful, perfect autumn day that isn't really autumn at all; each leaf an infinite, priceless treasure extravagantly given from one heart to another.

Friday, 6 January 2012


I have left the shadows for the light
Bright, glorious, sparkly day

Leaving behind the ones who love me most
For the One who loves me most

Come see My Jesus!

Aimee Katherine Collier

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A long, slow, difficult process

Friends, we made it through another day without our beloved Aimee yesterday. I don't know how long we'll be counting days, and sometimes even hours, of moving forward with our lives. I want to thank all of you who have been praying and asking others to pray, to those who have spoken or written condolences, for our very closest friends and family that have served us here at home- cleaning, answering calls and doors, making arrangements, taking the children out, and doing anything else that needed to be done. Thank you for all the offers of help.

Unless you've experienced this, you can not imagine what this is like, and should not even try. The service on Friday will be powerful and give us some sense of closure, but a large part of me is dreading the flood of emotion and having to say goodbye again. I am also dreading having to move on to "normal" life, because it feels like it won't ever be normal again without Aimee. Everywhere I go there will be reminders that she is not here. On the other hand, I know God is walking with me and my family both spiritually and through the hands and feet of all those he has put around us. Yesterday, He enabled us to go with our pastor and speak with the family of the young woman who was the driver. They are also deeply grieving, but they too share our faith in Jesus as Lord. Please, please pray for Elizabeth. She was not emotionally capable of meeting with us herself, which we completely understood. But we were able to speak to her parents, and they will pass on our words to her. Elizabeth has, God willing, a long life ahead of her and my prayer is that Satan will not even get a toehold on her through this, but that God will redeem this to His glory. We can't (in this life) fully understand how that works, but we've seen abundant evidence of His mercy and grace. If you know me at all, you know that I am not comfortable with strangers and am quiet around those I don't know but God enabled me to speak with these people I only barely knew and to not fall to pieces in front of them. He had strongly placed on my heart that it needed to be done and He provided all we needed to be able to do it.

One thing I have not yet been able to do is walk to the end of the drive to the little memorial that people have lovingly set up there near where the accident happened. Maybe today. I don't know how I'm going to be able to drive past and over where it happened. The thought paralyzes me. Please pray.

Pray also that God will block out the tragic images as well as the "if-onlys" and "what-ifs" that keep coming to plague us- especially the children and most especially Aidan, Kayleigh and, of course, Elizabeth. Tartan has explained to Aidan more than once that God knew of Monday's events even before the world began; that he had measured Aimee's life before life even came into existence; that she has the great joy that Paul said he longed for when he said in Philippians 1:21 "'For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.'"  After serving God by pouring out her joy to everyone she encountered, she has been given the far better.

How am I going to move on past Friday? How am I going to pick up the school books, drive to the dance studio, grocery shop? I think maybe I understand Elijah better, who could in faith call down fire to the altar of God and yet ran away and hid in terror from an angry Jezebel. I know that many friends are willing to help do anything and everything we need done, however I don't want to just become a hermit- as appealing as that actually looks to me right now. I suppose it will have to be a process. A couple of days ago I was wondering how I was ever going to stop crying. The tears have slowed.

I will bring this post to an end with the verse that has been hanging on our wall for years, but that suddenly caught Tartan's eye last night. "But we know that for those who love Him, for those called in agreement with His purpose, God makes all things work together for good" Romans 8:28



We have now set up a charitable trust fund in Aimee's name for any gifts that people would like to make. While the specific charities that the fund will support have not yet been selected, I we expect it to include Compassion International, Pregnancy Assistance Center North, Samaritan's Purse, and others.

To make a charitable gift, please address it to:

Aimee Katherine Collier Memorial Fund
Amegy Bank

(Any Amegy Bank will be able to ensure the contributions are directed to the right account.)

Thank you for your continued prayerful support.

Tartan and Naomi

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Thank you to all of our friends here in Houston and around the world who have been upholding us in prayer in this incredibly difficult time. A funeral service for Aimee Katherine has been scheduled for 2:30 pm this Friday (January 6) at Faith Bible Church (5505 Research Forest Drive Spring, TX 77381), with a reception following. Public viewing will be before the service, between 1:30 and 2:00 pm.

Please continue to pray for us as we seek to know God's peace and comfort amid the overwhelming sorrow and tears.

Rest in Joy with Jesus

It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that our youngest daughter, sweet Aimee Katherine, has been called home to the Lord after an accident in front of our house. She slipped away from us and into the loving arms of her Jesus yesterday afternoon. Kyrie often wrote "Jesus Loves Me" on Aimee's hand, much to her delight. She would always be sad when it washed away and she'd say sorrowfully, "My Jesus is gone." We always told her that He was never gone and now she will be in His wonderful presence forever and she knows that He was never gone, but always with her.

She brought such joy to us and everyone she met in her three short years. We are so thankful for every moment we had with her. Please pray for us, and especially her brothers and sisters, as we walk through the long grieving process. We do not grieve as the world does, without hope, but we do grieve. I cannot imagine going through this without God beside us, giving us the strength we do not have- but it is still very, very hard.

We love you, Aimee, and we miss you so much. Until we meet again.

2008 - 2012