Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Name of The Lord is a Strong Tower

This is the photo the news used on the front of the paper...

Last Friday we sat in the court room after a week of witness testimony and waited for the verdict to be announced.
James Menard was found guilty on four accounts:
1. third degree murder
2. aggravated assault
3. trespassing
4. trespassing with a weapon
It was the most grueling, exhausting, horrifying and sad process I never want to go through again.
When James took the stand he tried to convince the jury with his lawyer through a lieing tongue why he should not be put away for shooting three young teenagers and killing one.
He showed not an ounce of remorse. He's had a year in jail before this trial to think through the ramifications of his horrible sin, his deathly mistake and yet when he had the chance he did not have even one comment not one that said he was sorry or sad or anything at all that showed his sadness in killing Jake, almost killing one and wounding another.
All year my family and I have been praying for James and for his family. All week during the trial we have been praying for him and his family. Praying for their salvation, praying for conviction, praying for a repentant heart and the day he takes the stand he doesn't at least say that what happened was unfortunate.

I didn't expect an apology from him. I thought maybe his family, his parents would say something to us through the press or to us in the courtroom or outside the court room. Something. But now that we are outside of the trial process I'm not expecting any kind of realization from him or his family of the depth of tragedy that James has caused.
My dad told us that after the jury had heard everything on the day of the verdict, he gave the whole thing to God. He placed the outcome and his anxious heart in the Lord's will and into His hands.
Sitting on the court bench moments before the verdict was announced as captured in the picture above my father released his expectations for justice and surrendered his grieving desire for justice for the will of God whatever that might be.
He was given a peace. A peace that covered him. God covered my father even in the face of his youngest child's killer.
When I heard my dad explaining this the Holy Spirit rejoiced and testified to the truth in my father and I praised God for it. I had given God the outcome as well before hearing the verdict but my struggle as a grieving sister looking for justice is different than a grieving parent and so hearing my dad's words cutting through satan's schemes to control us through vengence and hatred exploded my faith into a whole new level of trusting God.
James is about to experience a very hard life in prison. We were told by a police officer that in prison the guards look the other way when a man is in for harming a child or minor. We know that he was obviously not saddened or convicted in the least (we know by his actions) for what he had done but we also know that he is about to step into a very dark life. A life that could harden his heart even more.
One thing I'm thinking about is that God is a God of justice. We may not know all of his ways in carrying out justice. Sometimes killers walk free but in our case possibly James's heart was hardened by the Lord so that the jury would see the truth of his heart and that they would see the verdict as guilty. Maybe the judge will see his lack of care for what he has done and will give him a harder sentence. I'm thankful that God said that I can sit back and trust Him with the outcome.
Seeing James heart so callused and hard, not caring about the lives of the people he hurt or the life he took or the family of Jake makes me sad for him that he may never get it. His blessing is prison. If throughout his life prison doesn't break him and bring him to his knees asking for God's forgiveness of his sins then he will not only face hell on earth in prison but he will face hell after death.
His best chance to know God and to desire Him is prison.
I am thankful Jake has graduated and is enjoying the Lord. I am thankful that God is causing all things for good for those who love Christ. (romans 8:28)
When James stepped off the stand my dad looked at my little brother Chad who was shaking with anger. He quoted Proverbs 18:10 "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe."
You might think this verse is more suited for someone who might be scared but I saw a beautiful truth in this verse in the moment my dad used it.
Jake was righteous not because of his sinlessness but because of God's sinlessness. Jake surrendered his life to Jesus asking for Jesus to live in his heart and to forgive his sins and for Christ's will in his life.
Jake was shot and that is why Chad was shaking with anger. he wanted to see that this guy was beat up until he was unrecognizable (I completely understand!). But Jake, being righteous because of Christ, could run to the name of the Lord and be safe. Jake is now safe. In the court room when James was defending himself without prevail, Jake was safe in God's strong tower enjoying the glory of God.
We were angry thinking about Jake out there alone dying of a gunshot wound, without us surrounding him in our love, but dad is right. Jake was already safe. He wasn't the one that anyone needed to worry about. James's family needs to worry for him, He cannot run to the strong tower where he will find safety without accepting the gift of Christ's righteousness in him.
(My brain is a little fried after the draining heavy week of the trial so please forgive me if I can't quite express my thoughts on the computer).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Traveling Back Home...Again

We are all packed up again for another attempt at making the court trial for Jake.
Dave and I have worn out the knees on our jeans asking God to go ahead of us in this time.
I will be traveling today by myself with Oscar and our new 6 week old Wells.
I'm nervous to travel alone especially with a layover making this an all day affair.
Wells has had colic and is in pain and the traveling will be a disaster if things go the way they have been going here at home.
I'm more nervous about the trial zapping our energy emotionally physically mentally and spiritually. Dave and I can already feel it.

I will get on here while at my parents to update on the trial.
Thank you for your prayers!
I'm running out the door to catch a plane.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Sad Anniversary

"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:21-26

Below I've copied and pasted the very first post I wrote on here concerning the painful aftermath and shock of Jake's murder because I have few words that can describe the roller coaster ride of emotions I've had these few days leading up to the anniversary of Jake's death. January 1 2010.

Home At Last

It's hard to put into words all that the phrase Home At Last means to me right now. I've dropped my suitcase in the foyer, I've shed the Florida flip flops for more practical wool socks. I've even slipped into my favorite valour pants and snuggly sweater, yet with the heavy thump of an overstuffed diaper bag, I cannot help but release a heavy sigh of overstuffed sorrow grief and agony.
After 7 weeks of facing the finality of my beloved baby brother Jake Couture's murder in FL. I'm home at last. . 'But is this home?' I ask myself. Am I home 2,019 miles away from Jake's things and my parents and all the family that I love? Or am I still awaiting the day I can unload the painful and oppressive baggage of this world in the foyer of eternity.
Come quickly Lord Jesus.
Isaiah 41:10 says "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I know that Jake is standing before the almighty God of infinity, God of all, the great I Am.
I know that as I praise God in worship, Jake is worshiping Jesus too. He is standing before God Himself and he and I worship the same creator at the same moment in time. I feel connected to Jake that way. We are one in Christ Jesus. Jake truly is home at last. The pain of loosing my irreplaceable Jakey is immense, but I trust you Lord Jesus.
"you give and take away, my heart will choose to say Lord blessed be your name" -(great song: blessed be your name tree63)
"And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10